The past several weeks have been busy ones for T, L, and I, and this week has been no exception: we are getting back to a routine. We had the fortune last month of spending two weeks in our homeland India, where we took L to meet his grandfather and great grandmother as well as many other relatives and friends.
Needless to say, month #13 in the life of L has proved itself a whirlwind to T and me. Within such a short period of time little L, again, has changed dramatically. He has gone from babbling here and there to reliably saying “Ma ma” and “Da Da” to his parents and “Mum mum” for when he is hungry or thirsty. As always he giggles uncontrollably when tickled and loves anticipating mommy tickle monster coming to get him or to pick him up with a swing and make raspberries on his tummy. How he beams at us when he does something he is proud of, and how confidently he walks to and fro all around the house.
The confident walking really started just around the time we left for India: mid-February. We had heard tell that at daycare L was taking steps by himself and going from one side of his classroom to the other, but we didn’t really believe it since he was staying put so stubbornly at home, only wanting to stand and walk if we were to hold his hands. But then, suddenly he took not just 5-6 steps, but 10 steps together at a time, and then he began to wobble this way and that across the room, and now we can’t stop him from moving. Don’t get me wrong. When he is in a mood – e.g. when the bell on the doorknob announces my entry into the daycare classroom at the end of the day – he will not move for anything. He just gets saddest, most wrinkly frown, on his face and stretches his chubby arms up and wails, saying, “Mom, you’ve been away too long. Come get me. Now!” But this mommy’s smarter than her little one. Sometimes. Now I, too, stay in place and coax him to come toward me and he will eventually nudge himself forth, but he also has his limits. He will only come as close as he is within my reach, so that I have to make the final move and pick me up. What can I say? He’s so tempting that I cave. I gobble him up into my arms.
In India he was quite fortunate to attract the attention of his family members. We felt lucky that he went to everyone, and as long as you took him outside he didn’t start wailing for mama. Of course, the majority of the pictures of him that I’ve taken depict him crying with arms outstretched toward me. Thank you, attachment parenting, but at times I could really use a break, babe!! But in between three busy cities: Chandigarh, Delhi, and Mumbai, L managed beautifully and got used to three households quickly. The adventure was significant for T and I in many ways: in terms of learning to let go and allow L to have his falls onto marble, figuring out how to manage our new place as parents among the relatives, sharing L with his cousins and seeing them interact.
We were truly amazed at one family gathering to finally feel like parents. The transition and change of feeling happened instantly, a huge sudden rush of overwhelming responsibility for the good of other children. It happened when we were in the bedroom with 5-6 of the children, ages 9 months to 7 years, who were all romping around with one another. T and I looked at each other, and at T’s cousins who were among the ‘parents,’ and we realized that we were not in Kansas anymore. We weren’t the little kids climbing all over one another in the bed. We weren’t the lighthearted uncle and auntie teasing them and picking them up. We were the parents. We had to pick L up when he had a boo boo. We had to gently tell him to share the toy with his cousin. We had to help provide gentle discipline, if needed, to the children as a whole. We had to make sure that all the children were safe and were not hurt. And when L was swept away to another room with someone other than the two of us, we had to perk up our ears for his coos or had to find him among the crowd to make sure he was ok. It is so different from any other new responsibility we had ever felt, but for all the challenge it does feel good to have this new role. And, yet again, it makes me understand why my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles are the way they are.
But more on that later I’m sure. So now we are all back to the grindstone, getting used to life and work and cooking again (oh how I miss the food in India – everyone in India who reads this: thank you so much for making our stay so comfortable, and so delicious!). My jet lag is nearly over though I still find myself exhausted at 8pm after coming home from work, making dinner, and putting L to sleep. Can’t wait till that next vacation sends me into relaxation mode. 🙂