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March 22, 2010


I yearn for you and in yearning realise
I have never felt anything like this before.
The fear, the love, the passion,
The overwhelming sense I have been waiting for this.

For so long.

I am dying to touch you, to hold you, to smell you, to cuddle you.
Even to have you puke and dribble on me.
I won’t say I am overjoyed at the thought of,
Ballistic baby potty…

But if it means you have good bowel movement,
I will be enthralled at the efficiency of your li’l bowels.
And your little hands, little toes, round little bottom
And the eyes that I so imagine now.

Eyes like mine, eyes like his.

The eyes that I will look into
And behold the wonder at what you see.
To wonder at what you think
And what or who you will grow up to be.

I cannot wait to have our first argument,
When I will know that you are expressing your will
And despite wanting it my way, an old habit
I will revel in the fact that you have your own opinions.

And moan at how stubborn you can be. (I know it)

I am terrified sometimes that you might not be
But then I banish those thoughts as easily as they come
For you have my will and your father’s strength of being
And I believe you shall be and be all that you can be.

You are the epitome of my hopes, my dreams, all the love I can possibly have.

I know there will be times when you will think I am silly
When perhaps I will not be as cool, calm or smart as other moms
But I hope you will see that I am trying for you
And that at times I will seek your help in being all I can be.

For I do believe there will be things you will know better than me.

I am dying to dress you up, to marvel at the beauty I know you are.
To relive everything I could not be, am not.
I know that soon you will not want to wear what I decide
And I hope that perhaps then you will pick out what I should wear instead

And think that I am the prettiest mom you have ever laid eyes on.

I love you. Already. Totally. Irrevocably.
And I desperately hope you will love me.
It’s not fair, I know, to want so much from you.
But I am weak and I have my faults

And I hope that just like your father, you will love me despite my faults…

I hope you will enjoy head massages and give them to me as well
I want to see you swim even if you laugh at how scared I can be in water
I want to see you dive and hold my hand and teach me how.
I want to see you play and teach me new tricks…

And new words, even though I fear they might be slangs.

I am dying to touch you, to hold you, to smell you, to cuddle you.
To have you and be blessed that you are mine.
Ours. To love.

March 19, 2010

Stranger, danger?

One of my earliest random memories is from when I was 9-years-old. I had just won a prize for a dance performance (on Jahan chaar yaar mil jaaye from Sharaabi!) at an army function and was being pretty much adored by everyone around. ‘Everyone’ then included lots of army ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’ and particulary a large number of ‘young’ uncles. Young uncles in the army are unmarried lieutenants and captains who are (or were back then at least) usually treated as the kids at a cantonment.

What I clearly remember is not the dancing or the prize but of some young uncle picking me up in his arms and throwing me in the air while the others cheered and applauded my (excellent) dance moves… and later, of Papa growling at Ma for ‘letting’ that officer pick me up, Ma whining her helplessness and Papa finishing off with, “You don’t let any bastard touch my daughter”. I remember feeling bad for Ma and being confused at Papa’s reaction (didn’t he like my dance?) and yet understanding then (and for the rest of my life) that Papa did not want me picked up or cuddled – even as a 9 year old – by other men, even nice young uncles.

If my vocabulary had included ‘over-reacting’ then, I probably would have used it. (I did use it often for Papa in my teen years). I understood the why of Papa’s fury much later; and now that I am expecting my first child, suddenly, mysteriously and guiltily, ‘over-reacting’ seems such a useless, over-used word. How can you overreact in protecting your child…or can you?

One of the things Partner really had to train me for (or against) when we first came to Melbourne was to NOT go “how c.u.t.e.” over strangers’ babies. I’ve always liked babies and have (or had) not thought twice about walking up to parents with an adorable tot and striking a conversation that usually started with, “Your baby is so cute etc.” Or if at times a child was found wandering by himself/herself – somehow toddlers seem to manage it extremely well despite vigilant parents – holding its hand and asking where its mother was and simply waiting for the parents to turn up.

In Melbourne, it’s not as easy. First couple of months here a similar lonely-child incident had happened. I had promptly walked up to the child and was asking it about its parents when they had come running...The mother was relieved and said thanks but the father – He looked like my father as he stared at me suspiciously. I was so hurt, Partner was understanding but upset (with me). “Baby, you cannot just talk to kids here, you could be arrested.”

I’ve received varied reactions from parents when I’ve smiled at a cute tot or made faces at babies (it’s awesome when they react and smile or laugh). Some parents have smiled back and others have glared at me, with mistrust, some with fear. I don’t think it had anything to do with me being Indian etc. These were protective parents. It hurt me initially and I wailed at Partner, “But I was just being friendly!” “You know I am not a ‘kiddie fiddler’!” And Partner had again patiently explained and I had understood but lamented how innocent people were being viewed through the same lens as the paedophiles.

And yet, can we – can I? – ever know who is innocent and who can harm my child?

It’s considered good mothering here if you let your baby be cuddled by others. ‘Others’ does not mean strangers but say family, friends etc. It is said that it helps children socialise better and lets them get used to other people more. If a mother smothers her child in her bosom (not literally but is over-protective), the child is thought to grow up as an introvert or someone who is not as socially adept. It’s here that I get confused. What if I trust the wrong person?

Papa’s (over) protectiveness did not end with strangers; it extended to everyone, regardless of friend or family status. He did not trust anyone. It protected but it also choked. I had no night outs at friends’ homes because they had older brothers and fathers; didn’t go for school trips or picnics because I’d be alone with boys, didn’t learn swimming because there were too many men in the swimming pool (and I had developed breasts at 10, bloody things), was not allowed to compete in the doubles badminton tournament (after winning three prizes) because that would have meant partnering with an unmarried officer (I was 14)…the list goes on.

But did it eventually protect? Or did it exclude me from people? Is that the reason that I can be ‘popular’ with people but don’t have many friends…and don’t know how to ‘make’ friends? Was it his protectiveness that harnessed extreme reckless, rebelliousness in me and made me seek out things and experiences that were the antithesis of whatever he believed in? Or was it my destiny to learn things the hard way (f**k destiny really)?

And most importantly, how am I going to be with my child? Am I content to teach it ‘stranger danger’? How do I explain the difference between good and bad strangers? Yes I know about the good touch and bad touch…but how do I explain how to see/fathom malicious intent before the touch? How do I prevent the touch? Will I be a good judge to know who’s good/bad for my child? Can I trust anyone… or have I become like my father?

How do you – those with children – know what to do? Are you not scared?

Read this on similar thoughts, from a mother of three

Some scary facts:
USA: Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters, or neighbors; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases.
[Julia Whealin, Ph.D. (2007-05-22). "Child Sexual Abuse". National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, US Department of Veterans Affairs.]

India: 53.22% of children in India reported having faced sexual abuse. Among them 52.94% were boys and 47.06% girls (sample of 12,447 children, 2,324 young adults and 2,449 stakeholders across 13 states). The study looked at different forms of child abuse: Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse and Emotional Abuse and Girl Child Neglect in five evidence groups, namely, children in a family environment, children in school, children at work, children on the street and children in institutions.
["Study on Child Abuse: India 2007" (PDF). Published by the Government of India, (Ministry of Women and Child Development).]

March 16, 2010

Kaise ho?

There's really no point in me apologising for vanishing acts since I know I could (and would) be doing it again. Lots has been happening.

For one, Bub is kicking around, not very hard and you still cannot feel it from the top (as in if you place your hand on tummy etc) but I sure can feel the flutters. Doesn't seem to like spicy food since it kicks more after curries. Hrmph. I am determined that Bub shall like curries -- and all Indian food -- as much as its mum does; though I shall compromise and feed it vegemite as well. Personally I can't stand the damn thing.

Two, we've got to move from this house in May -- right when I will be mega-huge -- and so house-hunting as well. And surfing the internet for homes is about as much of the 'nesting instinct' I am indulging in. The moment I walk into baby stores the sheer sight of the things on display and for sale scares (the shit out of) me. What not to buy?!

Three, trying very hard not to say f**k and failing brilliantly. Very worried -- since now Bub is at the stage it can apparently hear me -- that the first word it will say will be either idiot, dingbat or f**k. 'Dingbat' is a new and recently coined term (by me), and I don't know why I came up with it but it's a good substitute for asshole (and other similar insults).

Four, very worried about swearing during labour. And worried about birth plan and all that since the only thing I have decided so far -- and which has met with either laughter (friends) or horror (Partner) -- is that I definitely want to play Smack My Bitch Up (Prodigy) during labour. That song really gets me going. :D Don't know if the hospital will allow it though.

Five, knitting these days. Tried it couple of months back and ended up buying a whole lot of wool and all possible needle sizes and then knitting the arm holes near the hem line instead of next to the shoulders. Now at it again but this time determinedly focussed on Bub-clothes. BUT if things go wrong will e-bay the wool and buy the damn things (always have exit options ready).

That's all from me. I am 57.30 kgs and think there's a bit of fat on my nose as well, though most of it is primarily distributed between the boobs (now udders), waist and upper thighs. Apparently the boobs are going to get EVEN bigger and I am considering buying crutches to support them. If I find any, shall report. ;)