Little I’s little finger.

Pointing in any direction is little I’s new thing.
And interpreting it is my new thing.

Here’s what we can do all day.

1. In the garden.

Pointing to the right could mean,

Take me there or
You go there or
Tell me what’s on that side? or
Maybe the birdy went there? or
Don’t give up mum, keep guessing.

Pointing to the left could mean,
Look, I can point this side too or
Repeat everything that was on the right side.

2. Pointing anywhere on the floor scattered with toys could mean,

Get me that blue ball
No that green ball
No maybe this little bag which is right next to my foot
Actually no give me that small piece lying next to the bag
Or wait let me scream as if why-can’t-mum-understand, all I want is that little red cup.

3. On her high chair while having her food.

Pointing anywhere around the kitchen could mean,

I want that spoon
Or that bottle
Or that cup
Or that glass
Or that bottle again
Or maybe that fruit
Ok none of the above. Start again.

4. While having a bath.

Pointing anywhere in the bathroom could mean,

Bring me that soap
Or you come in the tub
Or let’s go out
Or put the bucket in the tub
Or start the tap
Or shut that tap
Or when everything else fails, bring that pot in the tub.

Right now we are pointing at the ceiling. Let’s start.

365 days.

It’s been a year, and I’m still getting used to the fact that now we are parents.
Of course it hasn’t been easy.
But what keeps us going are the little rewards that we receive anytime of the day… or night.

Here’s to those three hundred and sixty five days that little I (for Ira) will never remember and we will never forget.

Even on the toughest day,

I love how simple things like just watching the wooden pegs twirl on the clothes line makes you ecstatic.

I love your new game – covering your face with your blankie and then insisting to look for your toys.

I love how you love to smother just my chin with your wet kisses.

I love it when you fall on me with your arms wide open. Because I know that it means you are hugging me back.

Even on the toughest day,

I love how you hate wearing your little shoes and pull them off because you really don’t understand what to do with them.

I love it when you wake up in the middle of the night and decide to hum.

I love the way you touch everything around you and say ‘bapppppppaaaaa’ (God), even to that broken toy.

I love how you irritate me by putting your finger in my nose.

Even on the toughest day,

I love to watch you chase balloons.

I love that you’re a complete foodie, just like me.

I love to watch you catch your shadow, and fall flat on your face.

I love it when you think that the pot is actually your tub and you can throw everything in it, including your dad’s phone and the remote control.

Even on the toughest day,

I absolutely love to open the freezer just to watch you feel that cold air on your face and hear you giggle.

I love it when you notice me in a crowd and break into your happiest self.

I love how you point your finger in any direction and expect me to take you there.

I love how you fall asleep with your mouth open whenever you’re really tired.

Even on the toughest day,

I love that you have your dad’s eyes and my smile.

And I love your smile when you notice your dad from the kitchen window.

I love how you think everything is a game; throwing things on the floor and us picking them up seems to be your favourite.

I love how the tea spills all over me when I’m trying to get a video of you waddling around the house.

Even on the toughest day,

I can’t get over how you burst into uncontrollable laughter whenever you hear an aachooo or a cough cough.

I love how everything else turns into a teether, except the real teether!

I love how you can spend all day playing peekaboo with the curtains.

I love that sometimes all you need is an old cardboard box to keep you busy.

Even on the toughest day,

I love our long conversations on the porch. Where you talk gibberish and I just understand it all.

what (pregnancy) books never tell.

It’s 3 am.

Okay, 3.07 am to be precise.

The only species you’ll find awake at this time – the insomniac, the party-animal, the traveller.

I’m the fourth kind. A new mother.

As I hum a self-made (hardly a) tune to my three month old, I happen to go back in time.

Four years ago.

The day I got married.

I think since the night I got married, my mother and my sister (another mother (then) with one in hand, one in tummy.) bombarded me with books on pregnancy hoping that I might get pregnant on my very first wedding night.

Why? Well, I was 28 then and according to all Indian elders you must have your first child before you turn 30.

So there I was, packing books (as I was moving country after my marriage) on healthy pregnancy, what to do when pregnant, what to do to get pregnant, what not to do to get pregnant, how to get pregnant, how not to get pregnant – never got this one though, probably the only one I had in mind at that time.

Books in Hindi, books in Marathi, new versions, older versions, hand-written versions, Indian versions, all-in-one versions.

Sometimes when I would walk into a bookstore, I would unknowingly walk into the pregnancy section and look for pregnancy in English – you know, just in case I didn’t enjoy the Hindi and the Marathi ones. And yes, I ended up buying one too.

So, by the end of year one I had enough books to help me deliver a happy baby – in my head.

Did I read them?
Of course I did.

Probably from year two of my marriage.

Not because I was planning on having a baby but because I couldn’t bear them staring at me from the corner of my bookshelf. So, I decided to pick one – the very first Marathi one.

You see, I always felt that I wasn’t really great with babies or even toddlers. I couldn’t baby talk to my nephews for a very long time, I didn’t know what to say to babies after a while, I never found immense happiness in gurgling babies or holding a baby never made me broody.

So, yes of course I read the books but for me it was like reading a book on how to get to Mars. Without knowing how far it was, how long it would take, what it really meant or honestly if I really wanted to go to Mars?

But I read every chapter.

Every page, every footnote.
Made notes.
Re-read.
Made more notes.
And many more footnotes.

I thought I was being clever.

Some days I would even wake up in the middle of the night thinking what if I’m already pregnant? And then I would re-read a few more pages, scribble some more notes.

My friends were getting pregnant and ideally I should have sent them my notes but it never really occurred to me. You see, the whole process was so mechanical in my head. Everything seemed like reading fiction. Even when some of them told me ‘I’m 3 months pregnant’, it was a plain ‘yay’ to them.

Honestly, I didn’t know what ‘I’m pregnant’ really meant.

And then it happened, I got pregnant.

And you would think I would have announced it to my husband with a coy smile and he would have picked me up with joy and showered flowers in slo-mo.
No. That happens only in the movies. Bollywood ones.

One early morning, it was more like a whisper, ‘listen the home pregnancy test shows a plus. Go back to sleep.’
So, at least I knew I was ready to go to Mars. Definitely. But still clueless about what it really meant.

So, I continued reading. This time, all over again.

I watched babies, mothers with babies, the documentary ‘babies’, F.R.I.E.N.D.S with babies.

One could say I had enough information about what to expect when you’re expecting. (Yes, another book, which I bought and the movie, yes, saw this one too!)

But that’s exactly what didn’t happen.

What did happen was the most awesome thing ever.

I didn’t remember a word of what I had read, re-read.

I stopped reading pregnancy magazines because they only made me feel queasy.

I picked random autobiographies.
I read about book thieves.
About new countries.
About people.

Because now something else had started communicating with me.

My body.

All I needed was a mother who could relate to this feeling and help me interpret it and my elder sister and my mother were enough.

And there it was happening.

I was getting inquisitive.

I wanted to know what is it that my body is really trying to tell me.

All I did was interpret my body’s language. One day at a time.

Only now I had begun to truly understand the real meaning of ‘hey I’m pregnant’.

On 01-11-12, the mother in me was born.

Teary eyed, as I held the most precious cliché in my arms, I realised something that no book could have ever told me.

She doesn’t care if you know-it-all or you know nothing. She doesn’t care if you’ve read a dozen books. She doesn’t care if you’re a first mother or third.

Because no matter how much you read or watch, in the end she’s the one who teaches you (in her little ways).

What to do, what not to, how to do it.

All you do is pay attention and interpret her lessons.

It’s like you’re all that your baby needs.

You’re enough.