Dearest Lil Dumpling,
Second birthday already? I can't believe how fast you are growing up. You will be TWO tomorrow! Yes, T-W-O!!! I have pinched my hands some zillion times to see if I am dreaming but the red spots and pain tells different story… You are TWO!!! OK, I need to stop repeating it… But you are TWOOOOO!!!! You will be a superstar in no time!
The year two brings terrible twos is what they say, not me! You have been really sweet and considerate and an absolute star for the last couple of weeks. All you like is to be cuddled, kissed, hugged and spend whole day with your Appa and Amma. May be that’s why you still cling to us and cry when we drop you to your nursery. LD, it breaks my heart (and your dad’s heart too) to see you cry but we know that everything is fine as soon as we are out of sight. I am known for blaming myself for every single pearly tear that comes from your beautiful eyes. Yes, a real sucker who has inexhaustible capacity for guilt, self-torture and self-blame. I don’t have to tell you that even today my eyes well up whenever we drive away to work and I end up thinking about you every breath I take when I am away from you. Nothing cheers me and your dad more than the way you come running to us with pouted lips to kiss us when we come to take you home…
Did I say you talk a lot these days? Yes, you do. It is different matter that we understand only half of what you say, and sometimes even less, all the way from day care to bath time to dinner to story time and till you fall asleep with exhaustion. But what ever you blabber or say, including the dreaded ‘NO’, is music to our ears!
Before this letter becomes unbearably sweet to digest and gives you diabetics which runs in your dad’s family tree, let me write some of the not too mushy stuff you have been up to. Yes, you can be extremely naughty when you want it and bring your parents to their knees with your mischief. Since you are not scarred of tripping over the toys strewn on every inch on the floor, I decided to be cool about it and not to pick it up after every time you decide to turn the house in to small battle ground/space ship/Jurassic park etc! Thanks to you, I have learnt my lesson in a painful way… ~ouch, my back~ And since you have shot up height overnight, or what feels like overnight, you can now reach almost all things stored on low shelf which was just a distant temptation in the past months for you! It reminds me to pester your Appa to drill some more holes on his precious walls and raise the entire shelf units! Err… The way your dad packing his bags at lightning speed is beyond the understanding of my sleep deprived brain at a moment! For now the most important thing on my mind is to see if you need your diaper to be changed!
Talking about diapers, it’s about time we seriously did something about potty training (you, not me!) before all super moms put their nose up in the air (No, no… I am not blaming you for the smelly nappy) and look at me disgustingly for setting bad example for super-mommy-hood! I have all the basic things sorted out like baby potty (musical one too), knickers, and me in the form of entertainer/juggler/joker to keep you entertained all the time you keep your little round bottoms fixed to the potty. Its different fact that you get up in the middle to dance to the silly tunes the potty makes even before you can actually finish ‘the’ job! At this rate I can’t see how we can prevent the landfills and save mother earth anytime soon… The plush cream carpet all over the house and the fact that you don’t seem to be in any hurry to stop your mother from chasing the buck naked bottomed hurricane are just few more things to make my life all the more merry and adventurous! Go on, treat the whole world as one giant toilet…
You have crossed almost all the milestones well in advance (where is that MIT application forms!) and now I can take a break from reading the weekly (and some daily) emails from dozens of baby websites. Although I am very proud of all your achievements (and your dad looks like one puffed up toad every single day), you still manage to raise our BP and heart beats to the point of collapse on day to day basis with your antics. Well, just when we thought we have baby proofed the entire house that even the best security companies will not argue to cough up the obscene fees we were dreaming of charging in order to buy those ridiculously priced toys and cloths they sell for kids, you burst that happy bubble by showing us the loopholes in every single thing! It was just yesterday you have managed to open the best(est) safety gate and decided to jump from top stairs instead of climbing down on your own as you usually used to do! Now I am considering of suing the company who sold me those gates with a promise of double locking system which even adults find difficult to open it! ~humph~
Talking of sleep deprivation, I am hoping that two year mark will bring some good night sleep to your sleep walking/talking/working parents who have learnt to work and live with their one eye closed! Yes, your parents are super hopeful and I even begged your Appa to give me 3 nights of uninterrupted sleep in guest bedroom as my birthday present! The materialistic ‘I’ seem to have disappeared in the last two years considering the fact that its been almost a year since I brought myself a fancy shoes and close to two years since I changed a handbag and that has made your dad one happy soul! We don’t have any weekday and weekend concept at our home as we wake up when you wake up and go to bed when you wake up crying looking for your parents who have just rested their bottoms on rather comfy but rarely used couch after cooking, cleaning, dish washing and some half other dozen things which can only be done when you are fast asleep! We don’t have any night life and seriously, who cares! (Said person looks enviously at the night owls who leave for movies, clubs, pubs, restaurants etc and gratefully falls flat on bed and with in a second lands in la-la zzzz land!)
Although your room is filled with toys in different colour, shape, size and type, you still spend most of your time playing with dustbins, nappy bin, vacuum cleaner, steel bowls and spoons, dust pan and brush (no we are not making him earn his bowl of cereals and bottle of milk although he insists on cleaning the whole house by himself), Amma’s hair brush, Daddy’s shoelaces, Amma’s spectacles, light switches, door bells, Daddy’s iphone, Amma’s ipad/laptop and random stuffs we use on day to day activities. I still don’t understand this feeling where I want to buy every single toy that catches my fancy in spite of you rarely using them! I know I should put an end to it (and off I go ‘oh-ah’ing at another fancy toy and buying it!). Help, somebody please stop me… And same applies to the number of books I keep buying for you and reading it loud for all sundries! Overnight your love for books seems to have reduced and I am narrating this sad story to all and sundry who ever crosses my path and these days I am finding less and less people on my way to work and back! I wonder why?! Never mind them. Where is that d$%^& telephone… (Hello, Mom… LD doesn’t like books anymore… I know I am repeating it for the zillionth time, but… hello… hello… got disconnected????). Now, shall I read you the story of Grufallo??? Huh? Huh??? Oh, wait!!! Your current favourite is 'big' books!!! Here comes Amma's favourite, some Woodhouse wonders :)
You still continue to be your daddy’s boy. Your father is the most favourite person in the entire world and you still jump with joy when he comes back from loo making me wonder if he just went around the world in a space ship and landed on our doorstep after months! You give him the tightest hugs, wettest kisses, and the most radiant deep dimpled smiles while I stand there watching you both with amusement and wee bit of jealousy (OK, a lot of jealousy!) as you both completely forget about my existence! Your Appa as usual is mighty chuffed with your display of affection and being a centre of your universe, and never misses the single opportunity to show off to everyone, which includes random stranger on the street! May be I should remind you that it was me who put on tonnes of weight, walked like fat penguin for months, spent 9 months plus 1 day (yeah baby!) sprawled on bathroom floor with toilet bowl for a company, ate only bland food without my most favourite spicy mango pickles, got cut open to deliver you, walked with painful stitches on my tummy for months, took a year off from 9-5 job for unpaid 24/7 job with perks like smelly diapers, sleepless nights, and worrying to death for every small things, developed lifetime friendship with never budging pre-pregnancy weight and stretch marks, lost hair, drowned in my own bucketfuls of tears of guilt and self pity and still Dad gets more attention and large portion of your love! Although you still want your Amma to rock/pat you to sleep, you don’t let me hold you when you wake up in the middle of the night and refuse to sleep anywhere else other than your dad’s lap for rest of the night. The result is rather amused mother who promptly goes back to sleep sniggering at the condition of your poor dad who has no other option than sleep on his back without moving single muscle for the fear of your waking up for the entire night! ~ Ha, ha, ha… Take that, sucker! Oh, slip of tongue… I wanted to say love of my life, father of my beautiful child!!! ~
With your (I am stressing the word YOUR) every birthday I am sporting just a few extra grey strands in my otherwise jet brown waves and few little worry lines on my face (No, not wrinkles! Who said wrinkles? Grrrr…) And to make the matter worse, even now there are ‘well wishers’ who keep advising me on the right and ‘proper’ way to bring up a child. By now I have developed a thick skin and sit in a lotus position with Zen like expression plastered on my face thinking and measuring the correct size of ropes to fit their neck! Don’t they understand the simple fact that if I have not learnt any gyaan in the last two years then there is no chance of me learning anything new in coming years???! Huh, huh??? You dad is a wise person and has learnt this important lesson as soon as I said yes to him some 8 years ago!
I love how your eyes sparkle with mischief and give me your best dimpled smile when ever you are up to some sort of mischief and about to get caught red handed. I love how you tickle yourself and dissolve into peals of laughter to make me smile when I am about to give you a time out! Although I am LOLing and literally ROFLing in my mind at your antics, I try to stay serious and look angry unlike your dad who is hopeless in these cases. I love the fact how fiercely independent you are and want to do it all by yourself even it means hours after hours of cleaning after you!
You have your own library card, frequent flyer loyalty card, your own email and facebook accounts, bank account and also your own blog!!! (Whadya know?!!! Eh, ehhh???) All I remember having at your age was a pretend friend!!! Only thing left is to create your profile on matrimonial sites as it would be quite difficult to find a bride for you in this age of female foeticide!!! OK, I am just kidding about creating a profile but sadly the later part is true! And oh, you are the proud owner of all 20 pearly whites… no more teething tortures, both for you and your parents! A big yayyyy for that… You are endlessly fascinated by things on top shelf, things pushed back of the drawers, my work files and laptop, the books I get to read once in blue moons, dad’s shaving foam, colours on my toenails, little squiggly worms and bugs in the garden, mirrors or any reflective surface (the president of self admiring society, aren’t you?) and big bang theory! And we are equally fascinated by the way your brain works at lightning speed!
Your love affair with Katrina aunty has come to sad and abrupt end! Thanks to the strict “no telly time when LD is wide awake” rule set by your daddy who is worried that you will turn out be Bollywood movie buff like your mom who can narrate any movie story even when she is fast asleep, complete with dialogues, but cannot recollect where she has kept the important documents in a very ‘safe’ place! That means the mealtime somewhat resembles a war zone with you throwing everything from your plate to the floor, walls, ceiling and your parents while I try to shovel food into your mouth and your dad singing and dancing (errr...that’s not some plump tomatoes dancing! It's your parents) to badly remixed nursery rhymes that sound more like heavy metal music to my ears! In Katrina aunt’s place you are forced listen to Classic FM, Jazz FM, and other such things which puts off your mom to deep-deep sleep leaving you to enjoy some quiet time without her nosing around all your important business like shredding the toilet roll to zillions of tiny pieces, flushing the toilet some trillion times, throwing toys/books/food/cups/any-thing-within-your-reach down the balcony, removing dirty and smelly diapers from nappy bin and hiding in your parents closet, showing your artistic talent on cream sofa/wall/carpet/any thing that looks clean, dialling some random number on cell phone, and taking off your cloths and running stark naked! Oh, you keep us quite entertained and make our life more adventurous with every passing day. Did we tell you that we do love to live life on edge?!!! (And sometimes have this inane urge to jump off!)
You love to play with building blocks, building really tall towers of unique structures. At the same time you like to brush your Amma’s hair and massage your Appa’s head with those cute little dimpled hands. You love to drive your parents crazy by refusing to eat your dinner and still understand when they need that special hug of yours to make everything alright! Bath time is still your favourite (although you insist on doing it all by yourself from pouring water to shampooing your soft curls) and drenching the person from top to toe who ‘tries’ to give you a bath seems like never ending story in our home. Your love for dance and music leaves me water eyed and proud. You want to be cuddled and kissed when you want it and run like a tornado when I try to squish you in my arms. Your favourite colour is still yellow and co-incidentally your Amma’s new wardrobe is piling up with different shades of yellow! You still continue to address cat, dog, pig, cow, rat, sheep, lion, tiger and every other living things with four legs and a tail ‘bow wow’ and shake your head vigorously whenever your parents try to correct it. You go to your own bed but somehow ‘always’ manage to crawl back into our bed in the middle of the night and sleep snuggling and touching your nose to one of our over sized nose. Your love affair with fruits has come to a sad end but your love for sweet corn and green peas is still growing stronger! You like to play out door than bundled up indoors and your current favourite ride is your blue and green coloured tricycle, only second next best thing to your dad’s shoulder. You are a true south Indian who likes his Rasam and Yogurt rice with papads and at the same time you have developed a taste for Italian and Mexican food. You prefer savoury and spicy food to sweet stuffs (just like your Amma… Thank goodness, you ARE my son after all ;) and this has made your dad sit and sulk in the corner!!! You give us tight hugs when we leave you at day care and look with puppy eyes making your dad seriously consider quitting his job and sitting at home. I gently (not) remind him that I am first in the queue and he’s got no chance of getting that privilege until I am breathing and kicking hard! All and all you are one happy, bouncy, inquisitive, delightful and super energised little guy who is begging to be lifted and smothered with bear hugs and deep kisses. The more we do it, the more we get addicted! I know we really are hopeless. But what can I say; we are in love, son… We are hopelessly in love with you…
You are kind and considerate towards people and animals and give your best dimpled smile and flying kisses to senior citizens (especially old ladies), common citizens (especially ladies) and young people (again young girls in every age group)! Yes, you are a ladies man and boy, I am amazed at how easily you go on flirting with them! I don’t want to think about how it will be in few years time… People who know you call you a funny guy and you really are funny little guy who knows how to make everyone laugh with your antics! The black furry cat from next door which gives your mom few shudders, is seen rubbing its face on your feet and twisting its rather fox like tail around your arm while you continue to address him ‘bow-wow’ in excitement!!! Every single bumble bees, butterflies, earth worms, bugs, slugs and snails are your pets and you can spend hours watching them with wonder and fascination! Although dogs and puppies still continue to be your favourite furry animals, you don’t show any fear for the creepy crawlies like spiders, lizards and even ‘oh-so-scary’ snakes and other reptiles! You are really brave boy who didn’t cry even when getting your immunisation shots (its different that both your parents were inconsolable and made a complete fool of them selves and have the doctor’s name scribbled down in their hit list), when fell down and got big ‘owie’ (I don’t even want to mention the embarrassing fact that I fainted when I saw all that blood on your knees and you daddy would have followed the suit if not for the fact that at least one adult(huh?!) need to be awake to apply the medicine and bandage the wound).
Lil Dumpling, you are brave enough to trust us to look after your happiness and wellbeing in spite of all our mistakes, shortcomings and lot of madness. We are learning son, with you, as we too will be 2 years old parents on your birthday. Sometimes we have the feeling that we are small kids playing daddy and mommy to rather beautiful, precious and wonderful baby. We just hope that we are doing it right and playing that part well! One thing is for sure, darling son, that our life was never half as exciting as it is right now, with you making it all the more colourful, joyous and just breathtakingly beautiful!
I always knew I am the clingy one in our family and is more attached to you, but these days the need for your time, attention, hugs and kisses all the time is making me giddy and light headed! There is only one explanation for my behaviour, baby... You are growing too fast, becoming too independent and don’t need me for everything! Have pity, my son, because I can’t see myself growing up at that speed… Let me cling to you for a while… Or may be for a lifetime… Well, even a lifetime seems too short now…
Your birthday is a special time to celebrate the gift of 'you' to the world. The world is your playground… A new year of your life has begun. I don’t know what you are going to wish for when you blow the candles. But I am wishing you a life full of laughter, fun, adventure, discovery, sunshine, love and happy times spent in a company of loved ones… Happy burrrrrrrrrrday, son!
Amma & Appa