= one Zombie mom
1. When one kid cries the other has to milaao taal se taal and cry along – after all there is strength in unity.
2. When Mom is feeding one kid, the other has to make sure that s/he poops – that is the only way to help each other looking half-starved and mom feeling guilty forever.
3. When one kid sleeps the other has to be up and rocking – else mom would get some rest and that is not allowed.
4. When Mom is eating one or the other kid has to get in to some kind of mess and come to her crying – which means we move to rule 1. Which in turn means the food is forgotten for a good half an hour till the kids are calm. Then we come back to rule 4 all over again.
5. Mom’s lap should never be left empty – always keep one eye on her and the minute she sets one kid down, the other should be there to be picked up.
6. If tiredness takes over both the kids at the same time and both are asleep and mom thinks to catch some shuteye, send thought waves out to the world at large so that the phone or the door bell rings.
7. Should Mom act smart and take a bath, throw up on her the minute she steps out – after all the default perfume for her is called ‘The Stink’.
D and I are talking food as we drive to a kid’s birthday party. Thai food to be specific. D mentions that he feels like having Tom-ka-gai ,the soup. Buzz sitting at the backseat chimes in,
Tom kahaan gai papa?* (Where did Tom go papa?)
Buzz is having one of her without any reason crying spells. After trying to reason with her and get her to stop I give up and tell her to stop crying or she will get a time out. A few minutes later Bugz takes over from where Buzz left off. As I try to soothe Bugz, Buzz comes up with,
Timeout Bugz! No Crying.
Buzz and I are playing the tickle game. As I move forward to tickle her she screams,
Mumma dinosaur aa rahe hein! (Mumma dinosaur is coming!)
Kon mein? Mumma dinosaur? (Who me? Mumma dinosaur?)
Haan Mumma dinosaur. (Yes Mumma dinosaur.)
Aur aap kon ho? (And who are you?)
Buzz dinosaur. (Buzz dinosaur.)
Aah! Mumma dinosaur Buzz dinosaur ko pakadne aa rahe hein. (Aah! Mumma dinosaur is coming to get Buzz dinosaur)
Buzz dinosaur Nana dinosaur ke pass bhag jaayega (Buzz dinosaur will run to Nana dinosaur)
Nana dinosaur kya kar rahe hein? (What is Nana dinosaur doing?)
Nana dinosaur laptop pe hein. (Nana dinosaur is sitting with a laptop.)
Aur wo kon hei? (And who is that?)
Wo baby dinosaurs hei. (That is baby dinosaur.)
Baby dinosaurs kya kar raha hei? (What is baby dinosaur doing?)
Kicking. Usko cheddna nahein. Wo khel raha hei. (Kicking. Don’t disturb her. She is playing)
Buzz and I are out grocery shopping. One thing leads to another and I explain the concept of money to her. It goes something along the lines of ‘ Papa goes to office and works there. In return they give him money. He gives the money to us to buy things’.
Papa poins (coins) bhi dete. (Papa gives us coins as well.)
Haan papa coins bhi dete hein.
Buzz ka poin gir gaya 😦 (Buzz’s coin fell down.)
D had given her a coin one day which she would not let go. She took it to the same grocery store and after dropping it multiple times and picking it up, she lost it. Hence the sad face.
Buzz had fever one day. After a trip to the doctor’s office and a dose of medication I let her sleep. She is a picky eater and fever meant she would not eat much at all. After she woke up I tempted her with Paratha. Much to my surprise she promptly agreed.
Haan matar ke saath. (Yes with peas)
Matar ke saath?* (With peas?)
Haan matar ke saath.
I made Matar Paneer paratha for her. She took one look at it and said,
Matar ke saath.
Yahi to matar hei. (this is peas.)
No white white matar.
?? Matar to green hoti hei. (Peas are green in color.)
White white matar.
Oh butter ke saath! (oh with butter!)
Since then she never fails to say Bbbbb-utter ke saath. Bbbbb-utter.
*She never eats peas. Takes them out of her food if there are any. Which is why I was even more surprised.
She is growing up so fast but in some ways she is still a baby, giving us tons of reasons to laugh every day.
I had tears in my eyes. I could not string a sentence together no matter how hard I tried. I sat at work staring straight ahead but could not get any work done. My heart felt heavy with suppressed emotions and the guilt was overwhelming. I can never forget that day. I had just left my baby at a daycare for the first time.
This past Wednesday was another day to remember. I walked in to the same daycare to pick her up and there was a bag full of her notes for the day, her artwork, her spare clothes and a CD of her pictures taken over the course of the year, all waiting for me to pick up. There were warm hugs and goodbyes and promises to drop by often. She did not understand what the byes were all about. She did not know why all the teachers who have ever been with her stopped by to give her a hug. All she talked about was the cupcake she got to eat in class. She pointed to the picture of her reading a book with her teacher in the main hallway as she always does. She ran to the fish tank and said her byes and goodnights to the fishes as is the norm. She danced along the Christmas music playing outside the door. She walked out without even realizing that it was for the last time.
Me, well the emotional fool me could not control the tears. This place has given her so much love. The people here have helped her grow. They have taught me how to be parent. She has thrived under their care. I have become a better mom learning from them.
And then we cleaned up her cubby, said good bye and walked out the door. My baby walked out of her daycare for the last time.
As I sit down to give Bugz a massage, she sits next to me asking for oil followed by massaging Bugz. As I give Bugz her bath, she does her part by splashing water on Bugz and I smile. One very important chapter has ended and as sad as I am that my baby is growing up there is another chapter that has started. A chapter where bonds of love are formed. A chapter that warms my heart.
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.***
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.
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,
She comes running and before anyone can stop her places her lips on a little forehead, followed by:
I lub you, Bugz!
Maa melts right then and there.