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.

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