As usual I had gone three songs over, putting you to sleep. I knew the exact moment you feel asleep. Your breath had softened and you felt like a feather. And as is the case every single day, I didn’t want to let you go. Not just yet. I decided to entertain you a little more with my melodious voice. I hope your dream was punctuated by a violin symphony. Okay… that is taking it a little too far. Anyways, finally after I had exhausted my list of songs, I reluctantly put you to bed.
Surprise, surprise! You got right back up and extended your arms towards me. Perhaps the bed wasn’t as warm as my shoulder. Instantly I took you back in my arms and started rocking you again, all the while trying to figure out a new song. Damn… I got to add more to my arsenal. Anyways…. I improvised and resorted to humming. You were asleep in a jiffy. I wish you could just sleep in my shoulder all night. I wish to be a kangaroo in my next life. I rocked you some more and then gently transferred you to the crib and immediately covered you with a blanket. You cooed, turned around and continued your sleep.
For a few minutes I was standing there just watching you sleep. It is my little ritual every day. It was a full moon that night. I hadn’t closed the window blinds. The moonlight was piercing the window and was falling on the crib, lighting you up with a shimmer on one side. It was magical. You were snoozing coyly in the gentle moonlight. I wanted to take a picture. A car passed by on the street shining its headlight into your eyes. You turned and covered your face with your right hand. I went and closed the blinds. A moment went un-captured. Well… actually, not really!
I continued to stand there and watch you. You were deep into your sleep. And I, deep in my thoughts! I had had a tiring day at work and had left office thinking I will come home and take a short nap. When I walked into the house, you were there waiting for me as you gave me your cute four teethed smile. You looked at me with your eager eyes and signaled outside. I went and got my tea. You wanted a sip. You copied my sounds as I enjoyed my tea. And then again… you signaled outside. How in the world, will I say no!
Off we went… I took you to your favorite hangout after hitting a few familiar pit stops. You watched your favorite cars zoom by and I watched your eyes light up in excitement. Every time a car went by, you said: “Caaaaa”. Then all of a sudden two cars swept past us at the same time. I looked at you curiously. You thought a little and remained silent. It happened again. Two more cars went by. I looked at you and you said with an innocent smile and feverish enthusiasm: “Caa Caaaaaaa”. I just burst into laughter. You looked at me strangely for a minute and then joined in on the fun. We watched a lot more cars, waved to a few of them and then decided to walk back. By the way, I did notice that you gave special attention to the Audis. Not happening, my girl. Not happening!
We came back inside. I remembered the short nap that I had come home longing for. At that very moment you gave a shout out to me with a ball in hand. I came running to you and we started playing again. You patiently and diligently removed every little toy from your toy basket, dedicated exactly 20 seconds to each toy and then tossed it away. A few minutes later, the basket was empty. You looked at me. I took one toy and put it inside the basket. You followed my lead and started putting them back. I was impressed with myself. You restored all the toys and gave me a curious glance. I realized that my self-praise was short lived. You looked at your work of art, the neatly arranged toy basket. You must have thought: “Something is seriously wrong here.” So you went through the routine again, removing every single toy and spreading them all around the living room.
I looked at the carnage and then gave you a serious glare. You had moved on to other exciting things as you hurled a ball at me with all your might. I picked it up and threw it back at you. You caught it with a splendid dive. You then tried again to throw it back to me. Alas, this time it went back over your head and under the sofa. You tried reaching under the sofa to fetch the ball. It was too far inside. You looked at me and pointing towards the sofa, you shouted: “Baaaaa….”. I tried to reach down under the sofa to get the “baaa….”. It was beyond my reach as well. I brought a stick and nudged at it. It came out at the far end. I went to the other side and came back with the ball, victory smile smeared all over my face, as I offered you the ball.
You looked at it for a moment. Wonder what went on in your head! But you threw the ball away and again pointed under the sofa: “Baaaaaaaaa….”. You must have thought: “Daddy didn’t get the ball from under the sofa. He brought this from elsewhere. He is trying to trick me.” Now I was having the dilemma of my life. How the hell am I going to convince you that this is the same “baaaaaa….”. I remembered Goundamani and Senthil and their famous Banana comedy (Only South Indian movie buffs will get this reference, but you get the point anyways).
I came up with an idea. I slid the ball under the sofa. And then I reached for it and grabbed it and offered you the newly found old ball. You looked at it, seemingly convinced. You were about to start playing with it before curiosity got the better of you. You looked at me, mischief imprinted on her face. Not so fast daddy. You tossed the ball aside and then angrily motioned to the sofa: “Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..”. I was running out of ideas. I tried in vain for another ten or fifteen minutes, several new ideas and techniques to convince you that your “baaaa…” was indeed not lost. But nothing worked. Finally you gave up on your incompetent daddy and got distracted with some song that was playing on TV. I thanked my stars as I collapsed on that damn sofa.
That got your attention. You rushed towards the sofa and tried to climb on it. I gave you a hand. You pushed it away and after a few valiant attempts finally made it up. Then you oh so sweetly started patting me on my back trying to put me to sleep. That got me going again. I grabbed you an off we went to play again. We ran inside the house, paying a short visit to each room, exploring every little artifact of interest as your mom also gave us company trying to accomplish the herculean task of feeding you. An hour later, there were two tired souls and an adrenalin baby in the house. You were in no mood to sleep but we decided it was time for you to!
I looked at the clock. Three hours just flew by. I thought of the short nap I had wanted to take. Now here I was watching you sleep blissfully. I wondered what all I would have missed if I had actually taken that nap. I laughed to myself. I realized that even if I don’t have a single ounce of energy left in my body, the moment you come running into my arms, I forget every pain, worry or trouble and become a child once again. You have given me my second childhood and I will remember this one more than the first!