Month: November 2011

Mending

I picked up something to mend the other day and as I threaded the needle I walked back to my first cross-stitch assignment in grade three that I made such a hash of that you took over and finished for me. Then during the summer vacation you taught me how to do it well, one stitch at a time. My first introduction to needle and thread and the thing called embroidery. I went on to make small little things after this (as part of school work year after year) and you took such pride in every single thing I made, always commenting on how neat every stitch was.

High on your words one summer holiday I found a book on cross-stitch and got over ambitious. I started out on the most difficult design there was on the book, a grand house with a beautiful flower filled garden. As I counted every cross of every flower and reproduced it, my enthusiasm started to fade. Somewhere down the long 2 month break I let it all go, but you never gave up on me. You picked up the half done work along with the book and kept it safe. I found them tucked in one corner of your cupboard a few years down the line and decided to finish it, all on my own. There was no pushing me to finish it, there was no nagging to start again. There was only keeping my half-finished work safe for me. I completed the house that year and you could not stop smiling.

I remembered the first time I showed you the knot I came up with whenever the thread needed to be switched. I remembered the hours and hours we spend on the saree that you embroidered and I helped you with. I remembered how you  never failed to point out that we both worked on it when you did most of the work. I remembered how you always told anyone who listened that my stitches were neater than yours and could be told apart if anyone looked at the saree closely. I remembered your joy every time you wore that saree.

And so I decided to not rush through the mending job but rather do it the right way. I took care of every stitch that I made. I made sure that every stitch would last and that no one would need to worry about the same for a long time to come. I took double the time I would have and this is when time is at a premium these days. But as I got done, I smiled a big smile because I know you would have had you seen my work. And for once I let myself marvel over the neatness of the stitches and gloat about how good I was.

One hour at a time

hmm I feel something in my stomach. Should I wake up? Oh but it is so nice and cozy here. Maybe in a little while.

Stomach is starting to complain, I should open my eyes. But that is so difficult to do. See open eyes and they shut off on their own. Open again, close again. Maybe I should make a little noise.

ummm ummm

Did she see, did she? I should have kept my eyes opened to see if she did.

This stomach thing is not happy. Where is she? Why is she not here already? Let me try again, just a little louder.

ummm aaammmm uuummmmm

No still not here. What is wrong with her? See now I HAVE to open my eyes. Nope, can’t see her. Turn head to the left. Not there either. Turn head to the right. Aahaaa there she is. What is she up to? Oh! the dishes are more important than me? I will show her.

aaaaaaAAAAAAAA AAAAAAnnnnnnnn AAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN

Take that, now you come running. You just had to make me cry, did you not? Now a days seedhe ungli se ghee he nahien nikalta. Yes yes! Pick me up quick and do something about this stomach.

No no no! Not the diaper. We can do that later. Oh come on! That does feel good I have to say. What a relief. Now where did she go? grr forget washing your hands, come and take care of me NOW.

Phew! Milk finally. Yum yum yum. Why did she have to wake me up for this? I was happy sleeping. Why could she not give me my milk while I was still sleeping? OK the diaper thing was a good idea. I will give her that. God knows how it gets so messy every single time. Woman stop playing with my feet, can’t you see I am busy? OK one kiss and then shooo. Milk milk milk. Uh oh! I feel this acid thing coming up. Should I stop? Naah, just a little more and then I will. Oops too late. Pick me up quick quick and hold me upright against your shoulder. Much better. Come on burp, come on.

BbbbUuuuuRrrrrPpppp

Nice! Now you can clean me up and oh well yourself as well. ern..how do I tell you this..OK let me just come out straight and tell you, ‘you stink’. Maybe after you are done taking care of me you should go change your T-shirt. BUT only AFTER you are done taking care of me. Aaahh yes, more milk. And remember from last time, help me burp sooner. Gulp gulp gulp. All done. Burp and done.

What don’t sit me down here. I am sleepy. Your t-shirt can wait, swaddle me first, rock me for a bit, put me to sleep and then you can do whatever you want. What else do you have to do while I sleep after all. No No you are doing this rocking this all wrong. It is 2 rocks to the right, 3 to the left, 1 right, 1 left, 1 up, 2 down, 3 right, 2 left, 2 up, 3 down, 4 circle and repeat. There much better. Almost there. Sleep. Keep rocking, don’t you stop. Rock 1 2 3, shake 1 2 3, la la la, zzzzzzz

Oh no no no, don’t put me down. I am telling you don’t. There see what you have done?

aaaaaAAAAA AAAAAAnnnnn AAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNN

Now we have to do this ALL over again! Start rocking. Rock 1 2 3. Oh no, you are doing it all wrong again. How many tries will it take for you to get it right, I wonder? Gaah some people are so slow. Rock 1 2 3, shake 1 2 3, la la la, rock 1 2 3. Noooo don’t sing woman. See now we need more work. Give me some milk to get over the shock of your singing. Bliss! la la la zzzzzz…

You took away my milk? I should teach you a lesson but I will let it slide this once but continue to hold me, else there will be hell to pay. This is nice. I like! Nice and warm and rock rock rock 1 2 3..shake shake shake 1..2..3..la..la..la……..zzzzzzzz

What is happening? Oh she is putting me down again. Eyes open. Come on eyes open. Oh too much work, plus she will start singing again and who needs THAT? I like the song she was singing though. Very apt for how I feel about her. I will let her rest up for a bit as I think of the song.

Till the next hour then. zzzzzzzzzzz

Naming of names

I come from a family that believes in giving people they are close to names. Not normal names like yours and mine but names out of love. I was famously known to have 101 names, with everyone in the extended family calling me by a different name. I am sure no one ever really made a list out and counted them all, but there were so many that 101 seemed like a good number. And of course more the number of names means more you are loved.

The story goes that I was born with a head full of curly hair which was a first in the family. Owing to the novelty factor Maa loved playing with my hair, pulling them straight and watch them form little ringlets again. One day while doing the same she called me her ‘Laado kodo’ (I did tell you these names make almost no sense did I not?). Bhaiya who was playing next to us tugged at Maa’s hand and said with sad puppy eyes,

Keh lo, keh lo. Apni beti ko to ‘Laado Koti’ kehte ho. Mujhe to kuch bhi nahein kehte.*

Bhaiya in all his innocence while trying to call me with the exact same name that Maa called me by in fact gave me a brand new name. Maa immediately lay me down on the side and picked Bhaiya up but that is not the story I am telling. I am trying to prove that I was the most loved child in the family.

Now having been the recipient of so much love, how could I not pass it on? So soon after D and I got married he became the first victim ..err..recipient of my love filled imagination. After which I preceded to train him in the art of naming names. When Buzz was born both of us gave her our own set of names, to the point where she was heard telling her Nana,

Buzz mumma ka ‘x’ hei aur Papa ka ‘y’ hei.

OK so it was our big game to ask her,

Buzz kis ka ‘x’ hei?

while cheering her on when she got it right.

Nana not to be left behind calls her his ‘Laadu’ and Buzz promptly added it to her various names while telling people she was what to whom.

Cut to Bugz being born. Nana was talking to Bugz one day as he held her and happened to say,

Yeah kis ka Laadu hei? Nana ka.**

Buzz who was nearby was quick to question her Nana on the same, after all she was not ready to let go of HER name. Nana improvised under pressure to say that Bugz was his ‘chota Laadu’ while Buzz was his ‘bada Laadu’. Buzz was so pleased with being called ‘bada’ and Bugz ‘chota’ that she is heard saying,

Bada Laadu playgos (Legos) see khelta hei, chota Laadu to nahien khelta.***

or

Nana aapka infections (injection, the mark we all have on our left hand) hei, bade laadu ka to nahien hei. Chote Laadu ka bhi nahien hei.****

all through the day.

Then one day as she played with Bugz (err pulling on Bugz hand) she was heard calling Bugz ‘Kidoz’. And that is how while the parents still struggle to find the perfect name for Bugz, she has her first love filled name all thanks to badi didi. And I smile wide for I have successfully taught Buzz the importance of having and giving these names. She will ensure that the tradition moves forward never to be forgotten.  

*Say it, say it. You call your daughter ‘laado koti’ but don’t call me anything.
**Whose Laadu is this? Nana’s.
***Bada Laadu plays with playgos (Legos). Chota Laadu does not.
****Nana you have infection (injection mark). Bada Laadu does not have it. Chota Laadu also does not have it.

Dil sambhal jaa jara

Dear Bugz,

As I look on you sleep peacefully, I think back to the time before you were born. Back then I used to think that having done it once I knew it all. There would be very little that I would not know how to handle. Well they do say every baby is different do they not? And how can there not be a challenge involved when there is a little human being in question? But I do wish the struggle and pain was solely for me and you would sail through. I am not saying it is easy for me. It is not. My shoulders, my neck, my back all hurt as I constantly hold you while trying to make you comfortable. I get excited if I so much as get 4-5 hours of sleep a day. But that you are not comfortable is what breaks my heart.

You got diagnosed with baby acid reflux when you were a couple of weeks old. It all started with me realizing that you would just toss and mourn after you were fed even after you had burped. You would keep gulping as if to keep things down and in the end you would spit up big time. Now Buzz never spit up, not once. I never understood the big deal about burp cloths and bibs till I had you. Going by the same yardstick I did not know what was normal and when to start getting worried. Was I being a paranoid parent or was there really an issue? Well Mom and paranoia go hand in hand and I am glad I followed through on my instinct. Visits to your pediatrician’s office, checkups, a few spit ups while we were there (one on Dr. H’s shoulder helped as well) and you were put on medication.

I find it ironical that while I had you inside I would not ingest any kind of medication if I could avoid it because it might harm you in some unknown way and now I religiously give you yours twice a day. Every single time I put those few drops in your mouth, I send out a prayer that there are no long term repercussions. I pray that by the time we hit the six month mark you are over this just as they tell me most babies do. I know I worry endlessly but as your Maa that is my job and so I try and do it well.

You seem more relaxed since we started the medication and I do the entire holding you upright for at least 30 mins after every feed day or night. We also got a wedge made for you, which honestly looks like a torture device. But all of these things combined seem to be helping you. You still spit up a lot but don’t look as uncomfortable. You don’t sleep for more than 40 or so minutes at a time and need to be held a lot but those are my cross to bear and I won’t complain about them. Till you get your rest and are happy we are good.

And you are happy are you not sweetheart? You smile your smile when we least expect. You kick and play when you are comfortable. You look so peaceful when I change your diaper as if a load has been taken off you. You love your bath time even though you are still iffy about the whole massage thing. You follow us around with your eyes. You grunt and make your annoyance knows when your didi troubles you by grabbing your foot or playing with your cap (while it is on your head) or stops your swing to give you a hug. You are gaining weight and growing in height. I watch you like a hawk and all these signs help calm me down.

You also seem to know me. You calm down instantly when I pick you up. You give me the puppy eye and pouty lip treatment when you want something and then cry out loud when your demands are not met. As I soothe you, you soothe me in your own special way. Buzz held me together, making me go on and you have helped me start my healing process. I was so scared of loving again, of tying myself with strings of bonds again. You entered my hurting heart without even trying and showed me that loving someone actually heals the wounds. That opening your heart wide rather than closing it off is the right way forward.

Now as I watch you sleep one of your rare peaceful sleeps knowing well that the clock is ticking and you will be up in minutes let me send out a wish that both of us heal and get better soon. After which, as I always say, stay happy, stay healthy. Always!

Loads of love,
-Maa

Of what comes before training

Potty training that is.

Buzz and I are sitting at the ocean front watching the waves crash.

Buzz: Birdy! Yeah crow hei? (Is that a crow?)
Me: nahein, seagull hei. (no that’s a seagull)
Buzz: Wo bench pe potty kare. Mumma ko bolo us ko diaper pehnaaye. (He pooped on the bench. Ask his mom to put a diaper on him)

Anyone knows Seagullish? Interpreter required.

Changes big and small

Dear Buzz,

I was reading something while I was pregnant with you where the author who was in his late 50s wrote, ‘the only one who remembers my childhood now is my brother’. This single statement made such a huge impact on me. Almost then and there I decided that if it was within my power I would give you someone to share your childhood with, to build memories with, to reminisce the same with when your Paa and I are no more.

You were born soon after and your Paa and I faced the reality of a little human who was solely dependent on us but came with no instruction manual. We struggled to do our best with all the challenges you threw our way every few days. We loved you immensely but that did not mean that it was smooth sailing. There were endless days when you were sick, there were times when you went on hunger strike, there were sleepless nights (months) and those were the days when having another kid seemed out of question. But I kept going back to this statement and that was my one argument for having another kid that your Paa could not argue against.

While we were in India recently your cousin Maami asked me, ‘Why second kid?’ and all I said was, ‘I can’t imagine what I am going through right now without having Bhaiya around’. Your Maama and I are a team. I just had forgotten how strong a team we were till this year. With all that was going on we would seek each other through the crowd. I would look up to find your Maama looking at me. No words would be exchanged but we understood each other completely. We shouldered the pain together, we stood strong together, we held each other. And it reinforced my belief that having a second child was the right thing to do for us as a family.

Life as you knew it a few months ago has changed a lot. But you have been so amazing through it all. You are crazy about your little sister and would play with her non-stop if we let you. You would stay with her day in and day out if we did not put you to sleep or send you to daycare. You get scolded and told no more often now, not all toys that come home are for you, you don’t get the undivided attention that you used to but every time one of us ask, ‘baby kiske hei?’ you reply ‘mera’. Yes sweetheart the baby is yours first and foremost, you just have to wait for a little more time before you can start playing with her the way you want to.

You have your moments where you tell me, ‘no mumma, no baby’ when you want me all to yourself but they are few and far between. Till you get your share of one on one time with me, till you get to sit in my lap as long as you want to, till you have me to put you to bed at night you are happy and don’t throw a tantrum. And even when during our time if I have to go take care of Bugz you don’t throw a fit, rather follow along. Which means the three of us spend time together rather than the two of us and that is fine with you.

You got up crying last night because of a bad dream. You were crying and calling out to all of us, checking on us to make sure that we were all OK and Bugz was the second person on your list to check on. It warms my heart, gives me hope that the two of you will be a team with a bond strong enough to carry you through the highs and lows of life. I once got a birthday card for your Mama which went ‘Remember the mantra we lived by as kids, DON’T TELL MOM!’ and I can honestly say that no matter how frustrated I am at that moment but if this is the kind of bond the two of you share, you-two-against-us-the-parents, I would be the happiest Mom around.

But those are things of the future. For now the present is full of a lot of love and care and laughs and a few tears and there is nothing more I could have asked for. You have been amazing with the changes happening, smiling your smile, free with your hugs and filling our hearts with joy. You are still my little baby and I, the biased Maa, thing you are the bestest kid around. Even though I don’t get to spend as much time with you as I used to, I am crazy about your sweetheart. And as I try to balance things and do right by both you girls, you stay happy, stay healthy, stay you. Always!

Loads of love,
-Maa