Monday, February 24, 2014

Unlimited Love

Rahul, as I have mentioned often, is thrilled about the baby. However he does have his occasional moments of doubt. Mostly he is bolstered by the thought that this poor kid will need some looking after since I already seem to have washed my hands off it but there are times, like this afternoon when he was sniffly and tiring, when his excitement wavered slightly.

So today I addressed something I've been wanting to ever since the baby became a topic of conversation between us... rivalry. I'm well aware that any conversations now are purely abstract theory but thoughtlessly cruel remarks served to drive a wedge between my brother and me before I even outgrew my infancy, so sibling rivalry is something I take very seriously. Part of the reason I've been demanding isolation and privacy this time is because I wanted to have my child(ren) to myself, to be able to talk to Rahul freely about the changes ahead and prepare him as only I can.

We sat down on the mezzanine steps, he and I, and I told him, there are some silly people out there. They think love can be measured and added and subtracted. Whereas all sensible people know that each baby brings forth so much love when it arrives, these silly people think one needs to 'take' love away from earlier children to 'give' to the new child. It's an impossibly silly thought because love once given cannot be taken away, and in any case, each person has to be loved in their special way. So, the more the merrier, the more love there is to go around.

He started out listening very seriously to me and ended up rolling around in laughter at the thought of such silliness. Take love away indeed!

I don't plan to bring it up too often, but I worry about sending him away for the summer. My parents are sensitive to the damage such loose remarks cause, so hopefully it will be all right, but these are the times when I genuinely wish I could protect him from all the fools out there.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Not a day goes by without its moments when I marvel at what's happening. I know I will marvel even more when the baby's here -- though when Rahul arrived I spent most of my time wondering wtf but that's another story and that was him... for today, for now, I look at my body and contemplate the single, impossible thought that I'm growing a baby inside me as only I can.

I'm not an advocate for motherhood for all but I do believe that unless you've known this feeling you don't know the first thing about it. Yes, it's something akin to the creation of a piece of art, but not quite. It's a little bit like nurturing your business and watching it grow, but it's not exactly the same. It's a lot like caring for your nieces and nephews and loving them so much that your heart breaks as they grow up and grow away -- but that's more like the love of a parent. This feeling, this daily, hourly sense of wonder, of feeling all-powerful and unbelievably powerless all at once, this is something only a woman who has carried a child will know. The sense of being able to move mountains (hey, you're creating a human being, what's a mere mountain?) is constantly balanced by the knowledge that you have to eat right, act right, because the baby will take what it needs and when it's out, your body will be left depleted if you're not taking care of yourself. It's the sense of being the cocoon as well as feeling caged from within.

The baby has been kicking for some weeks now, light, fluttering movements. It kicked just now as I typed that sentence out. It stays quiet a lot though, and I'm not always aware of the little flutters. The other night, as Rahul lay down and started to lose himself to sleep, he reached out one little hand and gently patted my tummy. At his touch there was a little kick right where he patted, an immediate contact that was actually too fragile for him to feel. The baby kicked inside me all the way home last Tuesday, as I drove back from the class I teach. It was the strangest feeling, trying to stay aware of the traffic outside even as the wee one inside kept kicking for my attention. And yesterday, when I had a huge row with its father, it stayed quiet for hours altogether as I lay in bed and sniffled and its Dada, its big brother, came and consoled me.

This time around, pregnancy has induced in me an immense sense of well-being. I'm well aware I could be eating better, exercising more, keeping a better eye on my sugar levels, but nothing seems to matter very strongly. The world has reduced (mostly) to this charmed space where it's just the baby and me, delighting in the wonder of it all, delighting in each other. It looks like we're expecting a second-born who will be loved quite as much as the first -- and I didn't even know that was possible!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Making Allowances

Some time ago I talked on FB about allowing my seven year-old child to earn money by performing certain household chores (apart from the ones I expect him to do as a matter of course). The debate was divided with people unsure of whether giving money to such a young child was in itself correct, whether this was teaching him to not do chores without expecting payment, whether this was the wisest thing I've ever taught him and so on.

He saves some of what he earns. Mostly he forgets to collects his dues and we forget to pay him, these days. (SO MUCH like his freelancing parents.) I think the most positive outcome of this experiment has been his reluctant acceptance of the crazy prices of the toys that he likes. It has drastically cut down on his gimmes.

I just read this blog post on allowances and am passing it on for all you parents who may be wondering about allowing your children their own funds and if so, when and how.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

All Apologies

This afternoon Rahul and I had one of our rare games of chess. In the first half I was reckless and sacrificing and lost most of my pieces before we were ten minutes in. I spent a lot of my time scowling. My mood was not made better by his forgetting to call out little things like "Check".

While he was busily knocking down my queen and checking my king I snarled a reminder yet again, "And what are you supposed to say!"

Startled, not only did he forget all about check, he made big eyes at me and mumbled, "Uh, sorry?"

Talk about rubbing salt in my wounds.