February 25, 2009

i made these!

ignore the goofy smiles, we were having a funny face contest.

i made ponnu's dress in the clasic peasant top pattern, lengthened to make a dress and full sleeves. very easy, just threaded elastic through a casing at the neck , sewed the elastic directly at sleeve end, loops for a sash, gathers at the hem.

chinnus dress was a bit more complicated, but i went with tanya whelan's free ruffled skirt pattern, and just added a lined bodice instead of a waistband.


kiddos are pleased. well, that was my intention, right?

infant potty training

I chanced upon this article today, and I was thinking that even in countries where diapers are the norm, they try. Infant potty training was a normal thing in Kerala where i was born. Newborns had nappies made of squares of cloth, and around three months, a
caregiver (someone in the vicinity-mothers, grandmothers, maids) would put the baby over their feet and they would 'go'.

Backtracking here, not long ago, in kerala, expectant moms would go from her husband's house to her parents' house for birthing. This journey, usually accompanied by a ceremony, would be in the 7th month of pregnancy. From then on, she could relax in her parents home and be taken care of. She has a special diet rich in proteins and green leafy vegetables, she will have ayurvedic medicines to prepare for birth, and she has a readymade support structure after birth.

After birth of the baby, the new mom will have ritual baths involving massages and medicated oils, more ayurvedic medicines to increase milk supply, ward off anemia, special foods to make fat and mineral stores for roughly 2 years of breastfeeding . Beansprouts,whole lamb soup , desi ghee, fenugreek, fresh coconut, etc were spewcially prepared for the new mother. The newborn would sleep in a cloth hammock hung from the roof, covered by a light muslin dress that covered only the front. The climate in kerala is always hot and humid, so this is ok.

So, I went rambling there. I promise, i am getting to the potty training part. The tiny infant was bathed every morning, after the air had warmed..around 10 am. Before the bath, he has an oil massage. After the massage, he is laid down on (let's say postpartum doula for the sake of clarity.actually , a usually old lady trained in massaging the new mom and baby, and skilled in babycare..) the doula's feet. baby's body on her legs, bum at her ankles, almost like he's sitting in a chair and he's free to pee or poo without hitting anything. Amazingly, all these babies poo at this time, before their bath. During the day, he is in the hammock, pee just falls through to the floor below and and onto a rag lying there.

see, no diapers at all. Once baby hit the 28 day mark, his father and the whole extended family will visit . This visit is accompanied by a ceremony of tying a hip chain on the baby. When the baby gets to 90 days old, there is a ceremony marking it and mother and baby were dispatched off to her husband's place , the new mother now armed with a lot of hands-on babycare skill.

In this period that she spent in her own parents place, she is not obliged to cook, or clean, or do anything except take care of the baby so by 3 months, she is really attuned to baby's cues and confident of her mothering skills.. this was invaluable in the era before telephones or the internet.

hey, i am not from that era, though my parents were. The very first newborn i ever held was my own, so mom tried her level best to teach me at least the basics of babycare before i left home with the said newborn after two months. Flash forward to amy.

With babe-of-4-weeks in my arms, i flew to Doha because the older girls could not miss more class. Having many things to do, i decide to let sleeping babies lie..just put a pampers on and remember to change it... and, it was winter, i can hardly put her in a muslin!

Fast forward again. At 6 months, she has not spent one full hour without a disposable diaper, after we left kerala. Suddenly, the rash i have ben seeing on her shoulder is red and matching rashes form in her diaper area. Seeing it spreading, we consult a dermatologist. "It is not fungal", he says after testing. "Just baby eczema." he prescribed the usual . I am convinced that she is allergic to the stage 1 wheat I fed her last week. So before applying any medicine, I discontinue that. My friend, a gifted homeopath, suggests oil massage before bath, a good moisturiser after, and that she go diaper free.

Diaper free?! I look out the window..it is spring. Where has winter gone? Anyway, perfect weather for IPT. So i pull out all the tiny bloomers and little Tshirts that dont have snaps at the diaper--no hanging tails to get wet. The first day, she pees in every little bloomer i have. pooed in the thick aio that takes so long to dry. In the night, I put her in a disposable diaper, and load up the washer.It is such a tiny load, full of teeny knickers. The second day, i remember to put her in poo position after the oil massage and guess what? she did it!!

So these days, she is diaper free in the daytime. After a few days, I am remembering old methods of predicting when she has to pee. I have a much smaller load of disposables to throw away, her rash is looking better, without medication, and i dont even have a big load of laundry.

if you want to know more about elimination communication (aslo called infant potty training), you can go here or here. or http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/

Did you have experiences with baby eczema? if so, i'd love to hear them. please comment.

Has anyone tried infant potty training?

February 23, 2009

amy is 6 months old

amy just turned six months old.. so we had a photoshoot.

pretty miss..


sitting up for a few seconds,



rolling over in cramped spaces,


playing with her leg, eating her leg,



having fun in the sun
yesterday, i opened the 6-12 months box of hand-me downs, so there are lots of pretty clothes to choose from now! thats one good thing about having big sisters :)
amy was such a quiet child, never even fussing unless she is hungry. she has been discovering her hands, trying to eat her toes, and the latest is she's starting to be interested in toys. if i give her a teether, she turns it this way and that, inspects it from all angles, and then puts it in her mouth. then promptly pulls it out, drops it on the floor and starts screaming until someone retrieves it.. seems like the quiet child is gone..she's very vocal now. well, she needs it, seeing she is the youngest. needs something to capture attention, right?
sewing news, the quilt top needs four corners, i am having a lot of trouble deciding on fabrics for the border. i made two dresses for the big girls, forgot to take photos.. will do it once they are back from school. ponnu did not like my original choice of fabric, so i had to stop one after it was almost finished..the girl wants full sleeves! in spring! after i was telling her all winter to put on something with full sleeves...NOW she listens !!





February 19, 2009

blog wanderings

today i found that teresa got a stash of tanya whelan fabric.. that took me around the net for some fabric goodness, i reached hancocks of paducah..they have a pretty site. after inhaling the goegeous fabrics for more time than i should, i visited the grandrevival blog and sat there reading it..far into the archives. from there i saw some wonderful blogs, like jenn's and jona's, full of wonderful pictures, inspiring designs and these girls are just so dang cool!! blame blogging for making it feel like i've made lots of new wonderfully crafty friends.
so if lunch today is ramen noodles with frozen veg on the side, dont blame me..blame ima le arba ;)

February 17, 2009

it takes time and two hands to write a blog.. takes only time to read other blogs. so i was reading a lot, sewing, cooking, and cuddling amy. thats all that i did in the past month..oh yeah, i went out for a lunch once. even with this self-induced isolation, i did not have enough time to help ponnu with her homework or play with chinnu or sit down and do a craft together.

these days are really fun.. wake up at 5:30, wake ponnu, get her fed and on the bus.. send prathe off to office, wake chinnu, park her in front of cartoons with a glass of milk till she actually wakes up, get her dressed ,fed and onto her bus. then wake amy, feed her, bathe her, take a shower myself, then play with her till she falls asleep.( ha ha, that phrase sounds funny) then surf the net(thats the most time consuming chore;)), do some sewing, cook lunch, prep dinner, fold the laundry, and the kids come back. then we all have lunch. this takes about an hour because chinnu wont eat by herself without constant prompting..(those who have seen her will know this is true) by this time prathe is home. then the kids go out to play with the neighbors kids. evening, they comeback, hit the showers, do their homework, wind down a bit (a loooong time) while i cook dinner , feed amy her daily solids, put her to bed and by that time it is past 8. somehow we get the older ones fed and off to bed, and we stay up a while longer.. then do it all over again the next day. weekends there is shopping, and church.. and i get even less things done. thankfully, its takeout on weekends.

my brain is going haywire. problem is that i dont stick to a schedule..so everything is late. once things are late, i get stressed. once i am stressed, everybody knows it. how do other mothers-of-three manage?

February 11, 2009

pinwheels done!

all done...
these are all 16 blocks.. pinwheels done, ironing too.
as i did not have a rotary cutter and ruler, i used kei's tutorial to square my pinwheels to 6".
yes there are wonky pinwheels, it had to happen on the black ones!

here they are , all arranged on point. now to stitch them together.

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