Here I am – as shame-faced as I can be – with absolutely no excuses for my absence and that too at a time when my precious little completed a year of being little. I’ve missed many milestones – the baby book I bought with so much excitement lies only half-filled, but this was different. I did not want to miss writing on the occasion of his first birthday – about the year that he came into our lives and completely enveloped it in his fold. But now it’s come and gone and there’s nothing much that I can do about it, except post my thoughts now, before they’re lost in the ocean of other thoughts (mostly work related – at office and home, all that I can think of these days is work and how to go about completing it – but the fact of the matter is, it will never get completed! There’ll only be more work!).
Rants aside, it would be an understatement to say that this has been the most exciting and life- & lifestyle-changing year of my life! Firstly it really is unbelievable that a year has passed by – a year? 365 days? since he was born? I feel like saying – gosh, you must be kidding! Wasn’t it recently that I was waiting impatiently for my due date? The day when I had those incredible pains that went on and on for hours – all to culminate at the surgery table 10 hours later and voila! there he was – wailing his lungs out in the next 10 mins. It was surreal in my then groggy state of anasthesia, to be looking at that baby being held out – it was mine! It was what we’d all been waiting for, those 9 months! He was my flesh and blood. He was my b-a-b-y!!And those following weeks/ months of emotional upheavals – of pain, pleasure, angst, confusion, joy, tears, helplessness, ecstasy… Now you say, it’s all in the past?? A year ago?
But it’s true. Incredible, but true. He has turned a year old, already. He is no longer a helpless infant, he’s a baby with thoughts, actions and a personality of his own. There are so many developments that I don’t know where to begin… he understands most of what we tell him and reacts in his own sweet way. He knows all his dolls by names and looks for them when asked, and brings them to us. He talks so many words in his baby-tongue and makes gestures to match. He points out to his head, nose and tummy – though he seems to be a little confused as to where exactly his tummy is! 😀 All other babies, not necessarily younger to him as paapa/ paapachi for him and he loves interacting with them. In fact any photo/ face on any magazine, paper, poster etc is paapa – including the doggy on his favourite poster at home! 😀 He holds his hand out for a sweet handshake and tries to touch and make friends with other babies. Anybody who greets him is responded to with a ready smile and a wave of hands – including random strangers at traffic signals. He does a dutiful namaste when asked to and devoutly listens as his appa helps him with his prayers after his daily bath.
He listens and points to a doggy bark and tries to imitate it with his bow-bow. He loves looking at the touch-n-feel Fluffy bunnies book that he got as a birthday present and grins as his mother reads it out, in her typical sing-song fashion. The kitchen utensils are still his favourite playthings and he rushes to grab them – especially the spoons, which he knows he has to dig out from the bottom of the tub which holds all the washed vessels. He waits for amma to come home from work and rushes to her the minute he sees her and isn’t satisfied till she lifts him into her arms. The contented smile and the way he touches and feels me all over my face and hands then, is something that wrenches my gut every single day! He loves his appa no less and actually cries while bidding him bye to work, even though he is perched on (an indignant)amma’s waist and she is cooing sweet nothings into his ears. Did I say that he loves trying out new types of food – considering that his appa-amma have deprived him of all tasty and adult food for so long, given a chance, he doesn’t lose a moment to grab at any eatable within his reach and pop it into his mouth. And if likes the taste of it, he gives a grin and does a little jig to express his joy! I could just go on and on… but it really is difficult to capture his every action in words.
On the actual birthday we took him on his first visit to offer prayers to the home-deity and the celebration with homas/ pooja and cake-cutting was planned for a later date. The celebration occasion brought us all much joy. Albeit being a little unwell, he behaved irreproachably and was a darling through-out – even in the stuffy atmosphere, with the homas/ pooja going on. He went to everyone with a ready smile and was generally a happy child, enjoying all the attention being bestowed upon him. We were happy too with the way things turned out. Initially we weren’t quite planning to have a celebration by inviting relatives and friends – thought we’d done enough of that. We felt it would be more satisfying and meaningful to celebrate by being part of a social cause. But then decided to also have a small-scale function, mainly for the kiddo’s sake – I don’t want him to come back to me later with regret that he never got to celebrate his first year birthday. Though it might not mean much to him now, it will rankle in later years.
I handpicked and packed the gifts for all his little friends with a thank-you note; age-appropriate books ordered from Pratham with some accompanying dolls/ sweets. We also didn’t want to give regular plastic/ metal gifts with the taamboola – and decided to give potted plants which would be low maintenance and used indoors/ outdoors as desired. People found it surprising/ offending(?) or laughable, but I’m happy that we stuck with our choice – it brought us immense happiness to contribute to the green cause on this special occasion, albeit in a small way.
All in all, it has been a eventful year and we can’t thank the lord enough for bringing this joy into our lives. I pray for his long life, health and happiness always and look forward eagerly to every moment of his growing-up years. A very very very happy first year birthday to you my puttu-kanda! You bring a purpose to our existence. You take us back to our child-like ways and help us feel the purity of unadulterated innocence and joy that one can enjoy only as a child. You are a tiny being as yet, but you fill what would otherwise have been a mammoth void at the centre-point of our universe. You complete us. Thank you for being you – may you continue to be as naughty, playful, joyous and smiling as you are now, always! 🙂