When I was a kid growing up on Enid Blyton's Malory Towers and St. Clare's series, there was nothing as enticing as the thought of the Midnight Feast. These were the forbidden feasts where the girls stealthily managed to enjoy spreads of wonderful-sounding food like kipper and scones. I really didn't have a clue what kipper and scones were but they sure sounded good. Discovering what kipper and scones are through the process of growing up has only lessened the charm of the whole thing.
However, I digress.
The point I was making was that the Midnight Feast had a certain meaning then.
And now - the Midnight Feast has a certain meaning.
This morning, at 4 a.m. to be precise, my baby woke up and sat up in bed next to me. I was only half-awake but noticed in the nick of time that she was trying to escape from the bed through the simple yet ingenious means of hurtling out headfirst, with the carefree abandon that only a baby who has never been allowed to fall out of a bed, can possess. I lunged out at her and caught her by the legs and she giggled loudly, clearly thinking this was a great game to kick-start the day with.
Poor Vijay woke up with a start 'Huh? Kya? Kya?'. I told him to go back to sleep and tried to convince Peanut to do the same. She shouted loudly 'Du-du. Mama, Du-du', and I settled her down again next to me and fed her. Just when I was drifting off and hoping that she was too, she detached herself and sat up again.
I groaned and asked her what she wanted now. Godi? She nodded vigorously, with her whole body, the enthusiasm clearly visible even in the darkness. I got out of bed with her in my arms and started to rock her to sleep, but she wasn't having any of it. She struggled out of my arms, in her curiously effective wriggly-worm fashion and as soon as she landed on the floor, was out the door. I followed her groggily as she headed straight into the kitchen and went for the fridge.
'Du-du, du-du' she stated loudly. Vijay, who had followed us into the kitchen, immediately decided to jump into action and warm the milk in the fridge. I told him that she didn't really want it because she had just been fed, but he was adamant and started to rattle pans around indiscriminately.
I suspected that she might need to eat something else because she hadn't had much at dinnertime. I asked her if she wanted to eat something, and she grabbed the nearest available slice of cheese out of the fridge. I then remembered that I had bought some fruit buns for her to try, and figured that this was as good a time as any, and so took that out to warm for her. Vijay, unable to resist a shot, asked her if she wanted to eat 'Makkhan-Toast' and she looked up at him and nodded her assent vigorously again. He then proceeded to rattle a few more things around, digging out the Toaster, plugging it in and so on.
She had two bites of the cheese, one bite of the fruit bun which was then spat out unceremoniously into my hand, and then cheerfully refused both the milk and the makkhan-toast offered by Vijay, much to his annoyance.
And so it went. Vijay and I stood around bleary eyed while she giggled and darted here, there and everywhere. We looked at the clock and then at each other. It was 5 a.m. and Peanut showed no signs of falling asleep.
Eventually, she did fall asleep but woke up every half hour to demand her 'Du-du' loudly, falling back asleep within a couple of minutes, each time. Vijay and I woke up each time but it took us a lot longer to get back to sleep. As a consequence of which, we didn't actually sleep at all, but still dragged ourselves out of bed only at 8 a.m. and got late going to work.
I felt like I was going to collapse in the first half of the day, but a couple of cups of coffee and some paracetamol produced by my very kind-hearted young team members resulted in my bravely lasting through the rest of the day and actually managing to do a few productive things.
And now, at 10.30 p.m., again Peanut has just fallen asleep and I am about to go to bed. Sending up a silent prayer that she will not assume that 4 a.m. is now her official wake-up-and-play time.
In other words - Midnight feasts and all other night-time adventures appear highly overrated when you get to be an adult. Oh, to be ten again. Chalo, I can live that age vicariously through Peanut.
Should be fun.