Babyland – Episode 4

Entertaining children especially babies, is a very demanding and challenging job. It is one job that has to be done with extreme care, loads of creativity and disregard of self-consciousness, at least in my mind that is. Before our son entered our lives, my wife and I never imagined that entertaining a child would be as complex and intimidating as it turned out to be initially. Now, we have done our share of entertaining babies and children of our friends and relatives, in the past. During those stints, we pretty much figured out what we had to do, depending on the situation and we never felt that it was difficult or taxing. Afterall, we always had the benefit of return to sender, as I had mentioned in an earlier post (Babyland – Episode 2).

Reality of course, has a way of hitting in a manner that you least expect, right when you are already reeling from one revelation after another on what being a parent is about (see series of older posts from Episode 1 to 3 on Babyland). It became clear that we had to be cautious while entertaining our baby and be as creative as possible to keep him engaged. Through this all, we had to be ready to do embarrassing things at any time to entertain him successfully.

Source: Pexels

Now, many months ago a friend gave my son an electronic book of nursery rhymes. My son liked it very much as it played out various nursery rhymes as he turned the pages of that plastic book. The book had a light that lit up when pages are turned and colourful buttons that played certain tunes or called out the colour of the button. From the description of the toy, it seems to be a perfectly safe, entertaining and more importantly, educational toy. What could possibly go wrong when baby plays with that colourful musical book of nursery rhymes?

One night, I found out the dangers such an innocent looking toy could pose to a baby that plays intently with it. My son was sitting on the floor beside me when he picked up the book of nursery rhyme and laid it in front of him. He then knelt and flipped through the pages randomly one at a time, not really waiting for any rhyme to end. As this was norma, I continued with whatever it was that I was doing. All of a sudden, he cried out loud in pain. I quickly turned to see what happened and could not see anything out of the ordinary. He was still kneeling with his hands on the book. It took a few more seconds of him wailing out loudly before I realised that he had his finger pinned between the pages of the book, while he was kneeling on top of the book.

That is when I learned a lesson that even the most safe looking toy, is a potential hazard to the baby if not properly used. Of course, I can’t protect baby from everything that may come by him but I learned to analyse toys from all angles and assess how best to keep the toy safe, both, for and from the baby. As for the book of nursery rhymes, I taught him to always sit down and place the book in front of him. Whenever he forgets and starts kneeling, I gently remind him to sit down and keep his book in front of him. That works for now, at least with books.

Source: Pexels

Caution aside, baby’s meal time made us realise the importance of being creative. Before the presence of our baby, I never understood why among some couples, one tries to avoid being the one who had to feed the child. Some would volunteer to do diaper changing duties instead, just to avoid being the one to feed the child. Then I realised, when it comes to his meal time, keeping him entertained and occupied long enough to finish his food, was very important, which is where creativity played a vital role.

In the early days, feeding him was as simple as having him lie on our thighs while we fed him but it became challenging as he grew up. My wife and I wanted to avoid using gadgets to keep him occupied while he was being fed, as we didn’t want him getting hooked up to gadgets until it was really necessary. So, we had to be creative. I re-acquainted myself with nursery rhymes that I had mostly forgotten and learned up new ones.

More often than not though, I ended up inserting my own lyrics or created new ones. For instance, my version of “Old McDonald had a farm”, has all sorts of fowls in it besides the usual chicken and duck. Along the way, the same farm, added some wild animals in it, such as a monkey, an elephant, a wolf and a lion. The easily adjustable list of animals in the farm helped me keep him seated long enough, with manageable tantrums, in order to complete his meals. That aside, due to my extreme creativity with nursery rhymes, my wife decided that I will not be the one helping him with nursery rhymes when he goes to the nursery or kindergarten. I have chosen to not argue with that decision.

Source: Pexels

Besides all that, we also had to get used to being ready to do embarrassing things in the name of entertaining the baby. Things, that we would normally avoid, especially in public. For starters, talking gibberish or any non-understandable language, in public would be something one would avoid. However, in the presence of a baby, that is totally acceptable and nobody would look at you as if you have lost your marbles. Rather, most would give the look that says, “Ah, so cute”.

Then there is the singing or humming, especially of nursery rhymes in public. Without the presence of the baby, I am pretty certain, that someone would have kindly told me to just stick to being a bathroom singer. If it was a talent show, baby’s presence alone might earn me a reprieve to stay, at least for another episode. I am pretty certain that having baby around us, is a “Get out of jail card” to do anything embarrassing in the name of entertaining a baby. The same action I believe, would have rewarded me with at least a stinking egg, at any other time.

Source: Pexels

Fortunately, being cautious, extremely creative and prepared to do embarrassing things in public, generally results in a happy and content baby or at least as happy and content as a baby can be. As taxing and challenging a job it might be, to entertain baby that is, my wife and I are pretty sure that it brings about its own set of rewards. A happily well-fed, laughing and smiling baby, at any time of the day is definitely reward enough to keep being cautious, insanely creative and ever-ready to do embarrassing things anywhere.

P.S.: Featured image was sourced from Pexels

Babyland – Episode 3

I believe that being a parent is a taxing job, if not the toughest and challenging job there is, in the whole wide world. In the weeks since we had our baby, my wife and I realised and learned a lot of things on the job. Being a parent involves being perpetually tired, endlessly worried and constantly thinking of the best way to bring up the child, all of which I had covered in detail in a previous post (Babyland – Episode 2). In the same breath though, I also believe that some of the perks and rewards that comes with being a parent, is something that can’t be matched by any other job in the world.

Image sourced from Pexels

To start with, there is the benefit of watching the miracle that is a baby figuring out how to do things on his own and the joy etched on his face when he successfully does it. For the first few weeks, he slept and remained on his back obediently. He would remain lying on his back anywhere we chose to leave him, as he slept, cooed, gazed intently at anything that caught his fancy or simply getting to know his hands and feet. Those weeks gave us the false believe that it wasn’t that difficult be a parent. I mean, how difficult was it to take care of a stationary baby, right?

One fine day, we found him on his tummy, giving us a wide smile, with his hands stuck under him and his legs flailing behind him, excitement evident on his face. Days later, we found him on his tummy, smiling at us, with both his hands and legs flailing gently around him. He had figured out how to move his hand free from under his body. Then, he progressed to flipping from his back to his tummy and then back as he wanted. He was basically rolling around at will.

Image sourced from Pexels

Soon, he decided rolling around was boring and that it was time to crawl. He started off with failed attempts at raising his buttocks. After days of working on his muscles, he managed to raise his buttocks up and remained in that manner for a while without dropping down in exhaustion. Then, he got stuck in figuring out how to move his knees and hands in a coordinated manner and ended up dropping to his tummy in frustration and exhaustion.

Realising that he was getting nowhere, he decided he might have better luck with a combination of “swimming” and a military crawl. I was pretty certain then and still hope that in the future, he would give Michael Phelps or his contemporary at that time, a swim for his money. With the “swimming” and military crawl move, our baby was on the go, no longer stationary. Then one morning, we found him crawling towards us, at the speed of a speeding bullet. As he approached us, he gave us this wide smile of his, implying that he has accomplished something and was proud of himself for having pulled it off. A smile to warm the heart.


Then, there is the joy of teaching and watching the baby, learn and repeat what has been taught. To start with, it is not easy to teach a baby. Then, waiting for the baby to show what was learned, takes ages. Babies tend to have a mind of their own. They generally do the opposite of what you would like them to do. However, when they finally show you what they have learned, mimicking as close as can be expected of a baby, of what they observed from you, it is truly a wonderful sight and feeling.

I remember watching my wife teaching our baby the actions from a nursery rhyme. It was the “Wheels on the bus” song and she was trying to show him the actions for wheels going round and round as well as the wipers going swish, swish and swish. He would smile amusingly at my wife as she made those actions as she sang the song. At times he would laugh and only God and he knows if he was laughing at her or with her.

Being the teacher that she is, she persisted with it and one afternoon while coaxing him to eat by singing the nursery rhyme, he rewarded her persistency. He did the exact same actions according to the verse of the nursery rhyme. Now, that was a sight to see. My wife laughing away happily as he showed he had learned something, as well as that of our baby laughing at the sight of her laughing.

Image courtesy of Pexels

Lastly, there is the benefit of being beneficiaries in the transaction of unconditional love and unlimited adoration between parent and baby, that goes both ways. Having a baby brings out all the love in us and the ability to adore somebody. More importantly, both love and adoration, comes out unconditionally and in unlimited supply. The fact that we are exhibiting these emotions, puts our mind and body in a very positive state. When the same love and adoration is returned to us, both unconditionally and in unlimited supply, the positive state of our mind just multiplies.

Now, adults may show love and adoration through expensive gifts, flowery words and beautiful flowers. These tend to make us feel good. However, the feeling of love and adoration that one gets from a baby, can be exhilarating. A baby, with no means to show love and adoration through expensive gifts, flowery words and beautiful flowers, does it in a very simple yet powerful manner. One that we adults may have forgotten.

It is reflected in the eyes of the baby gazing at you, in the way the baby melts into your arms, in the silent words mouthed by the baby and the pure innocent smile the baby gives out to you. The baby achieves this by simply being there with you and only you, at that moment. Having experienced precious moments like this with our baby, I have to admit that it is truly a valuable and powerful feeling. It is one that only a baby can pull-off.


Being a parent, especially of a baby, might be a taxing and tough job. However, the benefit of watching a baby successfully figure out how to do things on his own, the joy of teaching and watching a baby, learn and repeat what was taught and being participants in the exchange of unconditional love and unlimited adoration, can be quite rewarding. More than anything else, being parents is an opportunity granted by God and that in itself should be rewarding enough, right?

P.S.: Featured image is sourced from Pexels.

Babyland – Episode 2

Before my wife and I had our baby, our closest experience with babies was that of carrying and playing with the babies of our friends and cousins. They were kind enough to let us fuss over their baby when we visited or met up with them. Now for those who may not be aware, babies are absolutely cute and adorable. They are fun to play with and fuss over, at least when they are in a good mood. All fun ends when they start bawling. That is usually when we return the baby back to the sender. They always seemed to know what to do.

We learned pretty much on the very first day, that with our little baby, there is no such thing as return to sender. We are the “senders”. We had to know how to deal with him. So, just as numerous parents would have done with their baby before us, we too started our process of learning the “how to handle your baby”, on the very day that we met him. Now, we have always loved our parents all our lives and admire them for all that they have done and achieved in their lives. However, our admiration for our parents and all parents in general, went up several notches, since our baby came into our lives, now that we have a baby and are experiencing life as parents ourselves.

Image sourced from Pixabay

To start with, there is the general lack of sleep and rest, something that I had covered in “Babyland – Episode 1“. I have seen many fathers and mothers come in to work looking like they could use an hour or two of extra sleep. I felt for them and would tell them to go home early and have some good rest if they don’t have anything due urgently. They usually responded wearily with a mixed look, bordering somewhere between gratefulness and amusement. I do realise now, the folly of such advice no matter how well intended it might have been then.

Lack of good sleep and rest is generally the norm since our baby came into our lives. Good rest with uninterrupted sleep is indeed a luxury these days. We are definitely grateful for the rare occasions when baby chooses to sleep through the night or when he goes for a sleep-over with his grandparents. Thankfully, our little one is slowly getting his routine sorted out over the past few months. I suppose, he feels that his parents do need some rest at night, if they are going to play with him the next day. Then again, having observed other parents and recalling our experiences with our parents, I suppose parents just don’t get to rest until their brood has grown up. Even then, it is just ever so slightly.

Image sourced from Pixabay

Next, is the amount of worrying that creeps into the mind and dealing with it effectively. We experienced it for the first time, about two months in, when our little friend was feverish in the middle of the night, over a weekend. We had no idea why he was having fever or what we were to do at that time. My mind was racing away, imagining the worst, having heard of stories from some of our friends, about the time their baby was admitted in the hospital due to fever or an infection. Thankfully with some advice from our parents and support over Whatsapp from doctors that we knew, we managed to bring his temperature down.

Other than health, there is also the worrying about his future education. Listening to our friends talk about schools, comparing the standards between public and private schools as well as the cost associated with private schools, gives us the creeps. Then hearing from others about how expensive higher education is these days, just multiplies the worry to another level. If it is that expensive and complicated now, how would it be when it is time for him to study?

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Besides health and education, there is also the worry about safety of our baby, within the house and when he goes out of it. Trying to keep our baby away from the risky areas at home is in itself trying, now that he moves around at speeds nearing that of speeding bullets. There are the power points, television, edges of chairs and tables, high areas ranging from our sofa, chairs, to the television rack, kitchen drawers and cabinets, refrigerator and the balcony. Keeping him safe around these areas takes a lot of creativity and sudden bursts of energy.

Then, regular news about the weird and dangerous people out there and the things that they do to children regardless of age, can at times be overwhelming. Reading about children being kidnapped, molested, raped, abused and other such sad news, make us wonder as to the kind of society and world that we are bringing up our baby in. If it was possible, I would love to wrap our baby up in bubble wraps and keep him close but then that is not how one brings up a child, is it?

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Other a general lack of good rest and being worried around the clock, one other thing that increases our admiration and respect for parents in general, is the way a child is brought up. As our baby starts to become more independent, we have to figure out how we are to discourage him from doing something wrong or dangerous. We have to learn how to punish him constructively, when he does something even after being reprimanded, without limiting his ability to do things on his own, confidently. We have to recognise the balance between teaching him something against making him dependent on us to learn things rather than discovering them on his own. We have to identify how to inculcate good values in him and make him feel for it naturally instead of forcing it upon him.

We want him to learn to respect people around him and not feel that it is his right to have things his way. Being the only child, at least for now, we want him to understand that it is important to share things with others, especially when it is limited in number, rather than thinking that it belongs only to him. We want him to be helpful and mindful of others and not become a selfish person who only thinks of himself. We want him to become someone useful to the society instead of one who becomes a burden.

Image sourced from Pexels

I guess parenting may not be something that is easy to start with. The path of parenting will be full of potholes and sharp corners. We may make mistakes but more importantly we will just have to figure out how to correct it and bounce back from it. Someone, a parent himself, told me once, that no parents are ever ready to be parents. I suppose we all learn along the way and improvise as we move along. With faith in God, I believe we will be just fine. After all, we are the “senders” and in fact, we couldn’t have “received” something more precious from God, our little baby.

P.S.: Featured image is sourced from Pexels.