Kuttan was one of th sunniest and most cheerful babies I ever knew. Not that I knew many but considering the mountains of baby literature I had read and the folklore I had heard from everyone from amma to my neighbour's maid about sleepless nights and crying babies, when the real thing happened, I found the going surprisingly easy.
One of my closest friends tell me I am the most optimistic persons she knows. She is 2 years younger than me and when she finally became pregnant, she came to yours truly for advice. How difficult is it, she asked me, a veteran who had a year old baby by then. Oh, no problem, I told her airily. Do anything you want to. Morning sickness? I had none. Tiredness? Drowsiness? The kind of lethargy that was usually a part of the first trimester? No, no and no again. The only time I puked was when I stuffed my face with a greasy chocolate cake from a bakery with questionable hygiene. Yes, yes, I was pregnant and still went around eating from places like these quite happily. You can do it too, I told her for good measure. Just as well that she wisely chose to ignore my advice.
The delivery? Was a c-sec. The easiest c-sec ever. I did not have a moment of labor. I went in and came out with a baby and that was the end of that. When the baby finally arrived, he was so quiet on the first day at the hospital that the nurses actually crowded around his crib to see this 'baby whi never cried'. I and amma as usual worried about it and begged and pleaded with his paed to check if everything was ok with him. The doctor told us in utter exasperation that we were two women who could'nt recognise a good thing when we saw it and he was surprised that such a happy baby had come out of me!! Anyway, all that changed on day 2 when kuttan decided to give us what we asked for and let out wails that were enough to wake the dead. All night long.
But apart from doing stuff that babies must ABSOLUTELY DO, like crying and peeing and pooping the MINUTE I sit down to eat, I have had it remarkably easy all this time. He started sleeping through the night by the time he was 6 months old and I have never had a chance to fret whether I will EVER get a full night of sleep. I have'nt had trouble weaning him or toilet training him. He has always been an extremely happy baby, at peace with himself and the world.
Obviously when things are so perfect that I am beginning to think I am all set for the next one, God thinks to Himself, oh no, not that fast. And sure enough, hubby and I have been seeing some remarkable changes in his personality over the last few weeks. And they are not changes I am happy with.
I have been observing an increasing amount of aggression in kuttan. Something which was also observed by his teacher and the neighbour's maid. Every play session ends up in a fight with the other kids with amma and appa having to act as referees. Whereas earlier he would cheerfully go along with the other kids and share his toys, these days he creates a ruckus. Where earlier he would charm the trees off the birds with his smile and sunny disposition, I see him talking back to people and not very politely either.
I see a streak of unruliness in him that was not ther before. And I am worried. I know that this could just be a phase where he is trying to assert his personality and eventually he will be ok again but I miss my baby. As usual, the spectre of working mom guilt rears its ugly head again and I talk it out with the husband till he claims his ears are ready to fall off. 'Maybe I should quit my job', I tell him. As my friend says, that's my solution to everything from the Iraq war to my domestic help's failed marriage. But I do not even know how much that will help. I do get back home by 5.30 and in the software industry that is a miracle by itself. And after that, I spend every minute with kuttan, taking him to the park, playing with him and the other kids, helping him with his homework. How much more will I be able to do as a Stay-at-home mom?
We have never enforced a very strict routine on Kuttan because he just kind of fell into our routine quite easily, without much effort. But I think it's time we instilled some discipline on him in terms of listening to what we say instead of asking us a thousand questions as to why he needs to do something and arguing with us.
A part of me knows what is happening. My baby is growing into a little boy. A spirited, intelligent boy who needs to do something because he BELIEVES in it rather than because amma asked him to. A discerning boy who will fight with his friend if he does not get his turn with the bat instead of allowing his friend to take all the turns himself. A boy who rebels against his mother as she asks him to do one more page of homework before going out to play. I guess I should be happy. But wait a minute....did I tell you he is only three and a half years old? Did the teens come a wee bit early for my son?