Oh baby, don’t grow up so fast.

arjun-and-momma-in-goa

Arjun, my almost two year old boy is at an age, where he can make sense of the little things going on around him. He can explain , argue, try to convince or throw a tantrum as the last resort. Many times he says things to us which we have previously said to him. When I hurt my finger with a kitchen knife, he came running with his baby lotion and told me to apply it and it will get well very soon. When his father coughed during a meal, he quickly pointed out that he should take smaller bites and eat slowly. Stuff that we tell him sooner or later comes back at us. He knows which clothes I wear to work and which clothes on the weekends. So last Saturday when I wanted to go meet a friend for lunch, I told him I am going to office and you take a nap with your baba. He looked at my jeans and gleefully exclaimed that I am not wearing office clothes, so I can’t go to the office. It’s hard to say anything to that when you feel half proud about your child’s supposed intelligence and half stupid to be so simplistic that a 2 year old has already figured you out. But that’s what it is. Many times we have to talk in spellings now, because he knows his mother tongue Marathi very well, and can also pick up on most commonly used English words. Often you will find us talking like this – ‘Should we take him s-w-i-m-m-i-n-g in the evening?’ or ‘Don’t bring that a-p-p-l-e in front of him till he finishes dinner’ et cetera.

But this baby boy is wary of loud places and crowded rooms. Any new people make him nervous and he starts saying he wants to go home. When I took him to a Mentor Me India meeting a few weeks back because no one was at home to baby-sit him, he cried non-stop till I quickly called an Uber to go home. But as soon as I showed him that an Uber was on the way, he stopped crying. A fellow mentor asked him that if you understand what is happening then why are you crying? Arjun replied with a wail to ensure that I don’t cancel the cab. He was uncomfortable there for whatever reasons, and he was communicating it to me in the best way he could. Now so many times it happens that I want to literally and figuratively run out of a place. Especially dark rooms with small windows. I have yet not been able to articulate why. Then how can I expect him to do that? But nevertheless I feel exasperated at times and wish he was more ‘social’. More like me than his dad who also needs a lot of alone time.

Currently Arjun’s grandma has gone to the USA for a few weeks to spend time with her granddaughter. Naturally he is quite upset that his beloved ajji can’t be seen anywhere. Without any frame of reference of a month or a week, I was worried how to tell him that she will come back soon, but after many days and many nights. He cried for the first two days but now he tells himself every morning that ajji has gone to US to bring his cousin Sara to Mumbai so that they can play together. Suddenly he misses her less, because it’s for a special cause. It is so that he gets back not only ajji but also Saru-tai, his cousin. Poor baby Arjun is set for another heartbreak in a few weeks, but for now he is waiting. And valiantly assures me that ajji will come back soon when I say that I miss her too.

These new generation kids are really smart I tell you. Making sense of the world faster than us. My two and half year old nephew can unlock any cellphone, take selfies and photos. And if there is no password, he can even play his favourite Youtube videos! My friends’ similar aged son can identify cars whizzing by. His toy cars include a Lamborghini, Bugatti, Ferrari etc. And I can’t even recognise my white Activa scooter without seeing the number plate. I often wonder how can we match up to these kids? How do we keep them stimulated without binding them to dozens of activity classes? If you have any tips, I am very keen to hear.

And of course things are not so sensible every day. There are times when Arjun is crying unconsolably because he wants to wear the same soiled diaper from the dustbin or he has had a bad dream at 3 am and wants to go to the park right now to see the horse or some other absurd idea at an ungodly time and I want to disappear from this life. Wake up in another era when I had my brain to myself and was not muddled with concern, worry, and a whole another individual. But then that’s why parenting is a two person job (mostly). Akshay takes over and asks me to shoo away when I am running out of patience. It true that it takes a village to raise a child. If it were just the baby and me I would have gone crazy long back.

End of this month little baby turns two, he just switched from rear-facing baby car seat to front facing big-boy seat. I cling to his baby ways of doing things, his sweet smell, the way he asks me to pick him up and hold him, the way he wil hold my face in both his hands and prevent me from talking to anyone else. Because it won’t last long. Soon his non-stop chatter will turn into reserved one-word sentences. Cuddles will be hard to come by and the grown up air will surround him. I better enjoy each moment now, and go give him a nose-to-nose Eskimo kiss. Right now.

Xoxo.

Rutvika

 

 

Sleepless Nights and Tired Days

Arjun book

With a little baby at home sometimes days begin with an inexplicable tiredness. Nights come and go without even a couple hours of sound sleep, the baby tossing and turning besides you, demanding to be breastfed every hour. It feels like an unending cycle of soothing, patting, feeding, burping, swaddling and trying to sleep yourself and then its 4 am. Birds start chirping outside, soon there is a tickle of a mellow light into the room and then the stark daylight of 7 am. But you feel unrested, the night never gave a chance to recuperate to face the next day. But it is okay. The baby wont be a baby too long and they say later you will miss the nights when he wanted you to comfort him. For now, I wait for that one night when 5-6 hours of sleep is even remotely possible.

Having said that, I know that is was my conscious decision to have a baby. it was not an accident. Husband and I planned this baby and the baby singularly brings more delight into our lives than any other other thing has. He has made us a family and I love being his mother. Breastfeeding him exclusively for six months is also a very thought out decision. I feel proud of it while at the same time I cannot believe how physically taxing it is. After having a proper dinner, if the baby feeds twice in a couple of hours at night, I feel famished. A deep hollow in my stomach. And once the baby sleeps again all I want to do is lie down and sleep for whatever time possible, but I have to get up and eat.

It is true that life is easier now than it was in the first 3 months since the baby was born. But I had very little expectations from my day in those first three months. Taking care of the baby and heeling myself after the rigours of childbirth was all I had to do. It is not the case anymore. I got back to work once the baby completed three months. I have to bake and blog. I need to meet relatives and occasional friends who take the effort to come down closer to my home to meet me as I can’t leave the baby for more than 2 hours at a time. It definitely helps that my workplace is 5 minutes away from my home and that it is our family business where I have a lot of flexibility with work timings. Mom-in-law and mom take care of the baby while I work and do other things. But with such ample support it becomes binding on me to live a full life and not laze around. It is almost as if I feel ashamed of taking an occasional nap in the late-afternoon when I go back home, because there is always something more worthwhile that I can do while the baby naps. And then after 4-5 days of round the clock baby care and work and other paraphernalia, the brain gives up. Goes in a zombie state and I shut myself out from the world with some music. While I work.

At times I feel it would have been easier if I had less expectations from life. And less tendency to feel guilt. I massage my baby with oil every morning before his bath. If in a hurry I miss it one morning, then the entire day I feel I was derelict in my duties. If one day I reach home 10 minutes late for his feeding and he looks at me with those “where-were-you” eyes, I hate myself for being late. Work immediately piles up if I leave even an hour early than planned and my to-do list starts getting longer. And to top it if I haven’t blogged in an entire week, I cant sleep at night. Words keep forming a plot in my head till I write them down. Its an unending cycle I have created for myself and I cant get out of it.

But I suppose that is the only way of life I know to live. I cannot not work. I need it to stay sane. I cannot stand the thought of feeding formula milk to my baby when I am producing enough for him to grow. I cannot take a break from the blog, the stories in my head will get suffocated. I cannot stop baking, the creative energies need an outlet. And I cannot not live. It’s the only life I have got.

Maybe tonight if the baby is relaxed and I get some sleep, things will be better and easier tomorrow. Maybe. But it is better to take it as it comes.