Routine, routine, routine
Babies love routine. It was the one piece of advice I heard again and again while pregnant with Milin. It was the one phrase that almost everyone repeated. Whether they were old ladies in the supermarket, new parents themselves, distant acquaintances - everyone has something to tell you when you're expecting - it was the one line that stuck in my mind. And I'm glad it did.
Our little family has been in London for less than a week with our move from Wellington complete. Milin is now the grand old age of 13 months, and with every new day, he is making me a prouder parent than I was the day before. I think it's because of our routine.
We spent our last month in Wellington packing up our home. We left Milin's belongings until last, but they too went into boxes bound for a container which is still somewhere on the water between our old and new homes. He could see what was happening around us. Suspiciously, he would play in the boxes. He would eye the shelves around him as they emptied - and all the while he harboured a quiet, knowing look that life was about to change. We stuck to our routine though, with naps at 9.30am and 2.30pm, and bedtime at 7pm.
The week we spent with family in Thailand on the way was hard for our jetlagged baby. He was tired, cautious of his new surroundings, and suddenly clingy like he never had been before. I cannot blame him - we had taken away everything he knew.
Yet since arriving in London, he has been his usual happy self. By day two, our strict routine was underway again. And it seems to have helped with the transition.
With no jobs yet, the three of us are staying with my parents in the house I grew up in. Perhaps Milin can sense that this is home. Although understandably tired and wanting longer naps, he has been comfortable and happy to explore his new surroundings. Perhaps he can sense that he has come into a home filled with love.
I shouldn't be surprised at how sensitive babies are - I was told this repeatedly along with sprinklings of advice. And I shouldn't be surprised at how adaptable they are - this was also a recurring theme of pre-baby chats.
But I am surprised, and awed, and above all proud at how Milin has so far dealt with being moved from his home in Wellington to the other side of the world. Life here so far is very different. The house is busier - his loving aunty is here often, and his doting grandparents are around too. He has a new room, a new cot, new toys, a new bath to splash around in, everything has changed.
He has already learnt that it is freezing outside. For a little boy who loved the outdoors a week ago, he has learnt fast that a walk now entails getting very, very cold. He's not so keen on it - but hopefully this British winter will be over soon.
Among all that is new though, we still read him the same favourite books. I still sing the same song as I put him to bed. It has taken a few days, but he is getting happy enough to be left alone in his cot to fall asleep. I keep thinking: how amazing this boy of mine is that he can already feel so secure, so confident, and so content in his new life.
We started introducing routines into Milin's life when he was just a few months old - despite still feeding on demand and following his cues. And now, I am sure that sticking to these routines have helped him cope with a very big transition in his life. How have routines helped your little ones and do you agree that they are important - transition or not?
Follow Kiran Chug and her family's adventures on twitter @kiranchug