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.