When I decided to spend Ayaan’s March break with my mom in Jaipur, I considered taking my maid. But then I remembered that my mom had retired and the two of us could manage the kids between us. So I told Jai to go ahead and book tickets just for the three of us.
Life was cruising along just fine till a dinner with friends, about a week before I left. When I happened to mention that I was travelling alone with both the kids, I was told that I was being awfully brave to attempt travelling alone with two kids. Now, that got the alarm bells ringing in my head. Because it is a known fact that when your parenting choices are commended as ‘brave’, it is very likely that you are actually doing something monumentally stupid.
So then I proceeded to get tense. Was I being silly? Should I fork out money for a criminally expensive last-minute air ticket so that my maid can come along and help? I thought about it and decided to take my chances. And I am glad I did because none of the stuff I worried about came to pass.
My biggest worry was that Tarana would bawl her head off. Now, this is normally not something that gets me overly anxious, being a second-time mother and all, but there is something especially nerve-wracking about being the sole adult in charge of a screaming infant in a confined, public space, while other unencumbered adults shoot daggers at you with their eyes. But thankfully, all of her crying did not total up to more than ten minutes and never more than a couple of minutes at a stretch. On the way, I carried a bottle of expressed milk and some pacifiers (which she will only deign to suck at in a desultory manner IF you hold it for her), which were popped into her mouth at the first sign of trouble. And she also napped for about twenty minutes, so all was good on that front. On the way back, I didn’t have a bottle handy (not having carried my trusty breast pump), so I managed to nurse her in short bursts since she finds the nursing cover a huge distraction…
The second major worry revolved around Ayaan having one or more of his famous nuclear meltdowns. But he was remarkably well-behaved. On the way to Jaipur, I could give credit to the cartoon channel on Kingfisher but on our return flight, we were on low-budget Indigo and he was totally cool on that as well. The fact that we bought him a special only-for-the-flight sticker activity book helped too.
Other smaller worries like managing the diaper change (I just took Ayaan along and made him go as well so that I didn’t have to make a separate trip) and managing luggage (handed kids off to mom/ Jai waiting outside before collecting it) were barely blips on the radar. Overall, I was mighty proud of the three of us :-)
De-girled…. and Re-girled
I decided to finish of Tarana’s mundan while I was in Jaipur since I wasn’t quite sure when I would be back. Getting it done there is so much easier since there is guy who comes home and does it. With Ayaan, I waited till he was just over a year old and it was a VERY bad decision. He cried loudly and pitifully through the whole procedure and has to be physically restrained by two people while his head was shaved. It wasn’t that he was in any pain – he was just indignant at being held down against his wishes. At five months, Tarana was quite happy to sit peacefully in my lap through most of the procedure (you can actually see her grinning in the picture below)
and then the finishing touches were put as she rested on my mom’s shoulder.
I had another, somwhat less rational, reason for doing it early. And that has to do with the fact that she is a girl. I wanted to get this bald phase out of the way as soon as possible so that I can get on with the prettifying of her head with clips and suchlike. In fact, I actually had second thought about doing it all, given the lovely crop of hair she was born with. But then everyone says that it improves hair growth and I didn’t want to regret not having done it if she grew up to have fine or sparse hair. So anyway, all’s well that ends well. Other than the fact that she has a pretty substantial bald spot at the back of her head. I fussed over this for a bit but collective wisdom says that this is normal given how much time they spend on their backs and that it grows in eventually so I am cool now.
The other transformation we effected was piercing her ears. After asking around, I figured that you could either get them pierced when they were babies and didn’t really feel much pain. Or wait till they were old enough to want it and didn’t mind the pain. I decided to go with the former because like the clips, I was dying to get started with the earrings (Yes, I really am that shallow :p).
We got it done at one of Jaipur’s oldest and most trusted jewellers. My paediatrician suggested that this was a better option than going to a doctor since these guys were more experienced. The earlobes were pierced with a thin gold wire, which was then tied into a kind of knot. It took all of five minutes and she didn’t cry above 30 second per earlobe. The post-piercing care we followed was also recommended by the jewellers – we applied a paste of turmeric (known to be a natural antiseptic) and ghee for 3-4 days and kept rotating the earring so that it didnlt fuse with the healing skin. And that was it. Now for the picture…
The Busy Brat
Keeping Ayaan’s, often destructive, energy under check is no mean task so, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, we decided to keep him super busy. His daily schedule was something like this:
6.30 – Wake up, milk, feeding the birds in the garden, general floating around
7.30 – Daily dose of cartoons for an hour
8.30 – Breakfast
9.00 – Splashing around in his paddling pool for an hour
10.00 Bath time
11.00 Painting and craft class for two hours
2.30 ‘Quiet time’ for an hour – afternoon naps are a rare commodity these days but this is my way of ensuring that he gets some down time and I get a break
4.00 Book reading class
5.00 Hanging out with the kids at the NGO my mom is involved with
6.30 Back home
In spite of this packed schedule, he managed to find the time to drive the dogs crazy, break the birds’ water bowl, write on one entire white window pane with a black marker, have many meltdowns, and other such stuff too numerous to mention. And was protected from the worst of my wrath by his grandmother’s love…
I turned 34 while I was in Jaipur. I wanted nothing better than a chance to sleep in late and generally relax. But the son had other plans. He told my mother that we must have a party with streamers and cake. And since she can’t deny her precious grandson anything, a birthday party was planned and executed by the two of them. Ayaan went to choose the cake personally. He apparently dismissed all the cartoon character cakes because 'those are only for children' and all the chocolate cakes because 'chocolate is unhealthy and Mama does not like unhealthy things' and chose a square-shaped pineapple cake. And made my mom put up streamers and balloons. The invitees were the kids from my mom's NGO who had a complete ball as pin-the-tail and passing-the-parcel was played and I funded a set of new clothes for them all as return gifts. Nice :)
In other news, we had a monkey invasion. Two monkeys entered the living room and started doing battle. Thankfully they decided to take it outside before anyone or anything was harmed but those were some seriously scary five minutes…