Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Public Displays of Affection

When we flew down to Madras from Calcutta three weeks ago, the trip from our flat out was a troubled one. First the prepaid cab didn't turn up, then the car we were offered blew a flat twenty minutes from the airport -- and we needed to go early because we were flying Air Deccan, who have free seating, and obviously, with The Bhaeblet in tow, we wanted first row seats, if possible. Also, we had nearly double the amount of the luggage we were allowed on three tickets. (You can't travel light with my mother, no matter how hard you -- or she -- try.)

We eventually made it to Dum Dum, checked in, paid the excess, and went through Security. There was another 45 minute wait before we boarded, when WB decided he had been without food long enough. So I hopped into the restroom, which was luckily dry and looked clean, and the security lady in there offered me her chair and I settled down to feed. Plenty of women looked, all of them cooed at The Bhaeblet, all of them expressed shock at such a young baby traveller, and all of them expressed concern that he might catch a cold in the AC. Nobody found it offensive, though, unlike a certain Delta flight attendant.

Later, as our flight was taxing down the runway preparatory to taking off, one of the hostesses came up to me and said I might wish to give WB something to suck, since that would help him cope with the pressure change. I gave him some water, which I was carrying in anticipation, but my son wasn't having any of it. After some vehement complaining on his part I gave up the battle, sat by the window, pulled a light blanket over us and settled to feed.

The cool thing was, as I got over my embarrassment, I noticed that not only was nobody paying me any attention, but that I was actually ok with the whole thing. I was surround by men and women, but yeah, they weren't any of them young, so they probably were more comfortable with the sight of a baby being nursed than my generation is.

It did have a funny side-effect -- the blanket was made of a synthetic material, which, because of falling off and being pulled back on, generated a fair amount of static electricity. Therefore, when The Bhaeblet landed in Madras, all his hair, and he does have a lot, was standing straight up!

In case you're wondering, yes, there was potty too, and I finally got to use the plane diaper changing table. Was quite handy, actually.

Rather an eventful journey, all told.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Bhaeblet's Story

It has been written by some wonderfully understanding woman here.

The only thing is, she has mixed up the right and the left. And that it took a couple of days and not a month to get to know his dad.

But she got everything else right, including the diaper fixation.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Romance, Version III

This post was not kicked off by Rohini's latest, but rather by the SMS I just composed to send to V in Calcutta:

Potty! I miss you so much :(

Poignant, wouldn't you say? Especially if you look at the time I'm posting.

I'm coping without him, and my parents do help. Come to think of it, The Bhaeblet has brought about a few things I wouldn't have expected to see. He actually got a hard-bitten chauvinist like my father to change his diapers, even after potty, and see it as a talent to be proud of. Grandparents, I say!

I miss V all the same. Only, I'm never entirely sure how much I miss him as a husband and how much as an assistant child minder. I suppose, if Laura reads this post she really never will get married. The last one psyched her out badly enough. Heh heh heh...

Baby Update:

The Not-So-Wee Bhaeblet turned two months old yesterday and is therefore going to be referred to as Rahul from now on. He weighs around 4 kgs, and is getting ruder and more impatient by the day. But what can I say, I'm a sucker for that smile, so I haven't thrown him out with the rest of the garbage yet.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Fond Ramblings

Since a lot of The Bhaeblet's friends-and-relatives and other kinds of well-wishers frequently want to know more about him and expect me to tell them stuff, here goes:

1. He smiles. Frequently while he sleeps, sometimes when he is awake too. It ranges from a lop-sided grin to a full-cheeked faceful of joy. I don't know what he dreams of, but I find it reassuring.

2. He cries before he pees. I don't know why he does that, various people have suggested various reasons, but I like it, because it gives me warning when he's not wearing diapers. (I try to avoid diapers as much as possible because of the fear of diaper rash. During the daytime, anyway.)

For reasons known only to himself, he prefers to save his potty up for a couple of days and lets it out in a marathon session each time. I wouldn't mind, were it not for having to clean up after the marathon sessions. Not for nothing is he called Pottybabu and Pocha Pontla (that's Bengali for 'rotten bundle', to translate loosely).

3. When he takes time off from howling, grumbling, sleeping, feeding, peeing or potty (his daily preoccupations) he likes to lie on his back and contemplate the world. At such times he is quite chatty and likes to put his word in, in whatever conversation is going on around him. If there is nobody around he calls out loud. Quite the party animal, really.

4. He is LOUD. He might be skinny for his age, but there is absolutely nothing the matter with his vocal chords, not to mention his lungs. And when I tell you he can cry for hours on end (3 was the record, V and I measured it one night), you will understand why this is not something I'm particularly excited about. When I watch those other babies mewling away (relatively) quietly at the paediatrician's, I often feel a pang of envy for their mothers.

5. He probably has more exciting clothes than I do. He has button-down shirts, with and without sleeves, kimonos, rompers, t-shirts, hand-knitted winter outfits, pants, the dinkiest socks (ok, I bought those), shoes, lots of booties, caps, even mittens. He has blankets for every conceivable occasion. He has bibs to match those blankets, feeding bottles to match his clothes and three different diaper bags of varying sizes. He has more toiletries than I do, I'm sure, and uses them more than I do, too.

No, I'm not jealous. I only sound like it. I'm way too grown up to be jealous of some dumb kid.

6. He likes going out. He loves going on drives in particular, but out will do. He has been travelling around town since he was about a fortnight and a half old, come to think of it.

7. His favouritest people used to be his Didima (my mum) and his father; now that V's in Cal and Ma had to stay away for a while when V and I took him back to our flat and therefore became a bit of a stranger, I seem to have become his favourite whipping post.

8. He is awfully good about taking injections. The last lot of vaccinations, on Saturday, was rather nasty, being a 3-in-1 combined shot, but he took it very well. Certainly better than my father, who first left the room and then came back, only to squirm around him all the while.

9. He likes to look out of windows. I'm not sure why, since he still doesn't see too well -- moving objects still make him go slightly cross-eyed, when he looks adorably cute -- but I surmise the light and shadow fascinates him.

10. He SNUGGLES when he sleeps. This you have to see to understand. He makes himself into this wee ball and digs deeper and deeper. Yesterday, when my mother was patting him to sleep, he nearly burrowed under her armpit.

11. He loves being bathed. Not that he'll admit it, but he goes all quiet and has a look of witholding judgement all the while he's in the warm water. It's only when you take him out that all hell breaks loose.

12. He doesn't like being hugged or cuddled. Dunno why, but he wriggles out of all attempts. Just to spite him therefore, I take pleasure in giving him loud, smacking kisses.

I needed to write this post, you know. Not just because you've been asking, but because the stress of feeding him for hours gets to me, and then I let my horrible temper loose on him, poor mite. I do wish he'd feed properly though. The pain is a killer.

It's nice to be able to focus on the parts that I do like about motherhood. Like folding tiny clothes, and smelling his milk-scented breath. Or watching him while he sleeps.

Also, it's nice to picture his embarrassment when he grows up and reads this post. There'll be plenty more like it, Rahul-my-boy. Nowhere does it say a mother is not entitled to revenge!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Beautiful Boy

He doesn't smile inanely or stare at 'mothers' with vapid burbles. He just looks very, very handsome.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Miss You Nights

V left yesterday. He's gone back to Cal, leaving me at my parents' mercies for the next six weeks. Not to mention having to take on WB all by myself.

I could just sit down and howl, thinking of it. I can manage staying up half the night, maybe even make it till the morning. But I cannot wake the morning too, and handle a howling baby and feed and soothe him. Besides, I've got kinda used to having somebody wait on me, and now I actually have to get my own glasses of water and things like that. Most depressing.

And yet, despite feeling sorry for myself, I'm a little relieved. I have grown so accustomed to his face, to having him around, I've got out of my habit of independent thought. I have focused so hard on him and his life, I've made things claustrophobic for both of us. Now though, I am letting go. And it's not as hard as I thought it would be. Alongside that, I also try not to get too wrapped up in the son and heir. I'm afraid I'm spoiling him a little more than I would, 'cause of his father not being there, thereby leaving some spoiling to be made up, (well, why else would I do it? Huh?) but I try not to worry about him so much.

Babies are worrying things, you know. Especially if you happen to be a champion in this fine art. I worry that WB doesn't feed enough (even though the paediatrician said that demand feeding is all about days when all he'll want is to feed, and other days when he'll hardly have anything at all) because his weight gain is negligible -- 400 gm in five weeks; when he has manic feeding phases like yesterday morning, I worry he'll stuff himself to death, like Gerry Durrell's baby hedgehogs.

I worry that he's too cold because his hands and feet get exposed with his restless turnings as he sleeps. When I put him into feet-covering rompers, I worry he's too warm and will sweat and catch a cold anyway. I worry that baby talk will leave him incapable of clear speech as he gets older, and I also worry that too much grown-up language will deprive him of a happy childhood. I worry that he gets too dirty and also that perhaps I keep him too clean and am not giving him a chance to develop his immunity.

You see, this worrying thing is a fairly simple task for a hardened pro like yours truly. So when I attempt to rehabilitate myself, there really is a lot of work to do.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Reprehensible, I Know...

Only, I really, and I mean really, want to get very, very drunk and smile happily for a few hours and then come home and hug a sleeping baby and go right to sleep and not have to wake up every 90 minutes to feed, change, or do whatever.

In other words, I think I'm done with parenting. I guess I've seen all it has to show, so... I'm about ready to be a grandparent now. From what I see, they have all the fun.

Oh and I think I prefer boyfriends over husbands after all. For reasons I choose not to explain. And no, you really cannot guess what they are, even you happen to be V, reading this.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Not A Johnson's Baby

The Bhaeblet is what I would call a bon manush. Literally, a jungle man. Not Tarzan, King of the Apes kind of jungle man, but more like one of the apes in question. If you believe, as Rimi does, that I suffer from a bad case of reverse parental bias, you only need to watch the infant feed to understand why I say what I do.

He has his moods, see. Sometimes he's a quiet feeder, content so long as his nosebag is on. And sometimes he feels playful and smears the milk all over his face. If he can make it reach his pointy little ears, why, so much the better! (Until I encountered my son I would never have believed any baby could require a bib while breastfeeding.) And then he has his quarrelsome phases, where he will grunt into my breast and swear at it, and pinch it with his sharp little nails, all ten of them, heaven help me, and try to get in a few swift kicks in my ribs if he can manage it. It is in this last phase that he becomes an absolute little animal. He even, on occasion, howls with his mouth full of breast. When he first did that, I removed it, not wishing him to choke, but that enraged him more than ever, so now I just try to stop his legs and fists and wonder what I did to deserve it all.

Anyway... we are in Madras now, of course. The Bhaeblet has already visited a paediatrician for a checkup. The gentleman confirmed my father's worst fears by being a shaven-headed Telugu with sindoor on his pate, but he seemed to know his way around babies nonetheless. He gravely said that WB should have gained far more weight than he has -- he is obviously underfed -- but I refuse to worry about this. Everybody says he doesn't feed nearly enough, and I'm sure they know all about it, but none of them seem to be able to tell me how I should force feed a baby breastmilk. I can stuff the breast into his mouth, but if the brat sits there with his mouth full of milk and eventually spits it out, what on earth am I do? We've tried the bottle and we've tried the jhinuk. Both were successful, but in the end there was only one conclusion: if he wants it, he will have it (at his own sweet pace); if he doesn't, he won't, weight concerns notwithstanding. So be it.

Bon manush is Bengali for 'orangutang'. Literally, 'jungle man'.

Jhinuk is a feeding device, shaped something like a diya.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


We are off to Madras today, all three of us. V returns in ten days' time or so. The Bhaeblet and I will return later, exact time undecided, so don't ask.

Posts and Orkut photos will continue, but of course.

Packing now, so see you later.