When I was pregnant with my second baby, I had pictures of a serene, calm and an angelic cherub who would nestle in my arms, nuzzle against my cheek and be comforted by my very presence. I had dreamed about the love that my older daughter would exude for the new addition to the family. What I got instead was grump unlimited!
My second daughter was born in September 2012. Every day since then has been a challenge. Even challenge is a mild description of what ensues in my house everyday. My baby is the pediatric equivalent of John Rambo. Don’t get me wrong, I mean this in a good way. My older daughter Saee taught me how to be a mommy. I hadn’t touched, let alone held a baby before Saee was born. Sayalee taught me a whole truckload of lessons in parenting.
Lesson #1: All babies cry, I howl.
With Saee, I had the checklist down pat. Whenever she would cry, I would tick off the reasons with the ease of a pro. Hunger… check. Pee pee… check. Poopy… check. Uncomfortable… check. Usually one of those would be the reasons why she would be crying and taking care of those would mean that I would have my angelic baby back.
Sayalee on the other hand, howls. For just about anything and everything. I quote the late Tracy Hogg here, who had a theory about grumpy babies. Grumpy babies, according to her, are old souls who are not happy to come back, and they let you know.
Lesson #2: Be patient.
People often ask me, how can I remain so calm and patient with a baby like that? All I can do is smile. The truth is, I have always been an angry bird myself. This is just a mirror God has sent me to view my life a little in perspective. What good will losing my temper do in a situation where the source of the said temper is in no position to comprehend why you have lost it in the first place?
“I am the one who is being tortured here,” she seems to say. “I have been given the lousy parent, why are you angry?” Losing my temper and yelling at her will cause a ripple effect, and the ripple in turn will give rise to a tsunami of gigantic proportions. No thanks, patience will do.
Lesson #3: Sleep is a bad thing.
Oh yeah. Six months, and we still haven’t had a single night where we’ve slept through. We wake up, we cry, we eat, we poop, we pee. We play even. Only, we don’t sleep. We hate sleeping. “Mommy, how can you sleep when I want to play? Don’t you understand anything at all? Didn’t Saee teach you anything about parenting? Oh man! Waaaaaaaa!”
Lesson #4: Strangers are just strange.
Sayalee hates going to anyone who is not known to her. To others who are known to her, she goes only for a couple of seconds at a time. “You are the mommy, you get to hold me.” Only I am given the privilege of carrying her around.
Lesson #5: Trespassers will be persecuted.
There is something called as personal space and even I am not allowed to trespass. There will be no touching of cheeks. There will be no picking up without permission (unless there is an express order concerning the same, in which an urgent action is solicited!)
Lesson #6: The list!
There is a list of do’s and don’ts. The list of don’ts is certainly longer and needs more attention. Do’s includes massages (but not the neck, never EVER the neck), baths, jiggling, feeds and sitting in the window watching the world go by. Do not, however, force feed solids. They will be spat out. Never attempt to put on any item of clothing that is despised.
No donning of hats, they are repulsive! Shoes are annoying. Never put them on an unwilling foot, they will be kicked off. Headbands are irritating, not cute. Blankets are a complete put off. Never repeat toys. And last but not the least, never put us down where we can’t see you. There will be a sound of such a magnitude that can bring in the neighbours, let alone you.
I wish babies came with an operating manual. Things would be so much easier then. Yet, each day, challenging as it may be brings about little mercies.
Sayalee may be a grump-master add infinitum but in her nicer moods, she can laugh the most melodious ringing laughter. It soothes me long after the crying spell has passed. It stays with me when she is asleep. It carries a secret, about a spirited and vivacious personality waiting to emerge and holds the promise of a lovelier tomorrow. All I must do, is wait, and have faith.
Dr. Gauri Kekre is a clueless, 30 year old woman, who still has to find her calling in life. A dental surgeon by education, she has almost given it up to be a mommy to her two beautiful girls. She loves to be a ‘jack of all trades’ and dabbles some in writing, cooking and her latest fad, sewing. She writes off and on for her cookery blog and you can find her as @drgaurikekre on twitter (although she seldom uses it). Amongst the things she loves are her mom, her husband, her daughters and people in general.