- Somewhere immediately after the first birthday, there’s a cruel switch which gets flipped to turn your adorable moppet into a cranky, howling little bundle of fuss. It makes you wonder whether it’s the same pliant imp from exactly a week ago.
- Immediately after said switch toggle, said moppets can also morph into little baby vampires – biting every inch of exposed skin they see, especially when they feel a surge of happiness or love. And they make no bones about loving it and persisting with it, till your thin, wasted forearms are covered with little puncture marks. Dracula ki Mohabbat? Yep. (Another one of Andaz Apna Apna’s subversive gems, if you will. It’s right up there with – “Tum to bade woh ho… Woh?!!! Woh main hoon.”)
- It is supremely cute, and ironic in the same breath – that the only ‘children’s song’ worth your kid’s time even today might be ‘Lakdi ki kaati’ from Masoom. Which was 30 years ago. Gulzaar sahab’s stream of consciousness stuff starts to eat away at your soul however – when kiddo wants to watch the damn thing 26 hours a day. Eyes glazed from the over-cuteness – you start noticing Urmila’s over-acting tendencies surface even back then, all the while fomenting a special type of hatred for this song. Breathing can get difficult. (Also, add one more to my list of bouncer Gulzar songs – given that most of his stuff can be ‘out of syllabus’ for me. This is no exception…)
- Remember how cute meal times were? When they wanted to play with their food, and you found it incredibly cherubic? Not so fast, not so fast. With time, baby wants to play with YOUR food, and how. No plate left behind. Also, the amount of stuff smeared on to YOUR clothes is now exponentially larger, causing your monthly detergent budget to overrun on 'Name-Any-Mumbai-Infrastructure-
- Communication is not a one way street now. There’s a lot more call-response kinda fun to be had. The biggest relief? Is when your father-of-man can begin to tell you exactly what’s needed to be done, and also, what has been done. Something as simple as pointing out water or food when needed, is comparable to the relief you feel when you get to watch 15 minutes of uninterrupted TV after attaining parenthood. Makes 50% of the job easier, when contrasted to the below Standard Operating Procedure in response to assorted caterwauling.
b. Offer food
c. Offer milk
d. Pinch stomach to check for gas or colic
e. Check diaper for ‘treasure deposits’
- While we are on communication - beware of cuss words. Baby vampires are also proper popats, with uncontrollable propensities to greet istri-waalas with ‘Chu***a’ or ‘Pakau’ – depending on your last references to said party. (Especially when they charge you 4 bucks per item and insist on giving you three different crease marks per trouser in return. Classic third world problem by way of first world. I know. But still.)
- Behold the hinterlands of youtube – where the sheer amount of bad acid trips that pass for nursery rhyme videos are scarier than running out of diapers at . For example – this. Which births troubling questions like
b. Why is another fine gentleman doing the bhangra only during “Tak bak, Tak bak”?
c. Why is that damn dog so happy?
d. Is that a barber, or is that a French chef?
- Toys are meant to be tossed aside across the room. Just like every curtain needs to be swung from, and every door to every cupboard needs to be opened exactly like Amitabh in Zanjeer, kicking the devil out of every piece of furniture.
- You begin to start to lose it – just a little. Especially when baby decides to give you a chamaat (Pro tip - they hurt) whenever they feel like it, especially in front of an audience. Takes superhuman self-awareness and true mastery over your reptilian brain, to avoid hitting back.
- It takes a herculean effort as a couple to have a square meal together. So much so, that you will gladly watch even ‘2 States’ - if it means going out on a movie date. You learn to be very very non-picky about these things...
- Running behind a runny nose in human form, with kerchief in hand slowly becomes part of your muscle memory.
- If you ever wanted to know what an eel farmer goes through, take a ride with a 15 month old on your lap in the backseat of a car. It is emotionally, physically and spiritually draining. The knockout blow when you are already on your knees, begging for mercy from the Heavens above? You have to blast ‘Lakdi ki kaati’ there too, to broker peace.
- Baby going off to sleep on your shoulder = bliss. Especially when you both are exhausted from generally monkeying around the whole day. Baby suddenly goes quiet, rubs eyes, seeks you out, hops on board and finds a comfortable nook on your shoulder. Some squirming and pinching of your arms later, there’s some regulated breathing. For both of you. A you, who will sit there – irrespective of the red-hot pins and needles slowly clawing through your arm – as the afternoon sun wafts through the drawn curtains. Just to keep listening to the rhythm of baby’s breath, the rhythm of your own happiness. Indeed.
posted by Tapan at 10:10 PM