Monday, 31 March 2008

Changing seasons

She once nursed dreams of becoming a vet, and i'm sure she'd have made a good one. Hadn't she nursed a dying cat back to health by feeding it milk with a dropper? She'd also rescued a three-legged cat and performed minor surgery on it, to save it. In addition to these sick animals, the grounds surrounding her ancient home housed three dogs, twelve cats, and several cows and chickens. Though her dream was never fulfiled, she always had pets at home.
He also grew up amidst animals. His family even had a monkey at one time. The household was crowded with his 8 brothers and sisters, their children, and relatives who flocked by from everywhere. Though he was used to having children around, he didn't have too much patience for them. He just about tolerated the child who took a fancy for his socks and his niece's kids who sat under the dining table playing with everyone's toes.
They loved the children in their family ofcourse, but they were going to really enjoy only their own kids. They got together and the kids arrived. She joked about how she loved her dogs as much as she loved her kids. Nevertheless, they were both very good parents. Then one day, the grandchild arrived. An interesting, chatty infant with moods and a mind of his own, was sure to turn their lives upside down; and that is exactly what happened.
Now they were both sitting up at night, entertaining the little one with their songs and games. They carried him around the house talking, when he suffered from colic. They invented little games for him, and spoke to him for hours. He sometimes got off from work early, just to be with his grandson. He even watched cricket with his month-old grandson, explaining the nuances of the game. He was never too tired for him. He woke up early, did his exercise, read the newspaper and waited for the grandson to wake up. He'd then walk him around the house, showing him the paintings on the wall, the pictures in the house, and the leaves outside. And when he got back from work, he'd head straight for the baby. He had a special smile reserved for the grandson, and his eyes always lit up when he saw him. Considering he was never very demonstrative, he showered the little one with kisses. The baby was definitely the best thing that had happened to him.
She was no different. She was the crazy grandparent, who danced and sang for him, even entertaining him during his bath. She taught him action songs that he enjoyed. She even made up songs for him, and he now sleeps to one of those songs. A reader, she stopped reading. A literati addict, she was now playing only after he'd gone to sleep. She taught him his first prayer by holding his hands together and praying for him. When he was sick, she was the calm one with solutions to every problem. She enjoyed getting him teeny clothes and then dressing him up. And when he slept she'd spend some time just looking at him. If she once claimed she preferred animals to babies, this was one baby she loved more than anything in the world. Not much has changed now.
The little one is 2 months old, and as I write this post, he lies between his doting grandparents cooing and gurgling with laughter, while they entertain him with songs and stories he doesn't yet understand. But he loves my parents, and to them Adiv means the world.

"By the way........

..........I'd like more milk today!"

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Adiv's favorites

Our little bundle is proving to be quite a voracious reader. Here are two of his favorite books:)
A child more than all other gifts
That Earth can offer to a declining man
Brings hope with it and forward looking thoughts.
- William Wordsworth (Also used by George Eliot in "Silas Marner")

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The Easter Weekend - the long and short of it...

One of the good things that has come of my return to India(from the US) is that I now get an official holiday for Good Friday and because my clients are primarily based in the UK, I can take the day off for Easter Monday too. And so it was a 4 day long weekend that seemed so short, before I could say "superflagilistic.......ious" I was on a bus heading back to the garden city (electronic city really!).
I like giving R surprises - so I thought she would be thrilled if I landed up at 10.30pm on Thursday instead of early morning on Friday as I normally would. I was also hoping I'd get to spend a little time with A before he went to sleep - however it was not to be. The bus gods decided otherwise - first there were traffic delays and then passenger delays (one absent minded chick forgot to board the bus, so the bus owner instructed the driver to wait, while she was raced in an auto rickshaw to where we were waiting) - following all this drama, I finally made it only at 12.30. A was already asleep - but R was happy nevertheless.
Around 4am, A woke up for his feed - I was very curious if he would still recognize me (it had been two weeks since i saw him last) - As soon as he was fed and put on the bed, I shoved my face in front of his with some baby talk. I expected him to show no sign of recognition and probably start crying seeing this strange person in his bed....but he gave me the sweetest gummy smile, turned towards me and went to sleep. It was a feel good moment, but at the same time it was also a feel guilty moment. It's sad that the little one doesn't get to see me for 2 weeks at a stretch at times - hopefully it won't be too long before he moves to Bgl and then things will get better.
The next two days were pretty uneventful - mostly revolving around little A and mentally preparing ourselves to take A to Church for his first Easter Sunday Service. We had everything planned. We planned to leave early for Church and find seats near the side entrance so that we could rush out immediately if A throws a tantrum or gets cranky. We got there in good time and got the seats we wanted - A was still catching up on his beauty sleep so he was put on the pew seat in between R and me. The service got underway and about half an hour into the service, A started his usual stretches getting ready to wake up. As we anticipated this would happen we were prepared with a bottle of milk, and quickly gave it to him - once he's fed - he's a happy child - he just looked around to check out the new surroundings.
At this time, the pastor announced the next hymn and as the music played and everyone stood up, A was visibly excited hearing the opening bars... R carried him and as we stood singing, A had a huge smile on his face- He obviously loved the music - He also kept trying to nudge closer to me - so R said - "he wants u to carry him" - I put down the hymn book and carried him in my arms and continued to sing. At this point, A seemed to have got the hang of the tune, and he actually started opening his mouth trying to mouth the words looking at the way my lips were moving - It was such a cute sight. Everyone around had their eyes on this little two month old baby excitedly smiling and attempting to sing in time with the tune and enjoying the music... and of course when I looked at them I gave them the usual "proud parent" smile. A was awake for another 45 minutes and then fell asleep during the sermon and the other boring parts. He only woke up on our way back home - but he did have one heck of an outing on Easter Sunday.
I could go on and on about how he enjoyed the service in church, but a voice inside my head says, stop being the show-off dad... people will stop reading your blog. Anyway, R has said that she plans to take him to church every Sunday - maybe we were just lucky this one Sunday and he decided to be well behaved, next Sunday might be a different story altogether.... I'm waiting to hear what happens, as I'm missing out on some bonding time with my son this weekend just so that he has a decent home to come to in a month!!! The tradeoffs one has to make is sometimes unfair... but life's unfair - Right???

Monday, 17 March 2008

The Simple Life

Now that Adiv has discovered the power of his tongue, he talks to all things, animate and inanimate. The family is ofcourse thrilled, unlike the remote control, the fan, or the curtains that refuse to respond to him. We sit around cooing and talking to him about everything under the sun. In response he moves his legs excitedly, and flashes us excited, gummy smiles. However, when i've misunderstood the call for a nappy change, he screams his head out, after what sounds like a lot of complaining.
When he isn't talking, he attempts rolling over, and now that he is plagued by the Chennai heat, he either tries to pull up his tee-shirt, or he calls for the AC to be switched on. Then we curl up on the bed talking, till either one of us falls asleep.
Adiv enjoys his bathtime, that has now been shifted to the afternoon. By the time i've stripped him off his clothes, his smiles have become bigger. And once he's been placed on his bath sponge, his excitement knows no bounds. To the sound of us singing to him ( The ABCDs and other Rhymes), he gets to enjoy the feel of warm water being poured on him. After his bath, and a feed, he usually takes a cat nap. (I'm not complaining as long as he sleeps at night. )
At night he doesn't sleep on his fancy cot anymore. The night light, the vibrating mattress, the music, and the colorful animals hanging from above aren't incentive enough for him to sleep in his bed. He'd much rather sleep with me, on the same pillow, with one hand either on my neck or holding my nose. Sometimes he spends minutes examining the cross I wear, touching and feeling its rough edges. He'll then move in closer before settling down to sleep. In the process I end up frozen in one position, for fear of smothering him.
In the morning he wakes up to the welcoming hands of his grandparents, who are only too keen on entertaining him.
His grandmother sits down with him by the balcony window, so he can lie down and look out. He is fascinated by the leaves outside, and the noises that sometimes startle him. Staring at the friendly squirrel or a moving branch, he eventually falls asleep. If he isn't too keen on napping, he is soon transported into his play gym. After a round of cycling, and some conversations with his gym pals; the octopus, a starfish, and a tortoise, he then decides it's time for a nap or a feed.

His life therefore is pretty simple. He is happy as long as he is fed, kept clean, and given enough attention. As simple as all this might seem, he has made a world's difference in all our lives. My life surely has more meaning now, than it did before.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

A mother is born

I brought Adiv in this world kicking (not really) screaming, and holding on to Ro's hand begging him to take me home. None of the breathing techniques learnt previously at the maternity studio seemed to help. Ro's gentle reminders about breathing during a contraction merely caused irritation. Eventually the pains got worse, the intervals shorter, and the screams louder. The girl behind the partition delivered minutes before I did, after a series of orgasmic moans that didn't seem very amusing then. Her tiny baby(whom she named Princess) arrived to the sound of my screaming as well, before Adiv decided to make an appearance. When he did, the mood transformed completely. Suddenly there was an air of jubilation in the labor room. Ro and I were smiling, and the team of doctors and nurses were relieved the screaming had ended.

"It's a HE", said the gentle doctor, while I stared at the baby.

"You can touch him", she said, because I seemed unsure about touching the delicate one. I touched him with a finger, smiled, and turned to a beaming Ro saying, "I told you it was going to be a boy."

Almost immediately, the baby was taken to the pediatrician, who Ro thought was the "baby cleaner". After Adiv was cleaned up, he was brought to me once more, so I could whisper "baby tuttooos" into his teeny ears. For a second, he stopped crying, and that moment made up for all the pain i'd endured. It was a special moment, and I was glad that Ro was there to share it with me.

A mother was born that day, though not a particularly skilled one. I had to learn to carry the little one, feed him, change him, and comfort him. And when he was shifted to the neonatal ICU with jaundice, I wept (infact I wept every time he wept). Finally I was spending hours in the ICU. Every time I was called to feed him, I'd also sit around to burp him, talk to him, and put him to sleep, before being driven away by the nurses. Ro didn't get as much time with him, but a kind malayalee nurse did sneak him into our room a few times so Ro could hold him as well.


A lot has happened since then. Both Ro and I are getting better at our parenting roles, and Adiv is now a 50-day-old responsive baby who is curious about the world around him. He is a chatty baby who loves his play gym, but hates it when his soiled diaper isn't changed immediately. He loves being carried from room to room, so he can look at the pictures and shadows on the wall, the curtains against the window, and the moving leaves outside the window. When left alone, he'll even engage in a conversation with his toy cow, chicken, and pig that hang from his baby cot. He likes his duck rattle as well, but from a distance. Bring it too close and he is scared.

I've also changed quite a bit in the last 50 days. I'm more comfortable as a mother, but just as paranoid. I make frequent trips to the pediatrician with doubts about what is normal for a baby. When I'm not at the clinic, i call her on her mobile. Fortunately, she comes armed with oodles of patience, and since I'm a regular at her clinic, she's even stopped charging me now.

Anyway, both Adiv and I are well, and Ro makes a wonderful dad. In short, life is good!

Thursday, 6 March 2008


at least R is responsibly doing all that parenthood entails. I'm currently enjoying my absenteeism from my son's life and have to deal with sleepless night(s?) and diaper changes only on the weekends that I visit. I get this feeling often that my son is being spoilt rotten by his mother and grandparents - I'm the only one who can bring about some discipline to that boy's life - I have to be strict with him whenever i visit to see him.
Now now... did i forget to make the announcement? YESSSSSS... R and I had a baby boy on Jan 19th. Adiv George Koshie - the cutest adorable little one, and, it was one heck of an experience. Given all the nail-biting experiences leading to the delivery and the number of times I had to travel back and forth from Hyderabad to Chennai (I almost made it to Silver status on Jet Airways :-) ), it was all totally worth it as I held the little one in my hands, when the doc handed him to me as soon as she'd pulled him out - I got to cut the umbilical cord (though i wished they hadn't asked me to do it so soon but rather waited a couple of minutes before clamping it down...), R has a better story to tell about what happened when she spoke to him at that moment, so I'll leave it to her.
So there we were that night, two people, who've just been given the status of parents and are expected to take care of a new born...
That first night is quite memorable - I always thought changing a diaper was very easy, coz most people i've seen seem to do it so quickly and easily.... but that night when he pooped for the first time, (i was just checkin to see if that was why he was crying) it was so messy, I had no idea where to begin - it was 2 am, and I had to call the nurse on duty so that she could show me how it was done... that one time was all that I needed... i was the excited diaper changing dad - everytime he'd poop or pee I'd run to clean him up -
The other interesting thing that happened that night was after we'd changed him etc., I needed a break, so i went to take a walk - and when i return about 15 minutes later - I have the biggest problem on my hands - my son was wailing - and so was R (coz she didn't know what to do and couldn't bear to see him cry) - I had absolutely no idea who needed attention first - torn between the two - i quickly figured, that if the son calms down, the mother might too - and this is a lesson for all u new fathers-to-be: if u're left alone the first night that u're parents - be prepared for two faucets to turn on at the same time :-)
now its almost 7 weeks and i think we're living up to the challenge of being responsible parents - R spoils Adiv rotten all week, and on the weekend i get there and pamper him some more :-) ... I can't help it if he wants to have these long conversations with me - he talks about the trunk on the loft in the bedroom that he inherited from his grandma (she gave it to him coz he was always starting at it and he's thrilled about it - though i'm not lugging it to bangalore now - he can go collect it when he's old enough to drive), the paintings on the wall in the living room, the shadows that the incandescent lamp casts when all the other lights are turned off, the fans... he just has so much to talk about and the weekend is barely enough to get through it all.
Alright, I guess I shouldn't be gushing so much - but the little one already knows how he can wrap me around his little finger - check out the pic below

he actually turned and gave me a number of kisses a couple of weeks ago and this is one of those moments that i'll treasure forever - all credit goes to R for capturing it on camera in time! :-) - The one at the top was taken the day after he was born. And for those of you who are wondering - Adiv means "gentle" in Hebrew (thats what a website said)
until i find the time to blog again - please pray that R gets a few hours of sleep every night and that I don't have to stay up at night on the weekend that I'm there ;-)