In my previous post Rhythm for your child’s soul, I extolled the virtues of keeping routine and schedule, of the breathing in phases of concentration and the breathing our phases of exploration, discovery and letting go. To be brutally honest, the last 3 months have been very offbeat for us.
It started with the LO starting school, a new place, new personalities, staying away from each other for the first time…..a recipe for being overwhelmed! Once she seemed to “settle” into school, my inner self went on an over drive. Suddenly I had “me” time! WOW! I had planned to go to the spa, catch up with friends over chai and what not! So much for pre-school day dreams. Instead the ideas that had been floating in my mind decided to demand to be manifest. Add to that tons of pending paperwork, mundane but essential things like correcting my parents names on my birth certificate! In India this meant 5 trips to the local BMC office (thank God I stay close to where I was born) between 2-4 in the afternoon, bang in the middle of the LO’s siesta time. Co-ordinate with my mum, cos that particular BMC office administers meds to TB patients so not too safe to take the LO there. LO is still insecure from us leaving her at school, so insists on coming along and waiting in the car with my mum while I get my work done). I’m not going to type more about just how offbeat the last 3 months have been!
What I am going to share though are what gets me through them, simple stuff in no order of importance. Its a tool kit, to pick what one feels is calling at that moment in time.
Bach Flower Remedies: I had heard of these years ago, but I resisted. Why do I need flower essences to help ‘cope’. Meditation is all one needs, staying with the breath till it feels better and clarity appears. The most elusive of all needs, since having a baby, to me has been meditation. I’m not talking the 1 hour pranayama and chanting I used to do. I’m just talking about a small and humble need to sit and watch my breath as it deepens! It was a cold rainy day in London. It was dark outside. The LO was cutting her back molars. Nothing could soothe her. I don’t do well in dreary weather, it gets my sinuses acting up and that can shake the core of my patience. All she wants to do is nurse. All I want to do is sleep and have some physical space. So I cry and she cries cos im crying and she says please don’t cry and I can’t hold back the tears because I get all dramatic and wonder when this kid is ever going to stop nursing etc etc. I check the time. My lovely homeopath in India will not be available right away. I recall a conversation with my parenting mentor Effath Yasmin about Rescue remedy. There’s a Boots pharmacy just across the street and my husbands office is 2 blocks away. So I call him and ask if he could pick up Rescue remedy. 10 minutes later we have both taken a dose. I still feel pushed to my limit, but not physically overwhelmed by it. She calms down too. We both sleep. I now carry a rescue remedy spray with me. Its useful in a state of sudden shock, overwhelming physical or emotional times etc. There are a number of remedies for different situations, so it would be worthwhile to consult with a bach flower specialist to find out which remedy would best suit your needs. When the LO started school, my LC and parenting mentor Yasmin recommended Walnut to deal with change. We both took it, since mother-child are treated as one entity at this age. It was immensely helpful. Did we not miss each other? Did it take the anxiety away? My daughter was still missing me, but the physical manifestations of that were minimised. She was clearly expressing through words and actions that she missed me immensely. However there was a peacefulness, like we were in the process and watching it. We were watching it happen within us and between us, knowing that it would pass. Rescue cream is great for treating mosquito bites, cuts, burns and any minor physical injuries.
Lavender Essentail Oil and Massage : I have always found Lavender essential oil to be soothing. It is also great for treating pimples etc. Beats raw garlic anyday and smells better than tea tree oil. I read and experienced adding lavender to baby’s bath water helped a lot. Even now, we sometimes massage her during prolonged periods of ‘offbeat” rhythm. Massaging the soles of the feet is very relaxing, as is the back of the ear. See Triple Warmer Meredian for increasing energy and Third eye point for relaxing and inducing sleep when you or your LO is over tired and unable to sleep.
Comfort food: Yes, we all have comfort foods. For me its khichdi. For the LO I set it early as cinnamon oats. It can be made in 5 minutes, is healthy and comforting. All I do is cook oats in water and when its done, add a good helping of cinnamon powder. Anyone who has lived in a cold country knows how soothing cinnamon buns or cinnamon on hot chocolate can be. Cinnamon also has lots of therapeutic qualities. Dr Sears of attachment parenting fame, recommends giving either raw cinnamon or turmeric or both to increase immunity. Though the LO is still nursing, which is the best immunity builder, introducing cinnamon earlier was my way of ensuring that once she weans, she finds cinnamon palatable and enjoyable. We did the same with tulsi leaves, introducing them raw early on. I’m hoping to have another post on food sometime.
Repetitive Music: Yes music is soothing, but repetitive music adds rhythm to an offbeat day. If you look at the science behind chanting or hymns, in addition to the vibration of the sounds, it is the rhythm that ensues from repetition that is calming. You will find that even people who chant without being completely present are not easily able to stop chanting. Its that repetitive rhythm. That’s also a reason why people like trance, it gets you into a rhythmic funk. We play at lot of chants at home, but a few have been regularly used for the rhythmic purpose. When we are at loggerheads with each other, which happens often, because both the LO and I have similar personalities and are ticked off by the same things, I stop talking, reasoning, shouting….whatever…drop, breathe and put on a chant. If its evening, its always over mood lighting and incense. Our favourite tracks are Om by Nadaka, Govinda Hare by Krishna Das and Tulsi’s Bliss by David Newman.
Kangaroo Care, Skin to Skin & Nursing: This is not only for an infant. Baby wearing is soothing to a toddler as well. And skin to skin as well. As for nursing, I’m always being told off for still nursing, and though I’m very convinced abut baby led weaning, I have had some very strong moments and phases of wanting my body to myself. I finally decided to stop any attempts at weaning when I had the experience I am about to share. One night before sleeping (The LO only nurses to fall asleep and any additional feeds are limited to intense periods of offbeat rhythm.) I asked her why she likes du-du (a baby name for milk) so much. She unhesitatingly looked into my eyes and said “Mama, because it gives me lots of peace”. My eyes moistened and I know it can only be baby led weaning. Just imagine, she doesn’t want toys or whatever else kids want at this age. All she wants for peace is free and truly divine nectar. That said, I totally understand each woman’s personal decision to nurse or wean, however with the pace of my life I think it would be incredibly difficult for me without the “peace” nursing provides to us both. As a funny aside, its the easiest way to help them quieten up!
I would love to hear from you how you find solace with your baby too! Do leave a message/comment and if you enjoyed it do share the post with family and friends.
Part 2 (Click here to read Part 1 Guzz guzz Gruzz the anxious buzz) Years later.....I sat on her couch in Mumbai, this complete stranger (Effath Yasmin), with my 9 day old baby in my arms, helpless, tear filled feeling like a complete failure of a mother. My baby was...