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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Four times around the sun...

Four years ago, under the glare of the OR lights, in my half-dazed state, I held you for the first time, my dear Ana, not quite fathoming the depths of emotions you were about to evoke in me in the coming years.

During the first year, I was struggling to keep up with your rapid development. I tried to do everything, and do it right, else I thought I would be failing you as a mom. While I secretly savored the Mommy Attachment/Separation Anxiety phase, I certainly was not ready to ignore your pathetic wails when I had to briefly use the bathroom or cook a meal, leaving you to keep yourself entertained... and I certainly was not prepared to operate on a couple of hours of intermittent sleep night-after-night for almost a year...

I was thrilled when you surprised us by walking/wobbling without support by about 10½ months, forcing me to device some homegrown child-proofing, especially for padding the brick fireplace which was your favorite haunt, for some reason... your interest in books fueled me, made me tap into that tiny bit of reserves of energy to keep it up every night despite bone-weary tiredness... and, you were amazing - you could sit and eat finger foods independently and sign for "all done","more", "drink" and "milk" and you were communicating well-enough even before you learnt to say anything.

During your second year, I began to appreciate one of the precious gift you can give me - our times together exploring arts/crafts activities - finger-painting, brush painting, crayons, home-made play dough, shoelace-sewing for hand-eye co-ordination, blocks stacking/nesting, the usual... bath times became special times for relaxation, and reading books became our favorite bedtime ritual. You could put your shoes on by yourself (thanks to velcro™), eat by yourself, say quite a few words in Welsh, Tamil and English and establish a fairly good level of two-way communication...

I was dreading the terrible twos, but, you seemed to by-pass it without much ado, thanks to your daycare teachers working with me in recognizing the importance of developing emotional intelligence and helping you acquire the skill set and vocabulary for expressing your feeling as best as your tender age would allow. You learnt early on to help me understand what you might be going through - letting me know you are "sad", "upset", "happy", "angry" as the case may be, so I can help you deal with it appropriately.

By three you got used to being the center of my world and commanding my time and attention... what a rude shock it must have been for you to be pushed aside for just a bit when we welcomed your little brother. I cringe at some of the memories I have of those days when I was still raw from birthing and struggling to cope with mommyhood all over again, when I had to appear a monster to you to make sure we keep the little one safe from your curiosity and resentment.

But, you adapted, you learnt to share your mommy and daddy, and you started showing your love for your little brother in very special ways. You have become independent enough to dress yourself, brush your teeth and get your jammies on by yourself, even help me clean up the mess Oggie makes at times, and voluntarily be my sous-chef peeling cardamom pods for my tea and the shells off hard-boiled eggs... you show a keen interest in independent craft activities like découpage and watercolors

Now that Earth has gone around our sun four times since the day you arrived in our midst, it is natural for me to get sentimental... You have blossomed into a well-rounded 4-year-old thanks to your Montessori teachers, curious about the world around you, communicating with grace and politeness that is surprising in kids your age, helping me around the house without much coaxing, and treating Oggie with surprising tenderness at times.

I am no saint, and I don't expect you to be one either. But, I do wish you would heed my advice, such as they may be, and try not to repeat my mistakes... and if you do, so be it, you will learn better after making your own. At four, you are still a baby, not quite a big kid despite acting like a mini-adult at times, and I catch myself often forgetting this simple fact. I start treating you like an adult simply because you have learnt to communicate, negotiate, manipulate and assert yourself more confidently. I can't help but admire that.

Each time I hug you, I can't help but notice how small you are physically, and yet how large an impact you have on me. The dreadful teenage years may tax our bond to the limit, but, I hope the strength with which we build it now will withstand the strain effortlessly. No matter how old you get, you will always be my baby. Even though I can't shield you from harm and hurt, I hope I can foster the skills you would need to pick yourself up and move on cheerfully.

I know our eyes see what we want to see and our brains interpret the sensory input to optimize our sense of well-being... so, it is possible that I am seeing what I want to see in you and am simply projecting... but, I doubt it.

You are incredibly precious, my baby-doll, don't you ever forget that!

Happy Birthday, my little Rani Kutty!

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7 Comments:

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Dee said...

Cheery birthday wishes to Ana from Chintu :)
God bless your little one!

 
At 8:03 AM, Blogger B o o said...

wishing Ana a very,very happy Birthday!

Love and lots of hugs from Boo aunty.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Subhashree said...

Belated birthday wishes to the little lady :)

 
At 11:05 AM, Blogger Kay said...

Happy birthday, Ana!!

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger Subhashree said...

You've been tagged!

http://mommustbecrazy.blogspot.com/2009/04/around-world-in-80-clicks.html

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger ranjani.sathish said...

Ana looks so pretty...I loved all her photos especially the latest one :-)

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Thanks Dee!

Thanks Boo aunty!

Thanks Subhashree!

Thanks Kay!

Thanks Ranjani!

Thanks for all your wishes.

 

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