Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Month of Motherhood

1. A "wailing baby" graduates from being an irritating experience to a heart breaking one.

2. Within a span of 30 days, your middle of the night thoughts gradually shift from "god wish I could go back to sleep" to "god wish she could be comfortable again"

3. Smells stop bothering you. Any kind of smells.

4. You change 5 times a day, for the first time in your life, not for vanity.

5. Checking email becomes the biggest adventure of your life.

6. Taking a bath becomes a luxury and a high point.

7. You develop a whole new sense of respect for a phenomenon called 'silence'.

8. All sense of personal privacy goes for a merry toss. You can expose your breasts in front of nearly anyone.

9. You can't remember what lipstick looks like.

10. You make the world's most boring conversation.

11. You look like shit. A lot of shit - since you're grossly overweight.

12. Your concept of time gets redfined into 2 hour slots.

13. You define 4 hours of undisturbed sleep as a "relaxed easy night".

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Short Bark of a Poem

If I wasn't so tired, I'd be in rage.

Only neanderthal men refuse to change nappies in this day and age.

Nappy Rash

Now, I must word this post most carefully, because I do hope that when my daughter grows up she will be sufficiently interested in me to want to visit my blogs - current or old - and read up on old posts.

So nowhere must I express a sentiment in a manner that is either inaccurate, or exaggerated, or unfair.

However, I also hope that my daughter's mind, moulded as it will be in her formative years by the way her parents think, will be lateral enough, if nothing else, to understand and empathise with the sentiments expressed ahead. And she will not take personal slight.

The bald fact remains: adorable though new born babies are, the first few weeks after their arrival is not fun. No, its neither an enriching, nor a fulfilling, nor a heart stopping, nor an "I was born for this" nor a "this is the true meaning of life" type of experience.

It's plain exhuasting. And bloody dull.

And whoever first introduced the myth that its the most fulfilling moment in a woman's life, was definitely a man.

Nappies and bottles, feeding schedules and milk adequacy, farts and burps, baths and belches, diapers and sleep deprivation, is not the stuff that "life's purposes" are made of. Plus, if the baby cries in that especially heart wrenching baby way, there is distress to top it all. You hate to see her in pain. And you want to do everything in your power to ease it. And sometimes you can't.

No, its not fun.

What sees me through however, is the constant image of a toothless toddler chattering to me. Or a voluble five year old asking me ceaseless questions. Or a confident ten year old telling me exactly how things are. Or a confused teenager not quite being able to articulate her shadow world of pain and perplexity. Or an opinionated young woman taking me on with her radical political views.

Every time I wake up in the middle of a tired night, and try and prise open sleep stuck eyes, what gives me the ability to smile at that tiny, helpless, vulnerable infant cradled in my arms, is not that present moment but the dream of so many future moments when I will tell her about these back breakingly exhausting nights; her giggles and my belated indulgent admonitions.

Basically, a strict eye for hygiene may well prevent my tiny one from getting nappy rash. But women like me tend to get a metaphoric layer of it over the surface of our minds, during these first few crazy weeks.

The fact remains, my darling Shaayari, my beautiful little piece of alive poetry, that I already love you more than I am capable, and to the infinite limit of my heart's capacity. However, that doesn't prevent me from wishing that your neck was firm, that you were potty trained and you could talk to me and tell me about your troubles, rather than leaving me guessing and fretting at your every wail.

As for all my single women friends who are still contemplating the idea of having a child: remember that most of what is said about new mothers and their experience of motherhood is a product of male fantasy - a fantasy that many women have adopted and started believing to be true through years of socialisation and psychological percolation.

I personally have come to believe that there is nothing especially different between a man and a woman when it comes to parenting. It's an acquired skill and a slowly developed taste towards worlds of delight. The first few weeks are formidable, and while a man can chose to participate at will in those few weeks, a woman has been declared by nature and by history as the primary care giver. She, her mind and her body have no choice in the matter. She cannot frown, display irritation and walk into another room. She cannot pull a pillow over her ears in the middle of the night and she cannot shake off the sheer guilt and in-built separation pangs and anxiety, should she even attempt to take off for a couple of hours - hey, I've tried this one, so I know. It doesn't help.

The woman is bound. By hormones and sociologically adapted and mutated genes, and by nature's inherent building blocks and by social expectations.

The fact that her mind may have become more androgynous in the intervening centuries does not help. Because nothing else in evolution has kept up with that one rapid change. Neither the rest of her, nor the process of pregnancy nor the needs of an infant.

So ladies, be forewarned. It is the dream of a future delight that should tip the decision in favour of procreating. Not the anticipation of any sense of immediate fulfillment. Because as far as my limited experience goes, the latter is a bit of a handed down myth; the former a genuinely beautiful vision.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Daughter and I

Not uploading any images of Shaayari just yet, since she still mostly looks like an old man. And since all new born babies look the same, will spare all visitors to the blog the insincerity of having to exclaim "oh how cute" and "looks just like so-and-so".... the moment she stops looking like a fried egg, I promise to load many pictures.

She has grey eyes, by the way. All smokey, yet sharp. Quite lovely.

In the meanwhile, will give in to a moment of vanity and upload this picture that Ranjit took of the two of us in hospital, barely a day or so after Shaayari was born. I think Ranj captured quite a quiet little moment. I like the mood of the picture. And the glow.