Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day
Little Johnny wants to play.
This nursery rhyme though part of the repertoire is not really meaningful for us living in India because we only experience seasonal rains.
Yet how many of us really appreciate this fact? Indeed it may be hot and humid most of the year, but year round sunshine makes it easier to bring up babies. For a bit of change, one can easily take a baby for a stroll in the pram especially early in the morning or evening when the sun is mild. Similarly our mild winters make it possible for baby to be taken outdoors with adequate clothing.
It is only in the rain that they can be quite a pain especially when the rain goes on for days on end leaving you almost at the end of your wits trying out new ways to keep baby occupied. This sounds weird in a way because babies spend most of their time indoors anyway, so how different is it looking after babies in the rain?
Well, last monsoon was our first baby monsoon when we learnt that we needed to tweak our caring model in the rains.
- Nappies never really dry so if you don’t want a permanently slightly damp bottom, dunk the nappies for diapers. Say goodbye to rows and rows of reusable cloth nappies and throw away the guilt associated with destroying the universe. There’s nothing really like the convenience of a diaper even if it is not environmentally friendly.
- No matter how hard you try, babies are going to get a cold so be prepared for visits to the doctor where you will encounter even more sick children and more tetchy mothers. Apart from the doctor’s prescription be prepared for several suggestions and remedies, many unsolicited and untested, given from other mothers, passengers in the lift and even watchmen in the building. These remedies range from putting sandalwood paste on baby’s forehead and nose to dry out the sinuses or gently putting a poultice of oregano seeds on baby’s chest to loosen the cough that refuses to budge.
- Don’t succumb to the temptation of going for a drive just because you are feeling claustrophobic because infants can’t be adequately covered with just an umbrella and infant raincoats don’t exist so getting in and out of the car can be a challenge. Incidentally, drives also entail traffic jams which are not exactly fun for babies either.
- The monsoons are mosquito breeding season and baby blood is particularly attractive. Don’t forget to put mosquito patches on baby’s clothes especially those that are particularly attractive to mosquitoes.
But monsoon rules grow with baby too as we found out this year with our toddler on the move. With his curiosity knowing no bounds, it was quite a task keeping little P entertained, amused and safely indoors. We learnt many things this year:
- Babies like to do adult things so get baby an umbrella just like mummy. They love walking around the house umbrella held high to keep away imaginary rain but ensure this activity is done under strict adult supervision to ensure no pokes in the eye.
- If you are lucky enough to have a secluded yet open terrace, dress up baby in rain gear complete with gum boots and watch him march up and down in the real rain. This activity gets them quite tired.
- The floor can get particularly cold and damp so socks with grips are perfect for little explorers to pad around the house.
- Extend bath time with some bubble bath and bath toys of course ensuring that the temperature is just right and there aren’t any draughts around for baby to catch a chill.
- Introduce baby to rain songs and rhymes as now with falling rain, he actually knows what you are talking about!
I wonder what new lessons the next monsoon will bring particularly when little P will be going to play school and meeting other children but then I really have no option but to wait!
As a mother of two thirty-year old daughters and a grandmother of a nineteen week old grandson, Sunita Rajwade has been there and done that. A hands on mom, she has seen two girls grow successfully through babyhood, toddler hood, adolescence and adulthood; solving their maths problems and contributing to their angst of growing up with a mom “who doesn’t understand”. But now as a grandmother, she’s being appreciated for her “wisdom” and “understanding” and would like to share my experiences of this wonderful journey from motherhood to grandmotherhood.