Tuesday, August 26, 2008


...not of the blog break kind, even though it may seem like that with the yawning lapses of time between posts. No. This post is about Ayaan's musical journey...

Like most kids, Ayaan has always had an affinity for music. I have been playing him CDs of lullabies and nursery rhymes almost from the very moment he popped out of my womb. And once he was able to point and demand, he asked for it when I forgot.

Given that I am something of a bathroom singer myself, the poor child has also been subjected to endless renditions of various lullabies and such like in what I like to think is my mellifluous voice. It started with me choosing what I wanted to sing to him to help him drift off into slumberland but in recent times, the child has turned picky and I have to take requests. The current hot favourite is Little Bo Peep, but I do get the odd request for Dard-e-Disco and such like…

Music also works best when he hurts himself or is generally upset about something. Our special song for such situations is the Hush Little Baby song. It has an almost-magical calming effect on him. That makes this song our equivalent of kissing away the booboos.

The new development in the last couple of months has been that he has gone from being largely a passive listener of music to actively memorising and singing songs by himself. And this has led to some pretty cute incidents that I want to record for posterity…

To start with, we now have a new addition to our bedtime ritual. I am no longer the solo performer of the goodnight songs. He has to sing a song to me as well. Most nights, I get the cutest ever version of Baa Baa Black Sheep though sometimes he decides to go vernacular and recite his favourite Hindi poem about a fish.

The other new ritual is his demand for the favourite song of the moment to be played during the five minute drive to drop him to school. For the last month or so, this has been the Aditees song, better known as Kabhi Kabhi Aditi Zindagi. I am not allowed to put the car into gear unless this song has started playing and depending on the traffic situation, we sometimes have to go through it two to three times till we are at the school. He has a fair idea of the tune and the words but won’t sing along by himself – so we both sing it together. And the other day, I also noticed that he was patting his knee in time with the rhythm of the song – wonder where he picked that up from?!

He has also been singing random snatches of songs taught at school. Mostly these are recognisable nursery rhymes that we have been hearing at home in any case. But a couple of weeks ago, he actually learnt the complete lyrics to an entirely new song about the monsoon and monsoon creatures and came home to sing it to me. It goes like this:

Baarish jab bhi aati hain to froggie aata hain
Hop hop hop hop hop hop karke ghoomta rahta hain
Mitti se nikal kar earthworm aata hain
Snail bhi dheerey dheerey chalta rehta hain
Cham cham baarish aati hain, hum bheeg jaate hain
Aao bachchon ham sab milke bhutta khate hain

And this is usually performed with the froggie soft toy being made to hop around in keeping with the spirit of the song. :-)

And now for what I thought was the cutest episode in recent times. This happened when I was lying in bed reading a book and he was sitting next to me and playing with two soft toys, both frogs.

I looked up from my book when I thought he was saying something to me only to realise he was in deep conversation with the frogs. The monologue went something like this:

"Froggies, please stand up for the national anthem."

He then propped up the frogs against a cushion. However, one of the unfortunate frogs is created in a permanently sitting position so he refused to stay propped up. Ayaan looked at him sternly and repeated loudly:

"I said please stand for the national anthem."

A couple of more efforts to make the poor frog stand followed, after which he irritably said:

"You not standing? OK then, you sit down!"

And turned his attention to the good frog, who had followed his instructions. He then proceeded to sing a completely mangled version of the national anthem, which only an adoring mother could have recgnised as such. Once done, he commanded his audience:

"OK. You sit now."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Antics of a Supposedly Sick Boy

So Ayaan has been quite unwell for the last five days. It started with a bone-rattling cough and has bloomed into fever that won’t go away. The dreaded antibiotics have finally been called into action and we might have to get an x-ray done if he doesn’t respond to these in the next two days.

But looking at him, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that you were in the presence of a boy in the very pinkest of health. Sure, there have been cranky patches when the fever spikes and ultra-clingy behaviour even when it doesn’t but overall, the young man has been in one of his most bouncy, naughty moods in recent history. Some examples from the last couple of days:

  • Decided that the chair at the computer table belonged to him. And everytime he even remotely suspected that I was headed towards it, he would let out a giggly shriek and run to claim it for his own. And then insist that I sit in his lap! It's no surprise that I didn't get much work done. Gingerly perched with only a quarter of one's weight being supported (to avoid squashing the silly fellow with delusions of grandeur) doesn't lend itself to typing...
  • A good fifteen minutes were spent wrapping my dupatta around himself. And then wrapping it around me.
  • Playing with Play Doh the good, old-fashioned way is clearly for losers so it was applied to the walls.
  • Leapt off the weighing scales at the doctor's office and landed on his bum. Quite hard. Got up cheerfully, rubbed said bum cheerily and set off to find something else to do.
  • Also at the doctor's office, tried to get all the sad, sniffly kids to play with him and got mighty upset when they didn't.
  • Insisted on giving me a haircut with his nail-cutter.
  • Blew bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles. And when some bubble-liquid was spilt, insisted on wiping it up himself.
  • Ran to the front door shrieking everytime the doorbell rang, lest someone dare get there before him and open the door instead.
  • Chased every sodden crow that sought shelter from the incessant rain on one of our balconies with the mighty whoop.
  • Climbed up onto the pot in the loo (lid down obviously) and instructed me on how to brush my teeth.

And that's not even including the non-stop chatter and barrage of questions that I have been inundated with all day long, including the colour, name and reason of each of the medicines he has had!

Seriously, this boy needs a lesson on how to be sick...

Monday, August 04, 2008

The First Night

Nihkil learns an important lesson in infant care on his first night home with the baby...

There is so much talk and folklore around a couple’s first night that even young children in India have a fair idea about what ‘Suhaag Raat’ means. But the ‘Suhaag Raat’ concept is quite overhyped. In fact a survey on a new game show, brought out some interesting results – 55% of newly married couples do nothing but crash out on their first night together. So if you are looking for action, it isn’t happening here. For that, you need to wait for the first night you spend with your new born, as a couple. Now that is an occasion which has a heavy dose of action, emotion, conflict, drama, humor and lots or more!

I had heard about this ‘first night’ phenomenon from lots of friends, who had recently become parents. They almost made the infant out to be a sadist, whose only objective in life was to deprive you of sleep. I thought it was quite an exaggeration – after all, how much chaos could a newly born baby really cause? Clearly nothing that could not be tackled by a nice long feeding session. But predictions about baby behavior and their next move are as good as putting your finger on the map and guessing the location of the next big oil reserve!

10: 30 pm

Things are going well for us. We have fed her, cleaned her and rocked her to sleep.

10:45 pm

I am in the loo changing my clothes and have one leg in my Pyjamas, when I hear that dreaded little wail. Before I can finish wearing my clothes, the wail becomes a shrill, high pitched, all out war cry! As I come out of the loo, I find my wife looking mildly irritated.

Pallavi“We just put her to sleep. I don’t know why she is wailing again.”

Me – Knowledgably. “This is her hungry wail. I know it. Feed her.”

Suhana refuses to be fed.

Me“Don’t give me that look Pallavi. Even I am just learning about her. She must be wet. Lets change her Nappy.”

Correct move :-)

11:15 pm

We have changed her Nappy and she has gone to sleep.

00: 05 am

That dreaded wail again

Me“What is it now?”

Pallavi feeds her for 10 minutes, which calms her down, but then she begins wailing again. The nappy is checked, but nothing there.

00:20 am

The wailing has not stopped. So I decide to take her around the house for a walk.
The attempt is successful. She slowly dozes off to sleep. But she is fidgety and does not look completely comfortable.

01: 15 am

The wailing begins. This time, though, she goes for the feed and calms down rapidly.

Another nappy is changed. She slowly begins to doze off.

02: 25 am

I am woken up with a deafening noise. Suhana, is on a high pitch trajectory which has just reached its crescendo.

Pallavi“Tried feeding. No response. She is not wet either. I don’t know what to do”

Me“She may be feeling cold. Put a cap on her head”

Pallavi“The temperature is 29 degrees. You are sweating like a pig. She can’t be feeling cold”

Me – Tentatively. “Er… ummm.. then maybe she is feeling hot”

Pallavi - “Thanks wise guy. Why don’t you hold her for a while.”

03:30 am

I am sitting on the bed holding her. My head hurts with all the wailing. My eyes are barely open. Sheer exhaustion is getting the better of me but this tiny infant is going at it like there is no tomorrow.

04:00 am

Suhana is with Pallavi now. She has been fed again but soon after the feeding, she has stared wailing again. I go to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I come back into the room to find Pallavi, intensely looking at Suhana and blabbering something. Fearing that my wife is losing her sanity, I inch closer to figure out what’s happening.

Pallavi“There is no reason to cry like this Suhana. I have not done anything to you”


Pallavi“This is really unfair. If you have a problem, then you should let us know.”

Suhana – With renewed vigor “Waaaah! Waaaaah! Waaaaaah!”

I try to reason with my wife that the baby really can’t understand what she is saying. But, like most new mothers. Pallavi has come to the conclusion that the baby is wailing, because the mother has screwed up in some way.

04: 30 am

She finally goes off to sleep. Pallavi and I collapse out of sheer exhaustion.

05: 15 am

A tiny wail.

Oh God No! No!

This time I pretend that I can’t hear. Pallavi does the same.

05: 18 am

The wailing suddenly stops. And then…. BUUUUUUURPPPPP!!

It is the loudest, most unladylike burp I have ever heard in my life. I can believe this tiny infant is capable of making such a loud, vulgar noise.

05: 20 am

Suhana falls off to sleep.

Pallavi and I have craters under our eyes, due to sleep deprivation. But we are happy.
The First night is over and we somehow survived, with one very important lesson learnt - Always Burp the baby!

Previous posts with Nikhil's insights into new daddyhood: 1, 2, 3