Monday, December 07, 2009

Sweet Dreams

SZI, aka Tyke turned 20 months, two weeks and two days old yesterday, last night we just bought him his first bed and he fell in love with it instantly. Actually, I suspect he'd been harboring the idea of his own personal space for a long time but I had serious issues about letting my baby go, so to speak. When we went to the shops scouting for cots/cotbeds, he would gleefully lie on the beds, his expression was so exultant that it took me some effort to not buy the car-shaped toddler bed for him the very instant.But we had travel plans so I thought it'd be better to delay it. We travel in another months time but this time round I was serious about his own bed space. So, we went shopping again and returned home with a colorful travel cot and mattress that takes up not so little space next to our bed. SZI wanted to be put in before it was snapped into place. In fact, he jumped in as I was trying to figure out one of its side!
When SZI is sleepy he will reach for the hem of my shirt, get cranky, cry for 'doodoo' (milk) and once his bottle is ready, implore for 'googie' till he is comfortably lying in my lap with the bottle in his mouth. I took me three tearful months to get him to this stage where he would ask for and drink milk on his own, even as I had my hand on the feeding bottle to steady it.
He was completely weaned at 15 months; there was first a day when I did not nurse him that turned to just nightly feedings and then came a night when SZI slept through. 24 hours that turned to 36, 48 hours to this day, when it's been five months of ending his dependence on me in a very basic way.
Getting him started on the feeding bottle was a struggle, I could not stop nursing him completely, but I also knew that his food and milk intake was inadequate. I researched, had print outs of meal plans and portion sizes to see if he was getting all the calcium he needed as well as other vital nutrients. SZI was formula fed occasionally, and that too for just a month, he did not start on solids till he was eight months! We were travelling and he was still such a wee baby that I feared anything and everything to trigger the diarrhea all expat kids suffer from in Pakistan. We managed somehow, I am pretty certain it was my adamant attitude and steadfast refusal to formula feed him that kept his immune system strong for that long. He is a lovely, friendly, active child who is also super-smart. First I weaned him during the daytime but supplementing it with fresh milk was a nightmare. It took me an hour in the least to get him to drink a minimum three ounces of milk at a time when he should have been taking six ounces at one feeding and for that too I had to dance and give him anything that caught his fancy to coax him to open his mouth. Then of course was his ability to keep the teat in his mouth for ages and make sure not a drop of milk dripped in, I even cut a larger hole in the teats, SZI 1 - Ma 0.
Alhamdulillah now he tells me when he is hungry, he may refuse to eat what I give him but getting him interested in food has been a mammoth of a task.
So, last night, as he climbed into his bed, he asked me for 'doodoo', but refused my 'googie' preferring instead, to lie in his cot and drink it on his own! I was happy to see him settle so well and show this independence but on the other hand I resented his forsaking me so. I walked out.
As the excitement fizzled out a bit and SZI realised that his Ma was away in the kitchen, and Ba was asleep next to his bed, he called out to be put back on his centrestage position on our bed. When he got a bit groggy with sleep, I walked in again and asked him if he wanted to sleep in his bed, then gently placed him in and lied on the bed next to him...he drifted peacefully into sleep. A gentle, deep slumber...and I lay awake, suddenly bereft of his comforting presence next to me, I missed lying on my side, facing him and watching his angelic face, I did not know what to do with all that space that was now available to me where once his tiny limbs were sprawled. And my baby? He was totally oblivious to his mother's emotional state and slept on!
He's growing up and so fast, MashaAllah. He slept through the night, waking up just once for his milk, and then I put him back in his bed. It's afternoon and I've given him his daytime feed; he thankfully wanted my 'googie' for finishing his milk before being put in the cot. Then he asked for 'doodoo' again, saw that there was none in his bottle and lay down. I walked out of the room and when I checked on him some minutes ago, as his babbling stories had died down, I found him fat asleep. He did not cry for me like yesternoon, he's a big boy now and doesn't need his Ma to sleep.
But his Ma needs him to sleep in peace!

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