I shop for teethers and other stories

It’s not pregnancy, it’s not a gurgling/screeching/pooping baby, it’s not breastfeeding that drives home the fact that you have become a parent.

It’s when you go to a book sale and spend all your uncomfortable-in-my-shoes time on going through an ‘Olly the Otter’ boardbook. That’s still not a slap-in-the-face realisation; not until you walk up to the other parent in the new-parents equation and catch him ogling a coffee-table book on aircraft and lovingly caressing a complete set of Bond movie DVDs do you realise you are now officially mommy.

And, if you are like me, you are going to be mildly uncomfortable with the realisation. Result? Telling off the parent in question for not looking for something to turn your offspring into a book lover.

But you really, really know you’re mommy when you go to one of those mega bookstores and get wildly excited at teethers that play music and rattles that have intelligent patterns that babies like (polka dots). All this while scores of gorgeous shiny stationery is staring you in the face begging to be picked up — border scissors, pack of pencils, crisp sharpeners, erasers, coloring pencils, pouches. Slurrrrp. Yes, I am a stationery slut.

*****

No one can tell you enough for you to believe how a baby changes your life. If you are having a baby and people have been telling you your life is going to change, believe it a thousand times more than you would normally believe someone.

I, for one, miss being able to leave home with money scrunched up in my hip pocket and my phone in my hand. These days leaving home even for Madagascar fine chocolate gelato is a ritual that includes at least 27 trips between kitchen and bedroom.

I miss having leisurely loud sex and sleeping in in the mornings.

I miss having my hands free. (Although I totally love the way my golu molu fills my arms when they go around her.)

I miss my ears. For they don’t belong to me any more. In the kitchen, while bathing, when I’m dozing, in the garden, when I write, my ear is constantly hovering in the bedroom where baby sleeps. A spoon tinkling on a plate, a puppy barking, even a squeaky door hinge makes me spring to my toes to go see if she’s managed to bury herself in the covers and is crying for help.

I miss wearing clothes that don’t need to buttoning up in the front. Full time breast feeding is a six-month long process. Thanks to loving family who believe the baby will vaporise if they don’t constantly look at it every waking second, about 12 and a half people know the exact placement of moles on my breasts and how many bras I have in lace, cotton, satin and others. Oh and the colors too.

I miss being able to get up and go. Just like that.

*****

I have begun writing letters to Shyama. Really. I considered giving her MS Word documents in her legacy first but then I decided to do it the old fashioned way. If only to torture her with my handwriting. People who make handmade paper books are about to make a killing because as a besotted teenager, when I used to write to my then boyfriend, my letters would be nothing less than 16 to 20 pages long.

My parents suffered considerably less. About 8 to 10 pages. The last page had smileys and things. My father cribbed about wastage of paper and the amount of revenue I was giving the postal department posting seriously heavy letters internationally.

If anyone gave me those letters now I’d fade away in embarrassment.

*****

This is my sixth month of unemployment and I am seriously worried about going back to work. Half the world tells me don’t stay out of the market, the rest tells me give your baby as much as you can before you head back to work. Crossroads. What do I do?

*****

Speaking of old boyfriends, spoke to the ex-husband a while back. It was nice to feel the old sense of cameraderie that brought us together in the first place. Oh wait, that was not cameraderie. More like pheromones and steamy car interiors by the sea. The cameraderie came later.

So anyway, he’s doing well, married a lovely girl and lives abroad. At some point, he told me I would have liked living where he lived now and that I probably am missing out. Maybe I am. Oh well. All the best, R, may life continue being kind to you.

*****

It’s serious baby time. If people haven’t already had them the past year, they are about to have them or actively trying to have them. And if it’s none of the above, people are going around wishing and taking gifts to people who have had babies.

In my life-calendar, there’s been a baby every month this past year. Except for September. Which is good — Virgos are not my favorite people. And for those who are still waiting for theirs — I have just one word of advice: Always have blue shoes. Sorry, those are four words.

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