Saturday, November 27, 2010

When Love and Hate Collide...

...or when Peanut and Adi collide. Same thing.

3 year old Peanut and her cousin, 2 year old Adi have spent the last few days in close quarters, for the first time in their lives.

It's been quite an experience 'Bringing Up Adi' ( Heh heh, Parul) for the last week while the rest of the family has been in Jaipur. Apart from the joy of having 4 small children in the house, all of whom have been merrily reinfecting each other with their colds and runny noses, it's been a challenge keeping the peace between Peanut and Adi. I handled it very well, though.

I just quietly shut the door to my bedroom and let them fight it out.

Soon, though, both of them discovered how to work the handle and would barge in, complaining about each other not sharing a toy. Peanut was the bigger complainer, although she was also occasionally elbowing him aside and taking things away from him. Yesterday, she walked in and informed me 'Adi tried to snatch this hat from me'. I looked at the hat in her hands and did a double take.

I told her 'But I gave this hat to Adi - why did YOU snatch it from him?'

She said angelically 'I didn't snatch it. I only it took it from him'.

It's been really amazing to see them fighting like two furious tiger cubs one minute, and then walking around hand in hand like the best of friends one minute later, kissing each other and hugging affectionately. Peanut has really enjoyed his company overall, even though she has got the worst of most physical fights. It seems to have made her less of a crybaby overall, and it's clear she enjoys having someone close to her age around.

Some of their fights have been most amusing to watch. Adi tends to walk up to Peanut and inform her 'Aap thanda-thanda ho'.
Peanut responds with some heat 'Nahin. Main thanda-thanda nahin hoon'.
Adi takes offense to this rejoinder and shouts 'Haan! Aap thanda-thanda ho'.
This continues for a while and eventually comes to blows. I tried to interject a couple of times saying that everybody was the exactly correct temperature that they needed to be, but neither of them listened to me.

When on better terms, they've been going to the park together - occasionally with the K, other times with me - and since they look rather alike and are both very cute small kids, they get attention from others. Someone even asked the K 'Are they twin brothers!'. Ha ha.

I took them to the mall the other day, and a lady asked me 'Are they both yours?' with some surprise. Rather than explain things to her, I just said yes. Why not? I bought the two of them some bubbles, and they couldn't wait to get home and play with them. It brought me back to the days when nothing made me happier than just blowing bubbles and running around trying to burst them. Ah, childhood ( she sighed nostaligically).

When I come home from work, Adi is the first person at the door. I hear him go 'Taun Aaya' ( he has the cutest little lisp). And then as the door opens and he sees me, he goes delightedly, 'It's Chacheee!'

The three of us have been baking chocolate cakes together every few days. I can bake a cake in under half an hour but when they ''help'' me, it takes longer. They insist on doing everything and end up spilling a lot, but it's been fun. Also, even though the cakes turn out nicely, they seem to now prefer the process of baking it over eating it. Today both of them came to me and said they wanted to bake a cake. Adi said 'Talo, Chachee, Cake Banaye'. I pointed out that they still hadn't finished even half of the last cake but they didn't appreciate the logic.

At the park, the two of them play mostly on the slides. Peanut climbs up to the top and says 'Mama!' Adi follows along and also shouts at me 'Mama, Mama!' I wave at the two of them and they slide down one by one - Peanut whizzing down fast and ladylike, Adi just flopping down almost horizontally, landing flat on his back in the mud each time. They enjoy playing in the mud too, digging with sticks and dirtying each other completely.

They are strangely affectionate with each other at times. Today Adi sat down on Peanut's lap. They've been patting each other to sleep at bedtime - eventually abandoning the exercise to go and play together at almost midnight, much to my chagrin. All in all, it's been really great having tiny little Adi around and we're going to miss him a lot when he leaves next week.

Also, I was getting rather smug when he started calling me 'Mama'.

Except that Peanut now calls me Chachi.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Let me tell you about my weekend

The kids - all three of them - were due for a doctor's visit. The twins for their vaccination, and Peanut for a general check up. Vijay is in Jaipur with the rest of the family, so I said I would take them on Saturday by myself.
I discovered on Friday that it was actually a working Saturday for me. I have started working half days, so decided to keep my doctor's appointment as planned in the morning and work in the second half.
For one mad moment, I evaluated taking little 2 year old Adi, my nephew with me because he had been coughing and sniffling of late, but his father - my brother-in-law Ajay - said it would not be necessary. So for the moment, he was left at home while the rest of us set out.
We had a new driver taking us who did not know the way, so of course we got lost on the way. Peanut, who was sitting in the back of the Innova with my help Rinki, decided that she wanted to sit on my lap. Considering that I was sitting in the front seat because I needed to withdraw a lot of cash for the injections and was looking out for an ATM, this was not possible. Therefore, she started to cry, claiming that the seat belt was hurting her and causing a stomach ache.
She cried so much that Papad woke up and started crying too. The twins were sitting in the middle in their car seat and the car was filled with the melodious sound of Peanut and Papad trying to out-wail each other. Thankfully, Pickle slept through it all. I like Pickle. Rinki decided that the driver was going to fast and sitting in the back of the Innova did not suit her delicate stomach, and in the nick of time, we stopped the car to let her throw up violently out the window.

We finally reached and the awful journey was over. That's when I discovered that Rinki had packed everything very nicely, filling 90 ml of boiled water into four bottles for the twins' formula. Only, she had omitted to pack the formula itself.

The babies were hungry and I decided to feed Pickle first. However, Pickle decided that he wanted to embarass me by causing me to flash the whole world, or at least all the people in the waiting room because he kept detaching while feeding to survey the room with great interest. I struggled with him and decided this was not happening and that I perhaps did like him all that much, after all.

I called our driver Radhey Shyam and asked him to get some formula. Some WHAT, he asked. I said get 'Nan 1'. He listened politely but I could tell he didn't get it. I wrote it on a piece of paper and went up to give it to him. I waited and waited for him, while he returned from around the corner where he had been doing whatever he had been doing. He took the paper and 500 bucks from me and went off. He returned within a minute saying 'Where will I find this?'. I told him to get to a chemist and fast. He checked with a couple of other drivers around and they directed him to the nearest chemist.

I went downstairs to the doctor's office, which happens to be in the basement of his house - and it was already my turn. Peanut was first ,walking in to inform him 'I need my checkup'. She had her check up and all was well. It was the twins' turn now and Radhey Shyam had still not come back. I saw on my phone that I had a missed call from him. The signal in the basement was poor so I had to rush up the stairs to speak to him. I called him and he informed me 'Madam, this chemist is getting married, and is back only on the 29th of November'. Tightlipped, I informed him that the nuptials of the neighborhood chemist did not interest me and he should go and find another chemist immediately. I also told him that he should not call me again but should just return with the formula and come downstairs to give it to me as the signal was poor in the basement.

After a few minutes of delaying the doctor with inane questions before he got to the shots, I was unable to put it off any longer. Poor little Pickle got his shots - two of them - and there was no formula to comfort the hurt and crying baby. While holding him to my shoulder to quieten him down, I saw another missed call from Radhey Shyam. Gritting my teeth, I rushed up the stairs again, holding Pickle, while Rinki held Papad for the doctor, and called the driver.

Radhey Shyam had the most intelligent question in the world for me. 'Madam - should I get 2 boxes or only one? You see, I thought I should ask because they are twins and I thought that perhaps 2 boxes would be more appropriate...' Resisting the urge to track him down and shoot him, I told him that either one or two would be fine but could he please get back with some formula right away?

Thankfully within a few minutes he was back, although poor Papad also had had his shots by then. Rinki efficiently prepared two bottles and we fed the children. Peanut was very sweet, giving Pickle the bottle while I paid the receptionist for the visit. It was not on purpose that she ended up putting the bottle into his nose, and I rescued him just in time. The kids were all ready to go home and we packed and bunged ourselves into the car, heading back home.

I volunteered my front seat to Rinki, and sat in the back with Peanut - but of course Peanut chose to cry again, this time claiming the seat belt was hurting her neck. Rinki threw up again for good measure, just as we were about a 100 metres from home.

We lurched through the front door thankfully, only to be greeted by a furious tiny Adi, who informed us in no uncertain terms 'I HATE you'. He was apparently most upset at having been left behind by the lot of us, and took a while to forgive us, telling us each 'I HATE you' in turn as we tried to mollify him.

After this, I actually mustered up the courage to go to work for a couple of hours and finished catching up on some of the things that had happened while I was away in the last four and a half months. I was completely exhausted by the time I got back home, and basically between breastfeeding the twins, giving them their Calpol for the pain of the shots, discovering Papad had developed Fever, pumping up a supply of milk for Monday and trying to keep Adi and Peanut from damaging each other, I ended up collapsing into bed about 11 p.m.

Throughout the night, Pickle and Papad were cranky -they had slept a lot through the day and were awake most of the night. The K, my saviour in such moments, helped by taking one of them off me when she heard me struggling with both the wailing babies at odd hours through the night. I was bleary eyed and still exhausted when dawn broke and the various members of the household roused themselves.

The first thing I heard clearly was the pint-sized Adi who was telling either Rinki or the K in his categorical way 'I HATE you'.

Life is fun.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Back at the Office

All too soon, my maternity leave appears to have ended. I was planning to go back to work in January, but for various reasons have decided to start half days right away.

So I found myself in the office today and felt a bit strange being away from the babies. I was doing my best to concentrate on work and catching up with my team and boss, but was getting interrupted by various phone calls.

My sister-in-law Garima who had just reached the U.S and had to check on her two-year-old son Adi who is staying with us.

My maids for various reasons including instructions on how much formula to feed the babies in my absence, and when to do so.

But the prize for most interruptions goes brother Abhi, who was calling to enquire about whether his sunglasses had accidentally been left behind in my car yesterday. He had had a tough day-he had planned to take his daughter Nikita to the zoo and I, being the prize pile-on that I am and needing to get one of my three kids out of my hair for the day, had sent Peanut and the K along with them as well. It was very crowded. It then started raining. And then the two small girls decided that they did not want to walk more than a few feet and were in 'godi' throughout. Understandably the trip was cut short. But the most devastating event of the day for my bro was the loss of his shiny expensive new sunglasses.

'You see,' he started to explain on the phone before I could tell him I was in the middle of a meeting at office 'what had happened was that when we reached the zoo, the K , despite my instructions got all of Peanut's food in her bag and the security guy had stopped us...and so I had to go back to the car to put the bag back...and then I went back to the gate but then we found that Nikita's changing bag also had two apples and a banana in it...and then I had to go back to the car again to put the fruit back...'

My team members sat around twiddling their thumbs, waiting patiently for me to get off the phone. I found myself wondering why my brother had to tell me the whole story, including the exact inventory of the fruit in the saga, but I couldn't get a word in edgewise to tell him I needed to call him back.

'...and so' he blathered on 'I'm pretty sure that one of those two trips, I also gave my sunglasses to the driver and asked him to keep them was beginning to rain at the time so I knew I would not need them...but then later, we got home and took the kids out of the car and in the night I remembered that I had not taken I called the K and asked her to look in her bags just in case they were there, but she said they were not...and then I called the driver and he insisted he had kept them in the bag with the, I'm confused because I don't know which bag was the one with the fruit, and whether there was a third bag that we don't know about and whether the fruit that he was talking about was actually the two apples and the banana that we found in Nikita's changing bag, or whether there was some other fruit bag that the K was carrying for Peanut... because I'm pretty sure that the two apples and the banana were just kept loose on the seat...'

I finally interrupted him after a couple of paragraphs to tell him that while this was indeed a crisis of the highest degree, I would have to call him back since I was in a meeting. He huffily said 'Well, you only asked what was up, you should have said you were busy. Anyway, call me when you are with the driver'. And he hung up on me.

Happily, the glasses were eventually located and will be returned tomorrow to their rightful, if somewhat hyper owner - who also insisted on doing a long telephonic post-mortem with me of exactly how they had been lost and found.

And my phone will be on silent for the first half of each day from tomorrow, so call me in the evenings, hey?

Monday, November 15, 2010

She Has Gone

Thanks for all your prayers.

Edited to add: Mummyji left us day before yesterday. The cremation was yesterday, and the Chautha is tomorrow.

All we can console ourselves with is that she is at peace - that her suffering is over.

We're talking about her all the time. Peanut keeps saying 'I want Mummyji back'. How do you explain this to a 3-year old? She listens to every explanation we have to offer and then firmly repeats 'But I want her back'.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Please Pray

Vijay's mother has been in the ICU for more than ten days now. Please spare a moment to send good vibes and prayers for her.