Category Archives: Baby Talk

Varuns Trip to the Hospital

I was debating whether to write this up or not; but finally decided to go for it. We had very stressful last couple of days since the time the doctor declared Varun has some foreign body in his nose.The actual scheduling of the operation, financial counseling, the fast and the long wait, actual surgery and the post op waking up – was an ordeal.

I have had one surgery in US and it was smooth. I knew what they are going to do to me and when. We knew what to expect. Here other than a number for taking an appointment and a vague idea of the procedure we didn’t know much. I was in too much of a shock to really ask anything to the doctor.

Day before the procedure

After the initial shock of prospect of Varun having to undergo a nasal procedure and more importantly be sedated/ get anesthesia, I read up online and found that it’s not as uncommon as I believed. I mean there are other kids who put stuff up their lil noses.

With that sorted, I called the number to schedule the appointment. Of course it was too early to call them at 9:00 am so we had to wait till 10:30 am when the scheduling guy, Mr D, came to office. Once in office, Mr. D wanted to know about insurance before he would give us an appointment. He told me about hospital package – can you believe it – like a vacation package that includes doctors charge, anesthesia charge, Operation room charges, medicines  and being in the common recovery room for 6-8 hours. I actually didn’t care about the charges. I told him if the insurance doesn’t cover it I will pay for it – just schedule the damn procedure!

My bigger worry was about fasting and how to keep Varun distracted while he was bound to get hungry and want milk at the very least ; and the side effects of anesthesia.

At the end of the day almost around 5:00 pm, after making several calls and back and forth on insurance, we got an appointment for 3:00 pm. With a stern instruction to not to eat or drink after 9:30 am. Okie. It wasn’t gong to be easy.

The evening before the procedure

I had read on parenting sites that kids handle hospitals and surgeries better if they know what to expect. But other than the fasting aspect and sedation and I V, I didn’t know what to tell him without scaring him.

So, I told him that it was a special day when the doctor was going to fix his nose and his cold and for that we all had to fast – which means no milk, no food and no water. He nodded and laughed and went about playing with his blocks. I think I must have repeated it all evening. Before going to bed he said ‘no water, no food – but mama give milk!’

I felt so bad but simply held him while he went to bed.

The morning of the procedure

We woke up by 7:45 am and decided that we will give him a nice breakfast so he won’t feel hungry. But unlike adults, kids don’t eat more than what they are used to and so he ate half a pancake, some milk, and some pomegranate.

By 9:00 am I tried to give him some juice and water but he simply refused.

He was busy playing with his cycle, blocks, pillows that he didn’t miss food till at 11:00 am he asked for water. We tried to distract him with some cartoons. In the car, he asked for milk and even took out the bottle from the diaper bag. Anticipating this we had kept the bottle empty so he knew there was no milk. Again, I reminded him about the fast and distracted him with hoardings on the road. Thankfully he cooperated.

Once in hospital, we were asked to go to the  emergency room for checkup: weight, temperature, heart rate, blood pressure. Varun was irritated with the cuff on his arm but somehow managed to keep it on. The nurse wrote his weight and temperature incorrectly and we had to correct it – and began to wonder what all we would have to watch for that day.

After the check, we went to meet the anesthesiologist. She asked for allergies and Varuns history. In turn, I asked her questions – how will they give him anesthesia ( via IV), do they have pediatric IV’s ( plastic v/s metal – they do have kid friendly baby ones), when will they give IV ( while he is awake), can they sedate him before IV ( she was OK with it), how long before the sedative takes effect ( 5- 10 mins), when will they give sedative ( 30 mins before surgery), side effects of anesthesia and sedative ( nothing major) , and when pressed for side effects ( Said something about taking long to wakeup from anesthesia and irritability then).

I was a bit worried but didn’t really have much of an option.

After the meeting we were asked to wait in the lobby and then get admitted at 1:30 pm.

Varun got hungry and thirsty. Every time he saw anyone pass by with water bottle he asked me for water. It’s so hard to refuse water but I knew if he did drink any we would have to reschedule and go through this ordeal all over again. Somehow we distracted him with other people waiting and tired, he fell asleep. I also slept with him sitting up in the lobby.

In the meantime Vipul went and paid the deposit for the operation’s package. And we waited.

Before the procedure

Promptly at 1:30 pm, we were asked to admit him. We went back to the ER where I waited with sleeping Varun. One attendant came to give Varun IV which I refused. I asked that he be admitted first and given sedative before IV.

Eventually 15 – 20 mins later, we were in a waiting room outside the operation room. The nurse gave him grape flavored syrup which was supposed to make him sleep in 5- 10 mins. Varun was grateful to drink something after the long morning and was asking for more. In 5 mins he was loopy but not at all sleepy. He tried getting up and reaching for cartoon posters and climbing down the chair but his hands and legs gave away and he was like a little drunk bouncing around. I had to hold him tight to prevent any other injuries – but in hindsight it was cute to see him like that giving our big smiles.

His doctor came at 2:45 pm to check on him. I asked him more anesthesia related questions – is general needed or will local be enough? what happens if you don’t find anything etc. He answered briefly and went away to scrub in. Couple of minutes later, the nurse whisked him away to operation room luring him with ice cream.

We were not allowed in.

After the procedure

My heart sank as I saw the double doors close behind him and we were asked to wait outside.

Barely 10 mins had passed when an attendant called us in. I was sure that they were unable to get the IV in or some such. But the doctor stood with a metal tray with 4 thumb nail sized sponge pieces on white sterile gauze. Shock, awe, relief , disbelief swept over as the doctor recounted how they found one piece after another ( 3 in one nostril and 1 in another) and were amused in the operation room. He wondered how it didn’t cause him any symptoms and how we could not have noticed it/ brought him in earlier. I was so ashamed, embarrassed and annoyed at myself for not catching this earlier. What kind of parents are we if we can’t keep tab on our only child??

The doctor left asking us to be careful next time. I guess if we were in Norway, we would be in jail and Varun would be in a foster home. A new low even by our standards 😦

Post Operation Recovery

Happy that it went well, Vipul and I waited for Varun to come out. A few minutes later we heard low earthy moans of ‘mamma mamma’ with the nurses fervent pleas to hold him. I ran to the door and saw Varun, drugged and disoriented, trying to take out the IV and the ID bracelet. He looked scared on not finding us around.

I ran in to pick him up but in that semi awake state he was irritated with the nurses and the restrictions. He wouldn’t calm down till we took out the ID bracelet. He was so agitated that the nurses had to give him more sedative. Those 10 minutes were the craziest part of the day. Varun screaming to remove the IV, couple of nurses trying to pin him down, others trying to give him sedative, yet another trying to tie the IV to a splint around his wrist with tape. Finally I asked them to take off the IV and they begrudging did. They got this giant cotton swab to prevent blood loss and that started another bout of screaming and crying. He simply didn’t like them touching him. Luckily another nurse had sense to get a small cotton ball and I held it on his hand while we waited for the blood to stop flowing out.

After a long time he calmed down and asked to lie down on the bed.

The sedative was finally taking effect – or so I thought. Varun then realized that he hadn’t seen Vipul and woke up agitated asking for Dada. It took few more minutes to calm him down. Then he wanted me to lay on one side of the bed and Vipul on other while he nuzzled between us. The hospital bed was so narrow that we couldn’t fit. That brought a fresh bout of tears.

We moved the bed around so Vipul could sit on another side while I climbed into the bed with him. The nurses were amused but I couldn’t really see a way out. Thankfully they drew the curtain to give us some privacy and dimmed the lights.

I hoped that Varun would calm down but some nurses – doctors were talking on the other side of curtain waking Varun every time with their conversation. By this time I was losing my patience and mentally was on verge of asking everyone to shut up!  Finally after desperate pleas, being hit by  him in the process, and after drinking a bottle of water and another of milk he calmed down.

Within minutes, another patient was rolled in for post operative recovery and the fresh activity aroused Varun. The nurses put the lights back on and woke him up. More whining, crying, begging followed. Fed up, I picked him up and took him to show the other recovering girl. Distracted he began to calm down. Even in this state, he noticed that the girl was crying and repeatedly asked her to ‘not cry’. Don’t cry didi, don’t cry! My baby !

Vipul used the opportunity to pay the bills, collect medicines and leave. We had to pay more than the package price which Vipul was in no mood to argue about.

The sedative that was supposed to knock him out didn’t work at all. Varun felt better once we were in the car. He had more water, paratha en-route. By the time we got home, he was back to his usual self. Playing with the cushions, his car, blocks etc

We were exhausted and starving after a long day. We had some tea and quick dinner and then climbed into the bed to watch TV and just vegetate while Varun continued to play.

I am so glad 12/12/12 was over. It was a memorable day. There is no better way to secure a seat in ‘lousy parents’ camp. The sight of Varun disoriented and groggy, struggling like a chained lion to break free and asking for us is etched in my memory. That’s enough for me to ensure we strive hard we don’t have to go through this again.But with both our childhoods being ‘eventful’ its not going to be an easy task!

Yikes! We Got Homework

Varun playing 1varun playing gold

We started Varun with a new play school (Oi Playschool) and at the end of the week we got homework!

Varun transitioned well to the new school. He enjoys the circle time, painting , playing in sand pit and rhymes as well as begun potty training there.

Today, we got an email with photos from the class and other activities they did like the sports day along with a document indicating what we should talk to our child about based on the next fortnight’s theme ….and a list of questions to evaluate what all does he absorbed from what was taught in last week.

And we have to turn it in to the teachers.

I didn’t think we would have to do this till he is in elementary school. Needless to add, I used to hate homework in school.

Shivers!

Good Reads – Toddler Edition

Varun loves to be read to. Every night, after watching cartoons, he loves to snuggle up with Vipul and asks him to read. We got a new box of books courtesy our friends in US – Dr Seuss’s  Beginner book collection. Varun couldn’t wait to open the box and asked me to read it to him.

We read a few books to him every night – even on vacation. He knows the books and asks to read about ‘ Lion in the Long Grass’ or ‘ Izzy jog’ or ‘Megs pet’.  As we turn pages, he will point to characters and say their names, if they are crying/sad or laughing. Also, he knows endings and will loudly repeat the last sentence as Vipul turns the page. It just cracks us up.

In flights, he will open up the safety instructions card and hold it upside down and pretend to read 🙂 Things kids do.

Reading is the only way to make him sit in one place. I am glad at least we can have a few minutes of peace.

This is his current book collection. If you have others that are fun for 2-3 year olds to read, do drop me a comment below.

  1. Dr Seuss’s Beginner Collection
  2. Goodnight Moon
  3. Goodnight IPad
  4. LeapFrog Tag junior Get Ready to Read
  5. Charley Harper ABC’s
  6. Lion in the Long Grass
  7. Stories for Two-Year Olds
  8. Animal Stories
  9. My First 100 things to Count
  10. My 123 book
  11. Funny Faces
  12. I Love my Daddy
  13. Daddy Cuddles
  14. Mommy Loves
  15. Shapes on a Farm
  16. Bedtime Stories by Panchatantra
  17. Colors
  18. Vegetables
  19. Flowers
  20. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See
  21. My Big book of Opposites
  22. Racing car 123 book
  23. Sesame Street books – Animals, Hit the Ball ( dollar bins at Target)

Happy reading!

Toddler Travel Packing Trips

On our first trip with Varun, we packed everything but the kitchen sink. My parents were travelling with us as well so that added to the list. Now, unless we are on a road trip, we try to take less.

This is what we carry if we are staying in a resort for 4-5 days. The list is pared down if we are staying with family where we know we can get diapers, food and medication from known stores.

What to pack:

  • Day clothes – T-shirts and shorts. 2 pairs / per day.
  • Night clothes – 1 set /per day. We keep them on till breakfast so they tend to get messy.
  • Diapers – I carry @ the rate of 4 /per day. Mainly because I don’t get the Pampers XL size everywhere in India. Other brands don’t work well with Varun. Also, as the diapers get used, it makes room for souvenirs.
  • Wipes – 1 unopened packet + 1 in diaper bag
  • Milk pouches – Single serving size ones @ rate of 2/ day. This helps when we are sight seeing outside the resort. Varun has had diarrhea when he has outside milk, so I don’t risk this while travelling.
  • Snacks – Cheerios, Coco puffs, Raisins, crackers, puffed rice. Carry a ziplock full and check it in.
  • Medicines – Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Baby Vaporub, something for diarrhea and loose motions, something for vomiting. Dont forget thermometer, band aids and your pediatricians phone number.
  • sunscreen
  • Cap and Socks in a Zip lock bagso you wont lose those tiny ones in the suitcase.
  • Moisturizer and baby oil
  • Diaper cream
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Shoes ( he wears a pair, we don’t pack another one)
  • Books – Board books or bigger books. 3-4 of his favorite ones, coloring book or blank pages
  • Toys – Sorting, stacking toys, ball, one small car,Pool toys – sand pail, sifter and various small spoons and scoops, a few balloons and stickers
  • Bottle Cleaning supplies – Bottle brush and Liquid soap bottle or a sponge dipped in liquid soap and frozen. Dip/Soak generously before putting it in fridge. Then cut it into small pieces. Each piece can be used to wash a bottle. Is less messy.
  • Swim wear (SPF 50 + ) and swim diapers.
  • Painters tape – Cover ‘low’ outlets, play with, hold together broken toys etc
  • Zip lock bags – Large one for anything and everything – contain messy clothes, food, dirty diapers etc.

What to buy locally:

  • Bottled water ( if necessary)
  • Fruits – Bananas, Oranges, Apples – anything with a peel if you are in SE Asia
  • Couple of local toys from street vendor – for that novel toy on return flight

What we stopped carrying:

  • Baby high chair. Yes – I carried that couple of times and Varun didn’t use it. What a waste of space.
  • Lot of toys – Varun plays with whatever he sees in the resort – from menu cards to drawing with pen on resort’s letter pad, playing with the safe etc. Mostly he loves to run.
  • Baby food – Most places you get fresh food – rice, yogurt, fruits, eggs, bread, jam, pasta. Varun has been happy to try it and loves any meat on a stick – even if he is fussy about it at home.
  • Car seat– Again because we are in India and don’t use a car seat anymore.

Do you carry anything else that makes your life easier? Feel free to share in comments below.

Toddler Travel Tips

Few folks have commented on how our travel posts have inspired them to take a few trips on their own. I am thrilled to read that 🙂 Vipul and I love to travel. We have travelled with Varun since he was a baby – from a road trip down to California, to coastal town of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, weeklong trip to East Coast to meet our friends and family and then an 18 hour + trip to India.

We started early and gradually increased the flight times to destinations. We modified our travel plans to suit his needs – nap time, stretch and play time and slowed down our pace. And of course we learnt from each trip.

This is a compilation of our top travel tips. We mostly fly as Varun doesn’t take to road trips very well – he hates being strapped in the car seat. But they should work on  road trips if you add music to take along. Works for our active 2 1/2-year-old.

1. Plan a trip around nap time

This is a no brainer. Most parenting and travel websites talk about it. Its easier said than done. If it’s a road trip, its easy to plan this. Start driving post lunch and munchkin will fall asleep. With flights and their long pre-checkin procedures ( drive to airport, luggage check in, security etc) this is harder. Plan the flight such that the in flight time is a bit later than usual nap time. Toddlers are excited being at airport, seeing the baggage go down conveyor belts, security procedures etc. They even like going up and down the escalators. Its tiring but exciting. So they may very well sleep later than usual. At least Varun does.

As soon as we take off, he usually sleeps.

2.Few new toys

If he doesn’t sleep, we let him play with his seat – push the tray table up and down, lower and raise the window shade, remove and put up the seat belt. But after a while even that gets boring. Its time to bring out few small toys – beads, four pack crayons and paper, doodle pads, post it’s in different shapes and color, small books to read. We have his favorite cartoons and rhymes on our iPhone.

3. Snacks

We usually carry Varun’s favorite snacks in small zip locks. Cheerios, bananas, raisins, puffed rice, juice box ( a travel treat for him), coco puffs, oranges etc. While in US, string cheese, gold-fish crackers worked for Varun as well. Kids get hungry and can’t wait for the air hostess to bring food or water so having a handy stock with variety helps. I keep his current favorite snack on hand – like cake, laddoos, blueberries, grape tomatoes etc. Oh, and the single serving toned milk packets help tremendously. A couple in the diaper bag and we are set to go. I havent seen those in US – but in US any Starbucks will give you milk for free for your kid even if you don’t buy anything there.

4. Handy stroller

When Varun was a baby, we checked in his car seat ( to be used at destination), but we carried the stroller to the gate.We use the stroller even now on our trips.

Ours is a semi-reclining compact stroller ( a Baby Jogger City Mini), that can carry diaper bag and my purse as well as one more hand bag if necessary. If Varun was asleep, I could simply recline him and let him sleep. If he was awake or refused to sit in, I put all the hand carry in it and push it easily. It’s easy to fold and unfold and folds down flat for easier gate check. It fits in our sedan’s trunk well for road trips.

5. Keep extra clothes (for you and the baby)

Again, a no brainer. On our first trip we carried a diaper and a onsie for each hour of travel time ( door to door). Between spitups, throwup’s, exploding poops and food stains, we have had to change clothes often and used up all the clothes. But now its down to 2-3 pairs of clothes and diapers. A shawl or scarf helps me cover up when messes occur on my shirt.

6. A handy Diaper bag

You need a good diaper bag that can carry all the above, sits comfortably on you and on the stroller and has several compartments to hold food, toys, snacks, clothes, diapers and wipes, is wipe-able and works for both of you. Oh, and it has to be accessible while moving/chasing a toddler. Diaper Dude fits our need perfectly.

7. Burn energy

Before getting on the flight, let your toddler run around. Chase him around. Let him push the bags/stroller etc. This will tire him out. Then get him something to eat once on boarded and pretty sure he will crash once you start cruising.

8. Keep tissues and wipes handy

We wipe down spills, food dribbles, sticky hands and feet etc. Also helps to wipe down play area toys. I loved that Emirates airlines gave us a box of facial tissues when we boarded the flight. One for each flight. One less thing to carry on. Small hand sanitizer bottles help as well.

9.  Dont forget trash bags

Needless to add, keep a large trash bag or ziplock handy for the wipes, tissues, wrappers, juice boxes, wet clothes, soiled diapers etc. Super useful to contain the mess and keep your diaper bag dry.

These are our on-flight/car tips.  Toddlers don’t need to be prepared to travel. Parents do 🙂

Stay tuned for how we pack for the trip – from medicines, toys and snacks for return trip, bottle washing tips etc.

Little Monster Turns Two

Family and close friends came over yesterday to celebrate Varun turning two!

The actual celebration in pictures.

The evening started with Vipul’s mom doing a ‘aarti’ for Varun to bless him on his birthday.

Varun touched all Aaji’s feet to seek their blessings.

Then we went to the community hall in our complex where we held the party.

The place was decorated in monster theme by Varun’s Mama and Mami with plenty of help from grandparents.

Phani and Illisa played with Varun while we waited for rest of the folks to arrive.

A few photo’s while we waited…

Then once everyone arrived, we cut the cake.

It was an orange-chocolate cake, covered in monster themed decorations! A big shout out to Sheetal – this wasn’t possible without you 🙂

Varun insisted on cutting the cake and managed to blow the candle after a few attempts.

But he didn’t want to eat any cake, and only had the decoration…

He enjoyed basking in everyone’s attention…

..and the shiny gifts!

While we missed everyone who attended his first birthday party, we were happy that a few friends could join us on his special day.

It was special day, made even more special with Varun’s friends who showed up to celebrate it with him!

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