Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another first!!

Having a child brings with it an entire world of firsts..the first time the baby smiles, the first time he sits, the first step. Each of this opens up a world of infinite possibilities and almost boundless joy to the proud parents as they watch, their hearts in their mouths, while their precious one crosses yet another milestone, conquers yet another challenge with blithe ease. This weekend was one such precious capsule of time for us, to be stored away and cherished forever - kuttan's first sports day!!

The preparations had begun almost a month back and we had received invitations with detailed instructions on everything from what the child should wear to what they should have had for breakfast. Since we had gone on vacation for most part of the practice sessions, I was a little apprehensive about how kuttan will fare. I mean, I did'nt want him to embarrass himself by coming in last or anything. (Ok, ok...I did'nt want to be embarrassed if he came in last. I have this hopelessly competitive streak in me, especially when it comes to kuttan against other kids and can't bear for him to be less than the best in anything.)

I can almost hear my hubby saying 'obsessive compulsive moron' and shaking his head but this is my blog and I will write what I want to. Anyway, I am digressing. Coming back to the eve of the big day. I ran around the house and retrieved all pieces of kuttan's outfit as specified in the letter. Had it all laid out and gave a BIG build up to kuttan about how he needs to get up early and how exciting its going to be. Glared at hubby when he asked me, 'You mean for yourself, dont you?'. Bullied the couple of them into bed by 9 in the night despite loud protests from hubby coz I did'nt want to wake up late the next day morning. Spent half the night trying to sleep becoz I was too excited to sleep.

The next day morning dawned, all sunny and crisp. I love mornings like that, you know, all cold and bright. We headed off quite early to the ground where the meeting was supposed to be held. According to the letter, we were supposed to 'go to the ground, hand over the children to the staff and hide ourselves in the stand. Oh, and clap loudly in case we wanted to have a good time.

So anyways, there was us and all the other parents (read bakras and bakris who got dragged out of their beds on a saturday morning) and all the kids got whisked off to a makeshift shed. Kuttan kept peeping from under the shed and making sure we were'nt going anywhere. Some kids clung to their parents and refused to go into the shed. Some went into the shed and cried so hard that the caretakers came and took their parents too.

I sat there half proud and half hoping he would cry so that I could go and be with him too. Finally the MC arrived and the function started. The first event was going to be 'Rabbit race'. A ripple of laughter went through the crowd and everyone waited expectantly.

The MC said 'And the participants are, Arjun Mehra, Angel, kuttan and kiddo4' whose name I dont remember. My heart stopped. What does Rabbit race mean, I asked hubby desperately. Because if it means hopping to the finish line like a bunny its very difficult and kuttan will come last. In the meantime, they called for one parent to come and stand in the finish line so that the child will get inspired to come running fast towards us.

As usual, the shy person that I am, I nudged hubby forward. And there came my baby among a round of cheers and applause, looking so small and vulnerable in that big ground that it almost broke my heart, trying desperately to locate us among the sea of faces.

The crowd waited expectantly to find out what 'Rabbit race' was. I prayed. The whistle blew. And....nothing happened. 1 kid never got off the start line and stayed there crying. The other 3 ran in slow motion, all the while searching for their parents without realising that they are standing right there in the finish line.

I am very proud to say, that of the 3 who ran, kuttan came in second. I did a mental victory jig. Kuttan and hubby came back and I whispered to hubby, 'he came in second, you know'. Hubby looked at me as though I had said something in extremely bad taste..I mean these are all 2 and 3 year olds and who is even looking who came first. And then he leaned over and whispered to me, 'He almost made it to the first. A photo finish.'

Ah!! The parenting pride bug really does not spare anyone does it?

We went home a triumphant lot. Kuttan with his first certificate and a brainvita game that he broke in 10 minutes and Hubby and I with our memories. What a perfect day it was!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Leavin' on a jet plane

Except that it is not some guy leaving his lady love. And not on a jet plane either, but on a bus. Amma is returning back to Coimbatore after a short, unexpected visit for a week which was brought on due to Asha's sudden disappearance.

And I know that she needs to go coz appa is sitting there all alone and she has a lot of stuff that she just dropped to come to Bangalore for our help. But I cant help feeling all sad and bereft and lonely about it. In fact, I have always been a home bird. Happiest when I am at home with my nose buried in some book. And I always felt at peace with the word when appa came back from work and all 3 of us were just hanging around the house.

My earliest memories of school are when I was around 5-6 years old. I was studying in a school in Tiruchi. Every morning was a BIG ordeal and appa had to literally peel me away from amma's arms and drive me to school on his trusted green Chetak scooter. And always had to stop at a certain 'Aradhana stores' for bribing me with a wooden scale and a pencil every single day. Why a scale everyday, and a wooden one at that, you might ask. No reason except that I was ridiculously fond of them and appa was a sucker for my tears...still is.

'Don't go', I used to cry clutching at appa's hands as he dropped me off.

Since I did'nt turn into an axe murderer with a wooden scale or anything despite such overindulgence, it figures that I had at one other very firm and strict parent. Mom was never moved by such drama and I always knew I could'nt go too far with her.

Anyway, I digress. I was talking about how I was a home bird. Amma used to come to pick me up from the school in the evenings. And she was never, ever late a single day all her life. In fact, she used to come quite early, while my last period was still going on. And I could look out the classroom and see her standing there. I used to sit in the last bench and hang my head out the door for most of the last period making sure she would'nt leave me and go anywhere.

Fast forward a decade and a half. Me in college. Appa does not have to bribe me with wooden scales to go to college anymore, but its still close. But being all grown up and all, I can calculate exactly how many days I need in the semester not to have attention deficit and make sure I go exactly those many days. And on the days I do go, I expect her to come right upto the gate to wave goodbye. And she'd better be around to open the gate when I get back. I remember throwing mega fits just bcoz in all those years, she probably missed for, like 2 days or so because she was on the phone.(I am not proud of my confessions, but I am determined to get it all out.)

Fast forward another decade or so. I am standing near my hubby in Bangalore and waving my parents goodbye as they go back after helping us setting up our house in Bangalore. Amma is crying and appa looks pretty close to tears himself. I am newly married, excited about starting my life with Hubby, the love of my life for the last 5 years. The whole world looks bright and full of possibilites. 'Leave early so that you can reach by afternoon', I nonchalantly tell them. They drive away, amma sobbing all the way.

Fast forward another 6 months. I have just joined my first job and am clueless but how to run a home and manage a job. Amma stays for a fortnight and gets ready to go. 'Don't go', I cry clutching her hand in the railway station. It was so convenient to have her around. I didnt have to worry about food or the house or anything. She would just take care of all my worries.

Fast forward another 5 years. Today. I have a toddler, a full-time job, a husband and a house and 2 maids to manage. I am still clueless. 'Don't go!' I want to cry clutching her hands like I was 3 years old.

Not only because its convenient to have her around, but because there is no one else I can talk to the way I talk to her. No one else I enjoy shopping so much with. No one else I can share my smallest achievements and my biggest dreams with. No one else who senses my deepest disappointments, even before I sense them myself.

Dont go, I want to cry. But I know she'd better. Because I will become one lazy bum otherwise and because appa really needs her there. Go now..but come back real soon. End of december, maybe?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

And Life Goes On....

Thanks Aargee and Poppins for your support and wishes....And yes, I have good news. She is back...for now.

But now I find myself quite short changed. I have agreed to a lot of her demands and have increased her pay for the third time in the last 6 months. Ah well, as they say, this too shall pass.

In the meantime, I see a strange behaviour change in kuttan. I went back to work when he was 22 months old and its been exactly a year since then. In all this time, he has never ever cried when I left for work and used to look quite content to be left with his nanny.

Sometimes, if he was busy playing with Asha and I tried to interrupt, he'd kick me out of the house saying..nee officekku po(You go to office.) If either of our parents were visiting, he'd give both of us such a cold shoulder that we'd freeze over. And he has stayed with my mom in Coimbatore on many occasions without bothering himself too much over me or hubby.

During times when it was just the 3 of us, he has always attached himself to hubby and left me alone. He has always cried more when hubby left the house to go out and when he did'nt come back early.

So many people have commented on how lucky I am, and how clingy some kids are and how they never let their moms go anywhere, that providence seems to have heard it and decided to balance the scales...against me.

Ever since we have come back from the vacation, I find kuttan clinging to me all the time. Even when amma came last week, he seems quite incapable of settling with her and keeps asking for me, I am told. I call home yesterday and he picks up the phone and begs me to come home 'fast a'.

Now I find all this rather disconcerting. It was easy for me to pretend that I liked my life and my job when kuttan seemed quite happy without me. But to have to wrench myself every morning from his clutching hands...that is more than what I am capable of. I hope this is a phase he is going through because of all the time we spent together during the vacation and I hope this passes soon.

But deep, down inside, I like it. For the first time, my son is showing me he needs me and I like the feeling. Though I hate not being able to fulfill the need to the fullest. Earlier when my friends used to tell me how lucky I am that my son is not clingy and how horribly clingy their own kids are bla bla, I used to exclaim with horror and cluck my tongue in sympathy in all the appropriate places. But deep down I used to feel..'why is'nt kuttan missing me as much? Am I doing something wrong?'

Are'nt women the most perverse creatures ever??

On a less emotional note, I know I have been really lazy about blogging the last few weeks and promise to be more disciplined in the future. Watch this space for more regular blogs.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I am back (sigh)!!

I am back!!( hoo)

Instead of the drum rolls and the roaring applause, all I am left with is abject misery!! Why oh why, I hear you asking...was the trip not nice? The trip was terrific. Everything I hoped for and more. Someday I will get out of my deep depression to write about it. However, the events that followed were so calamitous (did I get the spelling right? It's my new word!) in nature that it just sort of overshadowed the whole trip.

What happened, I hear you asking with great concern. We came back on a Sunday morning, all tired but exhilarated from the trip and raring to go after a day of rest. And the I began my vigil for her. She'll be in at 8, I tell myself. No? 9 then. 9 and no sign of her. I start fidgeting.

10 and I start running around the house muttering to myself. There is this window which looks out into the road and I hang on the window bars hoping to catch a glimpse of that much loved figure walking towards our apartment. 1 in the afternoon and I am beside myself with worry and anguish.

Hubby meekly approaches and tries to pacify. 'Dont worry baby, she'll come...', he says. 'What if she does'nt?' I ask heatedly...he has no answers. He retreats. By now I think most of you women, mothers especially would have guessed who I was so eagerly anticipating.

It was my son's caretaker and my most undependable(Is that even a word?) household help-Asha, who, nevertheless has been with us for over a year now and who kuttan has come to love and regard as a part of the family. Now unless she came in there was a very slim chance that both Hubby and I could go out for work the next day. And sure enough, my worst nightmare came true.

Five days later, still no sign of Asha except for a brief interlude where she came to tell me she is quitting and had me almost falling on my knees and begging for mercy and rashly promising to hike her pay yet again..(very soon she will be making as much as me and it won't be necessary or make sense for me to go to work. Yay!!). She agreed on the condition that she would go back home and return only on Sunday.

So here I am, awaiting Sunday with a mixture of anticipation and dread. Will she, won't she? EGADS..what if she does'nt? I am hyperventilating at the very thought. Whoever reads this, spare a little time in your prayers for me, will you? I am too psyched to do anything except wait for Sunday. Will let you know what happened then. In the meantime, please pray!!