Today is my younger one’s 2nd birthday. This day, in 2017 at about 8 pm, she arrived in this world and created much of a stir before and after her birth.
As I labored through the pain on that night, my blood pressure shot up high and there were a bit of complications. We got that under control and she was born. A few hours later I fell unconscious on the floor of the hospital, while heading to the bathroom, and for a moment Sanjay thought I was gone. It turned out my blood pressure was playing hide-and-seek. We came home safely and she refused to latch. I pumped but it wasn’t enough. She survived on formula in the early months of her life.
And I think that made her a survivalist. I can see her survival instinct at play in all her movements. How she pulls over the blanket when it gets a little cold or how she grabs a pear to eat from the refrigerator or pulls me towards the faucet and asks me to fetch her a glass of water to drink. She is ready to ask, whenever needed, much in contrast with the elder one, who is obedient, dutiful, and virtuous, and never asks for anything.
For almost five years after Pahal was born, I was sure I didn’t want another child. We were so happy and content with Pahal that the thought of another baby just didn’t cross the mind. My housemaids in Andamans often suggested, “Make a baby and we will look after him/her” but I wasn’t the one to listen.
We moved to Delhi and I experienced the con of being near family – expectations.
Peer pressure added to it and the fact that my sister was expecting fueled the desire. I wanted a second baby. I talked myself out of it several times but finally, I decided I needed one. Well, to give company to my loner Pahal.
Parakh is unlike Pahal, in many ways. She is jubilant over tiniest things possible. Loves wholeheartedly and isn’t docile like her sister. I don’t expect her to be an obedient daughter like her perfectionist elder sister. Unlike Pahal, Parakh hasn’t learnt to converse yet and she is two already. But Parakh can fight for what’s hers. Again a contrast!
It’s wonderful how a mother gives birth to two entirely different beings with few similarities. Both are gentle. Pretty. And lovable. And bring joy to my life.
I love watching Pahal leading a situation with Parakh tailing behind her. But I hate to watch them fight over bubble mixture or when she recklessly scribbles over Pahal’s books or rips off her latest craft or snatches away her things and runs. Pahal, being the calm and absorbent that she is, only gives up and locks herself up in the room, much to my chagrin. But this is motherhood! Bringing up two kids – as much different and little similar they are – with the same love and attention and hard work.
I am still not sure if I wanted the second child. But I am sure I wouldn’t have been the same without Parakh. She makes me feel like a better mom. I can see a big glimpse of myself in her – forever inquisitive, friendly and so full of love. Her daddy is changing, forever since her birth. He, clearly, is more of Parakh’s dad. At least that is how it is at the moment. Pahal is evolving to be more grown up and open and stronger.
Yesterday, she hit her head hard against the corner of a wall and as she let out a loud squall, I felt a pointy bump on the side of her head. Thankfully, she was okay in a few minutes and it softened within hours but I remember saying to Sanjay, “There wasn’t any need to add another thick string of attachment in life.” It pains beyond explanation to see your child in pain or danger. I think the only con of being a mother is that life begins to depend upon their lives.
Without knowing these strings become our lifelines. We breathe on their breaths. This is mothering.
Parakh is a soulful person. She will touch many hearts in her journey to find love and purpose. I wish for her to live the way she wants to. She seems to have figured it out already. Or that’s my motherly instinct believing blindly in her instincts.
Wishing my dearest Parakh a very happy birthday. Here’s to a wild woman who will dip her soul in most of the life’s adventures.
-From the mommy who is going to live it all over again with you.