“Mama when did I begin walking?” my daughter asked me the other day. Little P was almost a year old and he showed no sign of taking the first step. I told her not to worry but she was extremely concerned especially since Avi who was three days older than P was not just walking but actually running!
“I don’t remember” I replied in all honesty.
“How can you not remember anything?” she asked me as she always does at every approaching milestone.”How come you don’t remember anything I did? Or for that matter what my sister did? How come you don’t remember when I had my first tooth or when I first flipped over? Did you even have us at all?” was the final jibe with which she always ended such inquisitions.
Well, I tried to reason with her that each child develops at his own pace and that she and her sister hit their milestones at different ages, in the sense that if her sister walked at 10 months it didn’t mean that she walked at 10 months too! And, after all these years one does tend to forget every little milestone in a child’s life which at that time is undoubtedly momentous. While I honestly don’t remember the dates, I definitely cannot forget the thrill when baby first opened its eyes, opened her fist, smiled his first smile, first flipped over, first tried to crawl, first took a step and first said a word. All these events are equally exciting and I can never forget the feeling of elation and happiness I felt then. I’m sure I’m not alone in forgetting the time date and place of the event and no mother really remembers it unless it is recorded in a Baby book. But with two babies born back to back I hadn’t any time to open a baby book let alone record anything!
And as the children grew, they achieved other things that made these simple first steps seem trivial in comparison. After all there are other first days too like first day at school, first prize won etc. But finally last week my grandson took his first unaided step and today he is walking almost like he’s done it all his life!
Of course he waddles and totters and teeters and falls. He struggles as he tries to lift himself up and we encourage him to move this way and that. And then when he steadies himself and puts one foot forward and the next, and you see his excitement bubble over as he giggles and beams moving forward. He spends hours walking up and down holding on tightly to my finger, thrilled with the idea that he can walk!
“You can walk on your own” I tell him urging him to leave my finger but he pays no heed, so intent is he on walking without falling. He takes measured steps, stops, turns carefully, puts out his hands to regain his balance, sways a bit like a doddering old man; and I walk along with him from room to room while he beams with satisfaction at yet another milestone achieved.
As a mother of two thirty-year old daughters and a grandmother of a nineteen week old grandson, Sunita Rajwade has been there and done that. A hands on mom, she has seen two girls grow successfully through baby hood, toddler hood, adolescence and adult hood; solving their maths problems and contributing to their angst of growing up with a mom “who doesn’t understand”. But now as a grandmother, she’s being appreciated for her “wisdom” and “understanding” and would like to share my experiences of this wonderful journey from motherhood to grandmotherhood.