Tuesday, October 31, 2006


The Bhaeblet was on the internet, in photos and video, within a few hours of his birth. As soon as his father could reach the internet, in fact.

Here are the video links:

His first appearance on camera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgnCQM5UbRM

Bonding with Baba: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnUKHeJ1hG4&mode=related&search=
(Sorry about it being sideways. I took it, and forgot we can't turn these videos like we can photos.)

Clowning around: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDC3G0l0Jdg

The Bhaeblet shows signs of starvation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqOgM0nQgH8&mode=related&search=

Fatherhood Becomes the Husband

One of the factors that helped me make my mind up marry V was his way with children. (Yes, it's true that works for most women. Certainly does for me, because I always wanted a family and never meant to take on the task of raising one all by myself!) He does get along well with them, and it shows in his handling of the WB.

I was lucky enough to be in a nursing-home which allowed the babies to be kept in a cot alongside their mothers' beds, so WB was always accessible to all visitors, including his father. For somebody who wanted a daughter and refused to think of a son, I must say V gets along with The Bhaeblet only too well. Far too well, I think sometimes, because even this early I'm afraid WB shows signs of being the congenital MCP his father is. The day is not too far away when they gang up on me, I suppose.

While we were still in the nursing-home V learnt to clean and change him. Within a week of our coming home V had worked out ways of soothing him when he got cranky at night. I would have been jealous perhaps, were I not busily sleeping.

But it's true that apart from breastfeeding him, V can and does attend to his every other need. From patting him to sleep, to cleaning up really stinky messes, to feeding him at nights (I keep the milk bottled for then), to burping him after feeds, to playing with him when he is awake, to sitting up with him when he falls ill, V does and enjoys doing it all. I like watching him, in part because it's lovely to see them together, and only a little bit because it means I get a break. WB, in return, shows a sense of comfort and security with him that he does not show with anybody else, except perhaps my mother.

I know men these days are more involved in their children's infancies, yet it still comes as a pleasant surprise to me each day. The men in my family came to the fore once we kids grew up enough to actually interact with, but till then, it was our mothers, aunts, ayahs and grandmothers who ruled our lives. WB though, from the beginning, has shown a strong attachment towards his father. I should have realised, when I was still carrying him and he would kick me all night, and V could still him when I could not, that it could be the sign of an all-male understanding as well as of a spoilt daughter.

The one thing I take strong objection to is V's habit of being entertained by our son. It's all very well to mimic his faces and cry back at him when he revs up, but needs must he discover that the WB shows a distinct resemblance to Master Yoda? (No, that is not complimentary!) I have forgotten all the other things he said WB looked like, but they were all highly objectionable, I recall.

That apart, as a father he impresses more than most.

Monday, October 30, 2006


It's a cold day and The Wee Bhaeblet appears to be hibernating. He hasn't woken up except to pee, once, and appears to be busily snuggling every time I've checked.

He's growing so much and so fast, it's a bit disconcerting. I was looking at his first photos the other day and I want to know, what happened to the beautiful baby I gave birth to? The one I'm currently dancing attendance to is a clown with a face to match. He makes the silliest expressions all day. Even while he sleeps he smiles and pouts and winks and swallows.

I didn't realise I had been putting up photos only in Orkut, so here are a couple for the blog:

That's WB yawning. In case it was hard to figure it out.

And that's our little bundle of joy (?) after his first bath.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Feeding A Bhaeblet

… is no mean feat. The one we have at home, in particular, is a rude, messy and downright impertinent feeder.

I should explain at this point at that I’m handicapped by an uncle and a paediatrician who are both vociferous breastfeeding fans, and who have lost no chance to tell me that I should not give The Wee B anything but breast milk, otherwise I will have a sickly, ailing, cranky baby.

Any mother reading this post knows at this point just why I’m feeling so blue and bitter; all others may not be able to empathise, but sympathy will do just as well really.

So. The WB wakes. He has peed, his tummy is empty and he wants his food. He wants it right away and the lackadaisical handling of these idiot adults who take over 30 seconds to change him leads to a buildup of righteous anger in a tiny body, which finds expression in ear-splitting howls. You must understand, the new man in my life is the macho kind. He does not cry in front of people. What he does is throw extremely loud temper tantrums.

Anyway, back to feeding. After he is changed he is still howling of course, when Ma sneakily stuffs his mouth full of breast. Stumped mid-howl he abandons rage and settles down to playing around. For, of course, it wouldn’t do to start sucking right away, only wimpy, goody-goody babies do that. So he whips his head away, licks everything in reach, pretends there’s no milk available and in general makes a nuisance of himself. All this while anxious grandmothers and great-aunts wonder (to Ma’s indignation) if Ma is eating properly, perhaps the poor baby is not getting sufficient milk, and whether what Ma thinks is fooling around is actually a desperate search for nourishment.

Then he finally latches on and starts pulling in real earnest. When I say pull I also include chomping, sucking with the power of a mini Hoover and other related activities all guaranteed to cause the maximum pain one Wee B possibly can. To cap it all, the horror falls asleep with clockwork regularity ten minutes into a feed and then on, sucks lazily, at long intervals, for an hour or more. Let the woman wait. (Those who are wondering why I don’t put him down once he is awake, don’t forget the Hoover-strength vacuuming power; others who are wondering why I don’t wake him up – well, he slept through the Diwali chocolate bombs a hundred odd yards from our bed.)

But what really gets my goat is when he finishes, after ninety minutes or more, stretches, smiles, pees and is instantly hungry once more. That treatment has been known to drive a strong girl like me to hysterical tears.

So you see, I’m doing my duty the best I can. But in the meantime, anybody coming to me asking me to sign any petitions championing breastfeeding will probably find themselves being chased with a hatchet.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Bhaeblet is MEAN

The Bhaeblet is out to get me. Us, rather. His father and I are convinced of it.

He saves the potty up for the 3 a.m. nappy change. And unlike any normal human creature, a good bout of clearing only serves to wake him up -- so, in the pre-dawn hours we are faced with a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed baby.

These days, that gleam in his eyes scares me, not that I let him know it.

After three weeks of sharing the night shift with me, V collapsed yesterday.

If you are wondering, yes, The Bhaeblet has been thwacked. Sometimes, parental love and affection only stretches so far. The good news is, as I realised later, that what I thought was a bone-jarring thwack for him (and which gave me lots of guilt-ridden hours) was in fact a comforting, soothing thump on his back.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Somehow, over the last year or so, I’ve become insanely vague. And I mean insanely. They tell me pregnancy does that to you, but is that all that’s the matter?

I keep mixing people up, for one thing. I talk to a body, all the while as if I were talking to another person altogether. I do it more and more. Yesterday I was talking to one of V’s cousins, when she started sounding increasingly puzzled. I was asking after her change of job etc. – only, it wasn’t her who has been doing all the stuff I was talking about, but another cousin of theirs. I’m afraid she may have been a little offended.

About two months ago I met this girl on the road whose face I recognized. The recognition was mutual, so we stopped and chatted for a minute. But she looked completely blank when I spoke of the stuff we’d done together. Today, while going through some Orkut pics, I realized I’d mixed this girl up with a completely different person. They don’t even look alike! At least, not much. The scary thing is, both the girls in question are people I liked, and they are from two utterly separate spheres of my life, so you’d expect me not to mix them up like that?

It’s unnerving, and in the end, not really very amusing. I keep making one faux pas after another, and somehow, people aren’t as forgiving as they might be. And I don’t feel like I can depend on my memory any more.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What Has He Been Named?

Ah. I invited, as most of you may remember, your suggestions for names. Since none of you took me seriously, I allowed the two grandfathers to do the fell deed. And therefore F is facing the world (and more immediately, his paediatrician) as Sharabh Niyogy.

Now, Sharabh means ‘cheetal’ in Bengali. You know, the deer. I thought that was apt enough, because he does have nice-shaped eyes, and he moves around quite a bit for a prematurely-delivered newborn. Actually, he moves around quite a bit for any baby. Anyway, so I thought that was that.

My father returned to Madras last Monday, looked into the matter more thoroughly, and found out that not only does the same word mean ‘octopodal dragon who eats lions’, but is also used, in rarer usage, to refer to camels, crickets and baby elephants.

My poor son!

In the meantime, he had already been given his informal name, what we Bengalis call the daak-naam. The day he was born, an uncle of mine got tickets to a play called Bhaebla-i Bhalo. That means, say, “Bhaebla is the good one, after all”. V saw in it an omen, of course, and promptly christened his son Bhaebla. Non-Bengalis may inquire, what is the matter with that? Well, it amounts to a Southie calling his son Gundu, or Pandu, or some such nonsensical name. I can’t think of an equivalent in Hindi offhand, but there must be one. And of course, in no time at all he was called Bheblu, and Bhabbles, and Bhabs and even The Bhaeblet. I fought it, and have decided in time, when he acquires a shade more dignity say, I shall call him Rahul. You know, because it means ‘son of Buddha’ (stop that grin right there, WT!) and like his father, The Bhaeblet has longish ears.

Of course, ‘The Bhaeblet’ kinda grew on me, so that’s what I’ve been calling him as well. But I daresay I shall work myself up to the Rahul in time.

Anyway, the latest update on The B, as the blogworld will know him, is that he had his first real bath this morning. For once, we did something at which he didn’t try to scream the roof off. Felt quite surprised. In fact, he seemed to tolerate, if not actually enjoy, the water splashing over him. He didn’t like being dried so much, and showed no inclination whatsoever for the Mohawk I kindheartedly made him.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mum. Me.

Well, whaddya know, I’m a mother. I think I really will have to accept it now.

F, V and I are back in my mum’s place (Moore Avenue, Tollygunge, if you want to visit). The kid is a fortnight old, and learning new tricks everyday.

Lots of people mailed, messaged, called and scrapped, congratulating us. Thanks, if I haven’t already acknowledged. Lots of others had plenty of questions, some of which I answer below:

How did I feel when I first saw him?
- Kinda shocked, he was so good-looking. Now V and I aren’t exactly mirror-cracking material (no matter what the man says in his Orkut profile) but such a fair, good-looking son was still a bit of a shock. That and the headful of hair. One of my earliest (and very groggy) thoughts was, they must have given me the wrong baby! Then I saw all the similarities he has with V, and accepted the state of things. Since then, the poor kid’s had a form of jaundice newborns are prone to, where his eyes and skin turn yellow, so his looks have suffered a mite. But he also looks more like a son of mine. :)

Who does he look like?
- He looks mostly like V, but the lower part of his face is much like my paternal grandfather’s. As I told my mother, it takes somebody like me to combine two such unlikely people. My grandfather died fifteen years ago, but I see his temper in my little baby. And I see V in the way he sleeps, with one hand tucked under his face, his head slightly upward-looking; in the way he whips his head from side to side without any warning; and perhaps most of all, in the most wonderfully charming smile.

Is he healthy and doing well?
- He was born with a lowish birth weight (2.8 kgs, 6.something oz.) but his legs and hands are quite strong. His lungs are pretty healthy too, considering the strength and duration of his yells when we do what he hates worst – bathe and change him.

Does he sleep nights?
- No. He ensured what I could not, viz. that V took last week off from work to help me out after I left the nursing-home. He simply left him too drained in the mornings!

What is his latest news?
- He had his first paediatrician’s appointment yesterday evening, where he was given his first polio drops and BCG shot. V and I were quite apprehensive and I was rather upset at the idea of anybody sticking needles into such a wee body. But after his first, surprised scream of outrage, he calmed down pretty soon and slept peacefully all the way home.

You will notice I have carefully refrained from giving him a name. We shall continue to refer to him as F for today. But he has been named, and that story will be the subject of the next post.