Being a parent is one of the best if not the best feeling in this world and I am sure a lot of you would be nodding your heads right now. For others who are basking in their bachelorhood days or the honeymoon phase, enjoy it to the fullest before you get ready for another adventure. Before you start speculating, let me clear the air. This piece is not going to be a comparison of these phases of life. It is not a debate as to whether one should marry or not, have kids early or travel the world before you decide to. Anyways, I hope you won’t be making such important life decisions after reading my blog.
This is a reflection of some of my magical experiences of being a brand new father. Very recently, the first love of my life gave birth to my second love. I had not really put much thought into what it takes to be a father. I knew I could never be fully ready, but I thought I would do just fine. (Well the verdict is not out on that yet, by the way). But the feeling had not really sunk in. I was ecstatic of course, but I didn’t know what to expect. But when it happened, something inside me changed. When the nurse placed Maya in my arms for the first time and I looked at her as she was trying to open her eyes to look at the world, I knew I was ready.
I had never held a baby before. Well, maybe once or twice but not for more than a few minutes. But holding her came naturally. Putting her to sleep was challenging but a lot of fun. Losing sleep in the middle of the night was not annoying. And despite having little sleep, my wife and I always looked forward to being woken up by her early in the morning. That is because the moment she opens her eyes and looks at us, she will give us such a big smile that will brighten the entire day for us.
And oh… how can I forget? Diapers! That’s the good stuff. We can get into beat the clock challenges on changing diapers now. And our little one is mighty naughty. Here is something that will happen very frequently. I will see the yellow line turn blue on her diaper. Aha…. She has peed. So I will decide to change her diaper. She will wait for me to open and remove the diaper and then will spray me just in time before I put on a new one, thus wetting everything in the process. What a smart ass! Literally! And then she will give me her happy beaming smile. Mission accomplished for her, I guess.
We all had so many lovely little incidents with our cute prankster and there is never a dull moment with her. Here is another incident from one fun evening where I was alone with her. Normally we spend some quality time and have a lot of fun together. This was one of those days when she decided to play Miss Crank Pot. Here is the outline of my plan for the evening. My wife had just fed her before going out. That would mean it would normally take at least an hour (normally two) for her to get hungry again. I thought I would play with her for a while and then put her to sleep. And if she got hungry, I thought I would feed her a bottle. I know a lot of people grinning. You are right. When have our plans ever worked? Especially when we have such a strong veto authority around!
As soon as I put her on the bed, she started shifting uncomfortably. A gentle moan soon turned into a moderate wail. I turned on the swinging toy hanging above. A lion, sheep, duck and bear followed each other happily in a merry-go-round. Miss Maya was not impressed. The wail persisted and slowly started turning into a full blown cry. Not to worry. I got this. Or so I thought. It was time for Plan B. I decided to try and put her to sleep. I took her in my arms and put her over my shoulder. The scream stopped. I started pacing around the room. After 10 minutes I decide to check if she has fallen asleep. Nope. She was quietly staring at me. What else have you got? I decide to throw a lullaby into the mix. Now you must consider the fact that I am person who hesitates to even sing in the bathroom to put the situation in perspective.
She seems to give me a chance for a while as she patiently listens to a song. She doesn’t cry but she is more awake now. I refrain from testing her patience any further. Twenty minutes gone. My shoulder starts to hurt a little. I decide to put her down and see if she wants to play. The minute I put her on the bed, she starts yelling and screaming with full intensity. Okay, I still got this. May be she is hungry. But she just drank her milk half an hour ago. Not the time to be rational. So I try to feed her. She kicks and shrieks but still manages to drink half the bottle. She doesn’t want to drink any more. But she is still crying. I again put her on my shoulder and the yelling stops again. I like the sentiment that she loves her daddy very much. But try explaining that to my shoulder.
I decide to walk around again with her in my arms. I swing her, rock her and try all my tricks to see if she will sleep again. Another 15 minutes go by. Her eyelids start batting and she seems to be ready to fall asleep when my phone vibrates. Damn! She is wide awake again. The clock is set back to zero. I decide to give it one more go and start pacing again. Another 20 minutes go by and my shoulder is hurting real bad. And madam is still looking around and trying to memorize the layout of her house. Now I start talking to her. I tell her how much I love her, call her all the sweet names and explain to her that I have tried all the options and that she should consider her father’s plight and go to sleep. I hear many of you go: “Yeah right: As if she is going to understand a single word!” I agree but the craziest things happen. The big lady she is, Maya listened very patiently and exactly when I finished, she said: “huuuu”. That is a yes in her language I assume. That is because she went to sleep in the next 5 minutes.
I cuddled and caressed her a little more and when she seemed to be in deep sleep, I put her on the bed. Then something changed and I wanted more of her. So I took her out of the bed, sat down and put her in my arms so that I can watch her sleep. As I looked at her sleeping blissfully in my arms, I noticed the corners of her lips held together oh so slightly. And as time passed by, the invisible glue slowly gave in and the lips started to part slowly as if she is smiling at you gently. I was so tempted to plant a kiss on her blood rose cheek but I dreaded waking her up. I mulled on it for a while and in the end, greed took over and I kissed her with trepidation. She stirred as I trembled in anxiety. And then she gave me an even bigger smile with her eyes closed. My heart skipped a beat. She then turned around as if she wanted me to kiss her on the other cheek. What a sweet little bonus! And then she slept like a doll for the next two hours.
I will stop for now before I go rambling on into eternity. I am sure I will have a tale to tell every day. All these memories will be transfixed in my heart drive, ready to be flashed back into my mind and played back through the lens of my eyes. I am pretty sure I will be pressing the rewind button a lot.