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May 28, 2010

Naming-shaming

Spent some really good hours with a friend and her 9 month old son today. The boy is absolutely adorable -- will be really handsome -- and it was so, so nice to see mother and son doing their thing. I loved the way he would just throw himself at her, completely trusting that she wouldn't let him fall. Of how she lifted him over her head and he simply stretched his arms out and shrieked with delight. Or how each time she left the room, he would crane his neck to see her or to hear her footsteps. Mostly I really cherished watching the exchange of touches between them.

When I was little -- as in not five feet 'little' but a kid! -- and I'd hurt myself or fall down or bump into things (which was usual and has not changed), Papa would rub wherever it was that I'd hurt myself and say, "There, it would now be all right." It didn't 'do' anything to the injury as such, but I would feel much better instantly. Or how when my period cramps would get really bad, Ma would fuss around me, stroke my hair and get me a hot water bottle. The bottle helped heaps, but it was the gentle touching that helped much more.

I clearly remember when I was 13 and Thamma (paternal grandma) was staying with us... I had developed these black corn-like things on my ankles from wearing tight shoes. Now my (late) Thamma was obese and didn't move around much. However, every nigh, unfailingly, she would painstakingly rub cream on my ankles and massage it in. "Snow cream will soften the skin and make the marks disappear," she would say. The marks did go away. She was so, so good at providing physical comfort to other people. Pressing your forehead if you had a headache, pinching the eyebrows (er, can't explain it in English but it's the most divine thing EVER!) if fatigued, gently massaging cream to relax the skin, the most bloody awesome head oil massages... It's amazing the things I have picked up from Thamma. Things I hadn't realised I had learned.

Like 'dotting' my face with cream before rubbing it in because "it spreads better and you don't miss out any area." Or knowing that when another is tired, nothing works a miracle quicker than running your fingers through their hair. So far I have not known anyone who does not like it. She 'finger combed' my hair every night when she stayed with us.

I am really fatigued today. I was fine in the morning but once my friend left, I have progressively become more and more tired. Now I feel it's in my bones and I miss Thamma so much. I miss my Ma a lot too. I had always assumed that I would have my mother around whenever it was that I had my first child. Now I don't know when I'll see her; though it's definitely sometime Bub's born.

I wonder how it would have been had either Ma or Thamma been around. I know it's normal to not be able to sleep in the third trimester but perhaps Thamma would have gently patted my back or stroked my hair each night I lay awake. And perhaps every time I would have said my back hurts, Ma would have rushed to get me a hot water bottle. Then arranged cushions around me, pulled a stool or something for me to rest my feet on, offer a back rub, touch my cheek and say, "Aaram kore di?" Papa on the other hand would have gone and brought some tandoori chicken, knowing it's comfort food for me.

Home-cooked Indian food, made by someone else -- that's what I have missed most during my pregnancy. I can make most dishes myself -- and I have -- but I have sorely missed the sense of being pampered with food. Restaurant food is just not the same. I have had -- and have -- many, many cuddles and hugs (Partner is really good with those), but I think I have really missed my Ma's concern. And I cannot tell her how much I want her near or how sorely I miss her because then she would really miss me and get upset.

Now as the date draws nearer (still couple of months though), I am getting sort-of edgy. Wondering about what's to come and wondering what I've missed out on because I am so far away. If I was in India, would I have had a naming ceremony for my child? And a traditional Indian baby shower? With bangles and henna? Would my baby have had many pishis and kakus and maamas? And many uncles and aunties instead of now calling everyone by their first names? On names: I know Bengali nicknames are joked about and well, I have at least seven that I can recall instantly... but would my child have had as many names...instead of Mum struggling with getting any names on the shortlist?

Indian or Australian? Complicated Indian? But how the hell will the Aussies pronounce it when even 'Jhoomur' has become "Zhumoore"? (Though to be honest even most Indians have had trouble pronouncing my name, rolls eyes) Simple Indian name? But then would Ratan become Rat and Pooja turn to Poo?! Based on grandparents? But Partner didn't know mine and vice-versa and 'Abha' would become Ava... it's not the same. A name that has a meaning? But desi or Aussie meaning!?

11 comments:

Sree said...

In Kerala they would have named the baby sajoo or jhusa, yea, am sure.9 more weeks jb, and when will you let us know!!is the room ready? clothes? those soft blankets.., lil cap,crib??and those toys to hang on the crib.I was so excited when she first time LOOKED and put her hands up to touch the thing hanging above her head.I even have a pic of that :)
After birth she had jaundice and had to tie that light around her. Was difficult while changing diapers which was like every now n then.Hey..good luck with the diaper changing routines :D Oh and if you forget to make the baby burp after feeding, goodluck with all the vomits on your beautiful dresses :D
okay, enough for today i guess.

Sankoobaba said...

i dont know about bengali names..
but i do have an excel file with ..1959 names for girls with their meanings..not that I have found any use for it...but its lying on my hard disk for many years...

Eve* aka JB said...

@ Sankoo: how about mailing it to foxytanya@gmail.com?! Lord knows I could do with help..even from 1959. :)

@ Sree: How exciting, an adventure! :D I am gonna love it...getting there slowly, slowly. There's just s**t loads to buy even though friends are being very generous with lending stuff there babies have grown out of. :D

Renu said...

at such times , even parents miss..because living with grand children is such a pleasure, which they miss if the children are abroad.

But thats life today.

Eveline said...

Oh JB, I'm sure whatever you choose will be a befitting name for such a beautiful wee one!
9 weeks more! Woo and most definitely hoo! I know you must be sad about not having your family around at this time and those little things that make living so much better. But think of it this way. You get to start yet another round of memories and traditions with your kid.

Sparkling said...

Gawd! You got me all nostalgic! The post was soooo heart rendering :)

I'm sure you'll finally find the most beautiful name for your child, there's no doubt about it! Just a couple of months to go, keep the faith and take care.
We're waiting to hear more...

Espèra said...

Oh do you know what's the sex of the kid yet?

Espèra said...

I mean your naming kinda depends on that.

And what made you choose to have your baby in Australia?

Eve* aka JB said...

We do know the sex, but keeping it to ourselves for now. As for what made me "choose" Australia, well we live in Australia so it was kind of obvious that we'd have the baby here.

Espèra said...

Oh ok. It's just that people prefer being with their own family during the whole thing. Not that everyone's a stranger in Australia, but I hope you get what I mean, cuz I can't explain very well. :P

Eve* aka JB said...

@ Espera: Ah, I do understand. We decided that we wanted baby and dad to spend more time together after birth...and that would have been restricted if we had the bub in India; there's only that much leave available. Would have been ideal to have my folks around...but then we DO have family here, other set of grandparents and aunts and uncles.