Indian Cricket or Canadian Hockey

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Photo Credit: Fabricio Trujillo via Flickr

The quintessential question that largely remains unanswered at this point…Will my little one develop an interest for one of his/her mommy’s favorite sports, Cricket, or will she/he develop an unbridled fervor for daddy’s obsession with hockey or both? Given that the two sports are played in different seasons (generally speaking – although Cricket can be played year around), perhaps my little one will love both sports. Then again, given that I have barely watched or even followed Cricket in the 13-14 years I have lived in the U.S., perhaps my child won’t be exposed to the sport as much. Besides, I enjoy hockey too…even though my interests only peek when the Chicago Blackhawks play. As long as Jonathan Toews remains captain, I don’t see that interest wane. The fact that Toews is Canadian makes him a favorite in our home. US-American Patrick Kane is also a favorite especially since he has consistently pulled victory from the jaws of defeat for the Hawks on at least two occasions that I can think of (including the Stanley Cup, 2010). Hossa and Sharp get talked about as well :)

I feel so weird talking about hockey with even this modicum of respectable contribution to my own discussion! I guess having a Canadian husband and living in an amazing city that has seen two Stanley Cup victories in 3 years will make a fan out of anybody under the circumstances. Our child will be no different given to the fancies of annual hockey tournaments. I even bought a onesie that says, “I’m told I love hockey” :) I do have plans on having my children start playing hockey at a young age. Their mom can’t skate or ski or snowboard and daddy can do all of these activities. So I want my children to grow up knowing these ‘skills’ and enjoying these sports just like their daddy did and does. What does that mean for Cricket…hmmm…not so sure about that. I can only hope that I can instill some love for cricket in them so they grow up being able to at least carry on an intelligent conversation about the sport. I imagine my grown up kids surprising their conversational partners who are amazed at their smart comments on cricket and wonder how they know so much about it having grown up in the U.S. only to be told by my children, “Oh, my mom is Indian and loves Cricket. I/we get the love for the game from her!” Wouldn’t that be something!? :) Haha…my kid is not even born yet and I am already envisioning him/her conversing with an invisible person about cricket!

One of the reasons that makes it harder to follow cricket in the U.S. is the lack of access to sporting networks that show the game. Now of course, if I was that inclined I would buy the ESPN Cricket packages from any cable network or watch online but I have never done that. Even when India won the last world cup, I chose to watch crappy live broadcast of the game online with very bad connection and constant buffering over actually buying the package. I did once watch the IPL finals a few years ago at an acquaintance’s place and since he had paid for the package, that was actually enjoyable to watch (even though Mumbai Indians lost).

In any case, it is my hope that our child grows up to appreciate sports in general. She/he can pick whatever captures the fancy of their young minds and interests. I have always believed that as parents, it is our responsibility to introduce our children to as many different experiences as we can so if they ever have to choose between alternatives, they can make educated decisions. That pertains to religion as well but that is a discussion for another day.

Product I am looking forward to using: Ju Ju Be Diaper Bag

I know I am digressing from my theme of intercultural parenting but I’ll get back to it soon, I promise. For now, as a soon-to-be mom, you’ll forgive me if my enthusiasm for all things baby is superseding my cultural analysis of my potential and future parenting skills :)

So here’s a list of things I am looking forward to using: Note that current brief reviews are based on first impressions and pre-baby assumptions of functionality and use. I’ll update reviews once I actually start using the products.

Diaper bag
Ju Ju Be Diaper Bag

1.

My sister bought this for us from our Amazon Baby Registry I did a lot of research before deciding on this brand and this style of diaper bag. At one point I was really keen on a Skip Hop bag especially since it came ready to hook on to strollers (the Ju Ju Be brand of bags require special hooks you need to purchase separately or of course you can just shorten the handles and attach them to the stroller handle).
I was super excited to get my Ju Ju Be. We got the one in the picture above since Aaron said he would also use it too with that color combo.
It is made up of Teflon like water proof quality material (you can see their video on their website) that seems sleek and sophisticated. It has a very wide angle. I am a small boned person with small shoulders so the wide shoulder straps are a little awkward for me but I appreciate the softness and thickness of the band. They look like they should be really comfortable. I have a bunch of things in there now and it doesn’t yet feel heavy but then of course I probably don’t have as much stuff as some moms might find useful to have in there. I am still learning and for now, I think I am well equipped.
Here’s what’s in my Ju Je Be All bag now:

Indian-Canadian Baby BIb

 

Things in my Ju Je Be All Diaper Bag

1. Since the Ju Ju Be All comes with its own changing pad, I decided to go with it. It looks and feel soft and good enough for now. If needed, I’ll replace it with one of the stand alone changing pads I have.

2. Earth’s Best – TenderCare Chlorine Free Baby Wipes Travel Pack – 30 Wipe(s)
(I have the small pack now because I want to try out different kinds with my child because I don’t know how sensitive he/she will be to chemicals and other stuff that goes into wipes)

3. Boogie Wipes Unscented – 30 Count Packs – 3 Packs
(this is one of those things I bought simply because a lot of people seem to use it. I had never heard of it until recently. It is also a cultural thing. In India, we just use our fingers to wipe a baby’s nose. If I lived in India, I would never have heard of Boogies Wipes or wipes made especially for cleaning noses – not talking about tissue papers/paper napkins).

4. A couple of small toys and a couple of small books

5. Two bibs (that were designed by our friends at our baby shower), a hat, scratch mittens and a burp cloth)

6. Huggies Little Snugglers Newborn Baby Diapers, Pack/36 (again, testing out diapers. I have stocked up on different brands)

7. Munchkin Arm & HammerDiaper Bag Dispenser and Bags, 2-Count I bought two separately because that worked out cheaper and they were on sale when I bought them. I also bought some extra bags. Not sure if I’ll need them but doesn’t hurt to have extras stashed in different places that I might need to use for at least the next 2 years :)

8. Kushies “On the Go” 2 Pack Wet Bag, Green – I read the reviews on the more expensive bags but decided to go with these because I knew I would be using a separate plastic diaper bag (see above). So my plan is to place the used diaper inside the plastic bag and then inside this wet bag. This should seal the smells in. The Kushies bags don’t have zippers. They have drawstrings.

9. Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment Diaper Rash and Dry Skin Protectant, .35oz Dual Pack
Note that these are really, really tiny. I was a little surprised by how small they were so you could get the bigger ones. Then again, my justification is, what if my kid turns out to be allergic to Aquaphor despite all its great reviews!? Might as well start small.

10. Mustela Baby Cold Cream Nutri-Protective Ultra-Nourishing Cream For Dry Skin (1.3 oz) I personally have no experience with this brand but in doing my research for baby skin products, the Mustela brand came up over and over again so I decided to accept the high price of this product and try it out. It smells good and it should help taking care of my winter baby’s gentle skin :)

11.Gerber Unisex-Baby Newborn 2 Pack Sleep N Play Animals, Animals Green, 3-6 Months I have two sets of clothes for my baby in this bag. Once the baby is born, I’ll only keep one extra set but at this point, since I might take this bag to the hospital, I have two sizes in here, the green one from this Gerber set (newborn size) and another one from Carter’s that is size 3-6 months in case my child is bigger than we expect him/her to be.

12. Finally, I also have a blanket/stroller cover/extra big burp cloth/nursing cover – a multipurpose sheet that we got as a hand-me-down.

This is not a comprehensive list of course. This is just what I have in the bag now, pre-baby. Items will change and get updated depending on my baby’s needs.

Feel free to contact me at: desimom at desimomandbaby dot com if you have questions or need more details of products.

– See more at: http://66.147.242.182/~desimoma/2014/02/01/products-i-am-looking-forward-to-using-ju-ju-be-all-diaper-bag/#sthash.jJTTn2Tw.dpuf

Experiences with Target and Amazon baby registries

register-23666_1280Yes, this desimom has been nesting for a while. I feel a little at peace today because I bought 20 items off of our Amazon Baby Registry with a 15% Amazon Mom discount. Before I get into the details of Amazon, let me write about Target first.Continue reading “Experiences with Target and Amazon baby registries”

Waiting for baby

I am 36 weeks and 1 day pregnant. Our baby is expected toward the end of February so as you can imagine, we are in full preparation mode these days. Although it doesn’t seem as overwhelming as it perhaps should it, we feel like it could really happen any day and in fact think that the baby may actually decide to come a little early. One of my coworkers who wasn’t due until March 6 recently had her baby at 34 weeks. Both mom and baby are doing well so I am thrilled for them. I don’t know when it will be my turn.

Some of the things we’ve done to get ready for baby are:

1. Assembled the dresser (we’re waiting to assemble the crib until my parents get here from India next Thursday)
2. Organized the changing table we were given by one of my coworkers – the changing table has a plastic container full of wipes of different brands; diapers in newborn and size 1; baby’s grooming items – comb, nail clipper scissors, brush, nail file; bathing supplies – Mustela two-in-one shampoo and baby soap, lotion, dusting powder; adult washcloths (will be switching to baby washcloths soon); and a box of diapers, wipes, and baby rash cream sort of my retail supply (the big plastic container has my ‘wholesale’ supplies). I feel quite ready in the diaper changing department. I also bought some disposable waterproof changing sheets that we’ll place over the changing pad as an extra waterproof solution.
3. Organized a diaper bag almost completely and a second one partially with all the essentials. One bag will be the mobile one while the bigger one will stay in the car.
4. Assembled the travel stroller (still got to buy the BOB) and child seat (still need to set up in the car – waiting for my parents to arrive since we’ll need the space for their luggage for the ride from the airport to our home)
5. Got all baby’s clothes organized in the dresser. Did a lot of laundry. Still got to get some done but am waiting for my baby detergent to get here so I can complete that. I did all the previous laundry in normal detergent.
6. Ran all of baby’s hand-me-down toys, both plastic and soft ones through the washing machine

There’s a bunch of other prep stuff I’ve done but I can’t think of them all at this time. Just too many to keep track frankly. I have a number of product recommendations or at least names of products I plan to use in the baby’s early days but I’ll wait on updating that at this time.

One interesting thing about diapers and the whole context of changing diapers is everyone somehow seems to always assume that women or me in this case, know how to change diapers. People are always curious to know if Aaron knows how to change diapers. The funny thing is that I have never ever changed a diaper in my life and even though it seems quite intuitive and I know I will be able to do it without any lessons, no one has ever actually asked me if I know how to do it. So, purely in terms of experience, Aaron actually has changed a diaper and knows how to do it while I have never changed a diaper and only think I know how to do it. Aren’t we a little sexist in assuming that just because I am a woman, I must be able to do it naturally or at least know how to do it? I find people’s assumptions interesting. I am a student of human behavior and I always find such notions incredibly intriguing.

The wait and countdown begins…

Baby Shower

Baby Shower
Baby Shower

Aaron and I celebrated our baby’s arrival next month with a baby shower last week. I had a lot of fun seeing all my friends including coworkers whom I consider friends. It was a beautiful evening with chatter, games (designing onesies and bibs, and sippy cup sipping- thank goodness for no lame ‘measure the belly game’), and cutting of the cake. We had decided not to open presents which we feel can get a little intimidating as well as competitive. We didn’t want people to think or worry about the gifts once they were presented. I have never liked baby showers where gifts were opened. Not that I give bad gifts, I just don’t like the whole who gifted what thing.

Baby Shower New Mom

So the way we organized our baby shower was this: Since we are both new to Chicago, we didn’t have very many close friends until recently. I had one friend whom I considered a really, really good friend but that friendship died an organic, unexplainable death some time back. In any case, I wondered who would host my baby shower. I knew I wanted one. I was excited to have this celebration for our first child so it could help establish some memories of my pregnancy, a right of passage if you will. However, I read about the criticisms against hosting one’s own shower and even though I don’t see anything wrong with doing so (even though I understand the rationale) and I usually don’t care about public opinion, the idea of someone else hosting it appealed to me. So, while Aaron and I planned it, we asked a couple of our friends to host it and they were very excited to do so and eagerly agreed.

I finalized a few invitation samples and Aaron and I picked one we both liked. Because we didn’t find out the sex of our child, our card had a gender neutral (read: yellow) color with a bassinet on it. I made a list of foods I wanted for the shower and together, we decided on the kind of cake we wanted. Other than that, our hosts organized everything else – the decorations, the games, help picking up food on the day of, organizing the venue and so on. It all came together so well. We really appreciated all their efforts. Some of our other friends even stayed back helping us clean up the place which was very nice.

Baby Shower voting boardAaron and I brought home a bunch of presents including a much needed car seat – Graco Snugride 30, a Graco light travel stroller (we will buy a BOB SE Revolution Jogging Stroller in a couple months), books, one pack of Huggies newborn diapers and Desitin, a half high-chair, bath tub, crib melodies, blanket, and a bunch of other things. The most important thing was the car seat without which we wouldn’t have been able to bring our baby home from the hospital. Since Aaron’s parents have already bought us the crib, mattress, and dresser, we are set on those other important things. The stroller and car seat were the only other important things and now we have those too thanks to our friends.

We had a lot of leftovers most of which we froze. We also had a lot of cake leftover which we again froze but kept a good lot for us to eat and that’s what we’ve been doing for dessert since the baby shower. The cake is absolutely delicious and we’ve been savoring every morsel of it 🙂

All through the planning of the event, I was kept more or less in the dark since Aaron and the girls wanted it to be a surprise and mostly because they didn’t want to stress me out. Knowing me and how much I like to be in charge of event planning, mostly because I don’t trust others to do as good a job as I would do myself, I had some worrisome moments where I wondered if everything was going well and how things were being organized. It was truly challenging for me to not be involved. I wonder if this controlling nature is becoming a part of my new personality as I grow older or if I’ve always been this way. I think it is the latter. I like to be in charge if it is something I am personally invested in. I planned my entire wedding and even though I was stressed (having to let go of control on the day of so Aaron could situate everything while I was in hair and make up was stressful enough not knowing if everything would be done the way I wanted it – Our was a small wedding on the rooftop of our building), I enjoyed it. I loved being in control of what was and was not going to happen.

In any case, this was a great day and we had a lot of fun. It was very memorable and I will cherish those precious memories for a very long time.

 

Baby Shower/Godh Bharai

Roses
(c) http://www.thephdmama.com

A great way to start a blog on parenting and motherhood is by writing about the baby shower. To me, this is the first public acknowledgement of my pregnancy, my entry into the journey of motherhood, a societal acceptance of my family unit, and the emergence of the awareness of my life having gotten new meaning through this  experience – an awareness that now makes for my family – my husband, my baby, and me.

My baby shower is being hosted this Sunday, the 12th of January. I am looking forward to the celebration. We have about 30 people attending the shower and I am excited about seeing our different groups of friends – my work friends, Aaron’s business school buddies, our common friends, family friends and others. The shower is hosted by the wives of two of Aaron’s MBA buddies, two girl friends I didn’t even know until 2012. Life is so unpredictable, you never know how and from where your friends will emerge, who your true friends are, when friendships live their course and it’s time to move on, when new people enter your life and start meaning so much to you and so on. Both the party hosts are Indian as well and I enjoy their friendship and company. I am truly grateful that they have taken over the hosting of the shower with help from Aaron. Although it is a couples’ shower, Aaron did help coordinate everything. I had made a list of things I would like as catering options. He ordered those food items and also ordered a cake – from the same place we ordered our wedding cake – Chicago’s Sweet Mandy B’s.

We are mindful of sticking to a budget and still desiring a good time. For us, the essence of this shower is to celebrate our much awaited and much longed-for pregnancy with friends we hold dear and who mean something to us. We did the same with the wedding although for the wedding, I did feel compelled to invite four people I didn’t really care for but because I had attended their events, I felt obliged to have them at mine. Sadly, those friendships had already run their course but I wanted to make it right somehow. Since Aaron and I have both attended things they hosted in the past, I felt all the more like I needed to invite them to the wedding. Even at the time I knew that once the wedding was over, I was going to recuse myself of any future obligation to drag on those stagnated, meaningless relationships.

The custom of holding a baby shower is a non-Indian phenomenon mostly practiced in the U.S. and Canada. I am sure other cultures have their own versions of this prenatal celebration of the baby, mother, and pregnancy. In India, in the Hindi speaking belt, this ritual is called Godh Bharai. In my own native Indian culture this is known as ‘gurbini kappad’ or literally ‘pregnant woman’s sari’ comprising mostly of women who attend the ceremony to bless the mother-to-be with blessings and I believe gifts in the form of cash and maybe even jewelry. A quick Google search with the words, ‘godh bharai’ will spring numerous entries and pictures of this event.

Despite the largely celebrated baby showers in the U.S., a number of people believe superstitiously that to celebrate the baby before birth is a little presumptuous and so many co-cultures will wait until after the baby is born to then host what is known as a ‘Sip and See’ where family, friends, and others can come see the baby. I didn’t even know about this until I started looking for invitations and came upon Sip & See cards. I just decided to have a traditional shower.

Looking forward to a fun afternoon on Sunday.