Monday, December 14, 2009
A baby ritual which is scary to the parents as well as the kid is removal of baby's hair for the first time.. puttu ventrukalu teeyinchadam or first tonsure of the baby.
Usually, in AP, in my community it is menamama (mother's brother) who is the important person. He has to seat the child in the lap and get the kid tonsured. If not possible or if there is no uncle, then anyone can hold the baby tight and get that done. We get it done at Venkateswara Swamy temple or Nagendra Swamy temple or any temple if in Hindu children and in odd months. Usually this concept is not there, like it is not a must to get the tonsure done but for baby boys and is usually done in odd months ranging from as early as 7, 9, or 11.. and if not possible within a year then go for odd years.
Usually, in some communities there is no concept of tonsuring for girl child like in my community but since the hair with which the baby is born is scattered and very delicate, it is good that you tonsure it once for more even growth and that is the reason I personally went ahead with it.
It is advisable to wait until the fontanel is hard, say around 9 to 1 1 months of age. Some people actually have the sentiment of giving the baby hair as an offering to God but dont want the kid look different at the first birthday so most of them tend to wait up to 3 yrs. or so. I personally wanted to get over with it because with the kiddo being active, I was not really sure she would sit quiet or allow the barber to touch her head and also somewhere at the back of my mind maybe the first birthday hair concept was there too, but max was her growing consciousness towards not letting people touch her face /hair, so 9th month it was.
Picking Date and Time
In the odd month, consult with a pujari/pandit or pick up an auspicious date from the calender and see to it that there is no durmuhurtam or raahukaalam and get it done at a pre-designated place. (I personally preferred a place where this ritual is done very often, so that the barber's expertise could not be questioned).
*Coconut and pooja items.
*A new blade.
*A new dress.
*A couple of clean and soft towel to pat the baby dry.. more also would help.
*Ample of napkins, clothes, to wipe the face, mouth, and all.
*An ointment just in case there are nicks.
*A comfort toy, blanket, soothing object for the kid to hold on to.
*Change of clothing for the person holding the kiddo as the hair would inevitably fall on the person.
Bathe the baby at home, put on regular clothes/new dress If done at a temple, the barber expects the dress on the baby when the tonsure is done. So, make it 2 dresses, if you know it before hand.
**Wet the hair and take to the barber.
**Ensure that you pay the barber properly even after you take the ticket. It is not a bribe, it is out of happiness on not letting any scratches on the baby that we give it.
**Take your own half-blade/blade because of nick and blood concerns.
**Do not overcrowd the kid or cry in front of the baby or show signs of panic.
**It would help if you let the baby get used to the barber, you know that social, hi, hello, sweet baby stuff.
**Hold the baby very tight. If as parents you cannot see the baby crying give her to some elder relative, but dont wince or take your hands back even if the baby cries lot. HOLDING THE BABY IS THE KEY. They will fight out the barber, the person holding, and cry in frustration but believe me it is a matter of 5 minutes and holding their head and hands is very crucial.
**Clean up the hair from the head, wipe the face clean, ensure the hair does not go into the mouth when the cry and lick up the face.
**Give a proper head bath to the baby.
**Apply sandal (pure sandal wood paste taken out on saana if possible) or Banjara Sandal powder would be better than normal pooja sandal. It kind of soothes the skin.
**Put on the new dress.
**Feed the baby.
and we are done.
After a while
Apply some coconut oil on the head once the sandal wood falls off to soothe the scraping pain on the head.. if the kid feels happy we can keep applying the sandal paste.
It is simple procedure.
If for some reason it is not possible for the kid's hair to given in God's presence as an offering in the first year because of living abroad or whatever, we can do this and go ahead with haircut of the baby.
Take clean white cotton cloth, like a white male handkerchief and dip it in turmeric (pasupu) and apply kumkum at the edges. Put one rupee in it, give the baby head bath, take a new unused scissors and cut the hair thrice at three different places and let it fall in the kerchief. Tie it up and save it near God's pooja place. It is called mudupu. When you have time then go ahead with the above procedure and offer the tied-up first locks of hair to the Lord and get the tonsuring done.