Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Maid Quit!

Just like that! No warning signs at all. One day she seemed fine and then yesterday she just coolly informed me that she would like to leave and go back to India after 1 or 2 months. No reason given. My head reeled thinking of the consequences and I actually held on to the sofa for support while she was talking. I quit my job because I could rely on her to look after baby Kiara and now this after not even a year. She joined us when baby was 3 months old and took great care of her, but lately she just didn't seem to be there, housework was neglected etc. We were the kindest maid honestly we would score number one in terms of kindness is there was a survey of maid employers conducted. We threw in a lot of presents, bonuses, free time, entertainment, took her out to restaurants with us, shopping ...what did I do wrong? "It's because we were too nice" said my husband matter of factly. Now this may be hard to believe but never did I tell her what to do, not one day did I give her chores, I just told her see what needs to be done and do it. And she was good and I didn't bother to interfere. But what worries me most is that is is impossible to live on one salary where we live. Which is why I left my brilliant career but still took on some part time work. Now no more part time work as I can't afford to spend on the procedure to bring another maid. "Make her pay all the visa expenses" said a friend. I knew that just wasn't in my heart though, if she wants to leave let her. We will find a way to get through the financial consequences. I am happy that we had her when my baby was small and we needed her more. Now she is a bigger girl and we can manage, we must. I woke up this morning promising myself to face the world with courage. A career woman converted into a housewife. I have to learn to pull it off with a smile!

Sunday, April 22, 2007


India is a mysterious and beautiful country. And it is also one that hoardes a lot of superstition. I've been raised in a fairly liberal family and we were expatriates when I was younger so it is not that bad but it still exists. One of the strange baby gifts I received was a black kajal pencil (eyeliner). "Oh how nice" I expressed to the present bearer. "At least somone thought ot get me something instead of the baby." "This is for the baby" she said. "To ward off the Evil Eye". I nearly spat out the water I was drinking and tried not to laugh. Of course it was all forgotten till we went to a party when baby was 3 months old and a lady would just not take her eyes off her. I thought it was quite flattering, but once we were home she cried non-stop for 3 hours. My Mom said it was the effect of the lady looking at her too much. Ok just to clarify to those of you who have neevr heard of this before. The Evil eye is supposed to take affect when a person longingly (or jealously) looks at something that they cannot have (or is not theirs) and this affects the object in question. It is not restricted to babies. OK so in theory if you looked at your neighbour's Mercedes and longed for it, something bad would happen to the car (hee hee to have a power like that!). Well with babies they could cry, go off their food and a million other things. So you put a black mark on their face or tie beads around their hand to distract the evil eye. Makes Sense? It didn't to me. "But she is collicky" I insisted to my mother at that time. "You don't believe in these things but they do exist" she said. Still Mom is very open minded. When I took baby back to India for the first time it was quite simply weird. "Tie a black thread around her waist" said one. "She has so much hair, she will need a black mark on her face " said another. "No flower clips in her hair it draws too much attention" said my grandmom. "Tie a plastic bag aroung her feeding bottle so that no one can see how much milk she is drinking" said my Grandaunt. Huh? Were these the same adults who brought me up so practically saying these things? At some point baby did go off her food and I had to hear about how children should not be fed in public. I however refuse to make my baby look ugly (I have seen some truly scary looking babies with Kajal smudged all over the face) to appease the evil eye. Although I must admit I did use the little beads around her hands for a while. They looked very fashionable and also, just in case....

Love and Peace,

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Indian Baby Cow's Milk!

Has any Mom heard anything about cow's milk and your baby. I'll bet you have! The problem is that what we've all heard is different. My darling daughter (one week to one year) is a lively, curious well basically normal child. My only concern is that she is as skinny as a rake. Doctor told me not to worry if she is weighing enough on the growth chart, which she is (Born at 2.68 kgs and now weighing 9.2 kgs). Plus she is quite tall. But you don't understand....I am from India where babies are meant to be fat. Where the only duty of motherhood is to run after them 24/7 trying to get them to eat. So that their cheeks must hang till their shoulders. Now I'm not generalising but this is mostly the case and I have nothing against fat babies. I was however tired of being asked if she wasn't eating, accusatory glances from other Indian Moms who knew me...etc etc. So I tried to look at her from their point of view and then I started panicking about how she might not be growing normally etc.etc. So I tried to feed her more and she immediately picked up on my tension around food and went off it altogether, to the point where she would scream even to sit in her high chair. This wasn't going how I had planned, so to make matters worse I took the suggestion of a well meaning Indian friend who asked me to give her cow's milk mixed with something. I was sure that I had read that children under 2 years should not be given cow's milk. "Nonsense" she said. "I've given my children cow's milk from 8 months". So I gave it a try (I know...I know .. I couldn't help it). Coincidentially she got diarheaa and had to be taken to the doctor to whom I sheepishly admitted about the cow's milk and he promptly said,"No cow's milk before the age of 2. And it does not help them put on weight, you have a normal child". (Sigh) I was only being a worried neurotic Mom of course. So no more cow's milk and dd is still adorable and skinny looking.
But seriously, coming back to the cow's milk got me thinking about all the Indian Moms I know who give it to their children. I remember my grandmother telling me about bringing goat's milk for her babies. And I'm sure where I come from there was no formula milk until maybe 25 years ago. So what option did people have before that? I stopped breastfeeding at 4 months as my milk supply stopped. 50 years ago what would I have done? Started solids? I think cow's milk would have been the most affordable and easy option. And I'm sure that is what everyone did. And I refure to believe that generations of people suffered extensive damage to their systems because of that. So what is the real deal with cow's milk then?
Let me known if you have any thoughts. I'm not dedicating any more brain cells to that matter. I am just practising being comfortable with my baby's weight and letting all the snide comments pass me by.

Love and Peace,