Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The end of a beautiful experience?

I have finally started to wean my daughter. For the last couple of nights, possibly the first of such nights since she was born, my daughter has gone to sleep without nursing. It's a bittersweet feeling. It's been 25 and a half months now and our nursing experience has had it's own highs and lows. At times, it's made me feel incapable, furious, frustrated, peaceful, relaxed and so contented.

When she was born, I was very worried. I did not trust that my body would be able to sustain her and feared that it would let me down yet again. So my first target was to nurse for at least a month. Then we slowly revised this - I nursed her through 1 month, through six weeks, through 3 months and so on until today. I was so anxious that I would have to stop when I went back to work. But with the help of the Medela pump that i bought and a very understanding husband (who ferried me back and forth to home and work for lunch until she was around 8-9 months old, we sustained. It also helped that she had always been a great nursling - she was perfect with her latch right from the beginning and she was always very enthusiastic to feed. My mom was another source of huge support, she patiently listened to all that i said regarding bottle feeding my baby.. the numerous instructions I had on giving her only solids when I was away and avoiding formula. The silent support and non-criticism she offered when I was unable to express sufficient milk for a feed for my daughter and was still unwilling to give her formula...

My daughter starting talking really early and this slowly became a slight embarassment for me with respect to feeding. She would tell me clearly, let's go to the room, I want 'amma te paal'! Then I convinced her that this should be a secret between us and she started pointing to the room and speaking in a hushed whisper (stage whisper though!), saying 'Ragasiyam, yaar kitayum solla kudadhu, come, let's go!'.

The last couple of nights have been tough, especially so yesterday because she asked me why I wouldn't feed her. She kept telling me that the milk tasted very nice and she liked feeding and asked me why I wouldn't feed her. We managed to get through with a lot of cuddling and distraction and I hope that it's going to work. But at the same time, it makes me a little sad.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Inclusivity - An Elusive Concept

Have you heard of the term inclusivity? Do you know what it means? We are trying to start a women's forum in my company and our aim is to bring as women-inclusive a work culture as possible.

According to a quick google search i did, this is the definition of inclusivity:
"(Social Welfare) (Sociology) (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the fact or policy of not excluding members or participants on the grounds of gender, race, class, sexuality, disability, etc." How does this apply to a work culture? It means that at work, you cannot be passed over for a promotion as a woman, just because your boss feels you are more likely to get married soon, have a child soon, or are pregnant or already have a young child. This is the big picture. But there are also tinier details where inclusivity comes in. Like the cases where your team decides to go for a team dinner. Most women I know cannot stay the whole stretch of time required for a team dinner. Transport and safety issues in India ensure that they need to complete the dinner by 9 PM while the rest of the team stays back for another couple of hours and enjoys each other's company. Just by being female, you are excluded from this team building exercise.

Inclusivity implies an understanding of each other's differences and building a work culture that thrives on this understanding. What other common scenarios can you think of where inclusivity is required?

Friday, November 04, 2011

Such a rainy day!

It's been raining cats and dogs since morning today. It is almost a month since Samyuktha started going to playschool. But she has probably only attended close to 2 weeks of school because of the leaves for Dussera and Diwali.

The first two weeks were a nightmare... She used to cry from the time she woke up and would refuse to do every single chore - starting with going to the bathroom, brushing her teeth and taking a bath. Because she somehow used to realise that each of these chores brought her closer to going to school. We stuck with it only because of the 'senior' parents around us - everyone advised that this was a normal thing and it would be absolutely wrong to give into the child and allow her to take a day off. I had my doubts about this approach but we still followed it and now it seems to have paid off. She still cries a little when she realizes she has to go to school, but once we get there, she walks off without looking back. Yesterday she told me that i should go to work and she would walk down the driveway to the school by herself. She actually told me to open the gate and go :-). I hope that we have reached a turning point.

I only hope that twenty years later, some clever researcher does not come out with a paper on how young children are traumatized due to this approach of leaving them in playschool at 2 years!! You never know, with parenting, things which seem good today are always seen in a bad light tomorrow.