Before you get any ideas from the title, my dear readers, bored as you are, this is about Jishnu too. All first-time parents think it a great deal each time their child does something for the first time, and I am no exception. And how could I not be overwhelmed when this first something is a kiss! Jishnu is six months old today and has declared himself a big boy with a celebratory kiss. All the obsessive kissing by all and sundry seems to have finally taught him to reciprocate, because when I kissed him yesterday and then held his mouth close to my cheek, he half opened it, poked out his li’l pink tongue and gave me a little licky-kissy!! I was overjoyed! But, wait a minute; was this behaviour just part of his put-everything-in-mouth repertoire? Viren and I decided to repeat the experiment and this time, the J-by-now dad took his turn. Vir kissed him and Jish kissed him right back! Yippee! But hey, Vir and I will stick to our solemn promise that when he learns to point to his body parts and say ABC, we will not bore our guests with demonstrations. For a third party, seeing a baby point to his toesies and belly and nosie and stuff is utterly boring, while the doting parents coo with pride.
But, the incentives are starting to roll by. Though I still may not be at the point where I can claim that it was all worth it, I sure am beginning to collect my reward points. Wonder when I’ll be able to accumulate enough and claim that big gift. Although it is already kind of rewarding to see others covet what I own. My bundle of cuteness seems to win most hearts and leaves them wanting for more, especially my parents. My father is reportedly losing his mind in pining for his grandson and is apparently often caught talking to himself reminiscing about the time Jishnu and I spent there. He, of course, is getting ‘impatienter’ by the minute as the day of our visit to Nagpur comes close. We’ll be there on March 24, 2010 for his annaprasan that will be held the next day. I hear the obsessive grandparents have managed to increase the guest list from 100 to 200 already. Phew!
Even as I get ready to pack my bags, it seems surreal that my baby is already 6-months-old - old enough to be offered rice and a dozen other goodies and have a huge function in his honour. When I was spending those difficult first days, it seemed like he’d never grow up. But he has, and so have I. I am a 6-month-old mom too and no one’s congratulating me. Not fair!
The last six months have been the most eventful months of my life. Even as I fit into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes again, I don’t seem to fit into my old skin anymore. My being in now full of Jishnuisms and has been emptied of all sense of false ego. It hurts to falsify my very own, my precious ego, but once a baby comes into your life, there’s very little space left for anything else. The first thing to go out of the window is ones luxury to ‘eww’. Dude, when you gotta clean smelly shit every day off the baby’s bum and then his nappy and then perhaps the bedsheet, there’s no ‘ewwing’ away. Another luxury that is taken away is procrastination. You cannot not sterilise his bottles, you cannot not feed him, massage him, bathe him and of course, you cannot not wash his nappies. When a baby is hungry, he is hungry. Boss, you just have to get off your arse and feed him, even if it is bloody 2.30 in the morning and perhaps again at 5.30!
Also, time takes on such value that you can never imagine as a non-parent. You sleep when baby sleeps, and of course finish as many chores around the house as you can. There’s little or no time left to sit back, relax with that proverbial cup of coffee or curl up with your favourite novel. Heck, there’s no time to even fight with your spouse. I’ve surprised myself so much with a change in attitude that sometimes I find it difficult to believe it is I who buries the hatchet so fast and easy. I could nurse a grouse for weeks before Jishnu was born. Now, I just get on with an argument and pretend it’s all over in a jiffy just so I don’t lose out on Vir’s help with the babyworks. I mean, there’s no point anymore in carrying on with an argument if it means I have to do the ‘night duty’ everyday. I know now where and when all mothers acquire the skill of making peace. Lack of time, my dears, teaches it all.
Babies also teach you patience. They teach you that even life seems like it’s offering you no choices, it’s not so bad; because every now and then there is a first that you can fawn over. Ever so often you realise how priceless the exclusivity of those first moments is. Whether it’s your baby’s first chin up, first roll over, first sleep on his own, first intentional smile, first crawl, first sitting up, first snuggle, first tooth, first standing up, first solid meal, first chuckle and a myriad other firsts, each one of them is special. As you scramble to get your baby record book to pen in the date and time of seemingly irrelevant information to a stranger, they become your most prized possessions.
And then one day, there is your first realisation that life without your little one isn’t quite fun.