Sunday, November 11, 2007

Just the four of us...

Step by step, one adapts to new realities in life. First life without my father around. Just nowhere. Cannot be reached even on the phone, letter or email.
The pain is not raw anymore but it is a dull ache each time I think about it.

Of course life does go on - we do laugh like before, celebrate moments that ought to be celebrated and reminisce and enjoy ourselves. We have celebrated the arrival of baby girl and we enjoy all the sweet moments between brother and sister - revel in the moment and feel good that we took the plunge and went for a second child. It is a lot of hard work, no denials - but at the end of the day when both kids are asleep in our room and we are together as a family, it feels good. Knock on wood. When kutti boy wakes up whiny from his nap, I just have to tell him "Here, look at kutti baby, she wants to see you" and put her next to him on the pillow and immediately his mood changes and he stars playing with her, gently poking her cheeks!

The last couple of weeks have been very hectic. It has brought forth a major change for us - especially for me - managing both kids alone without my mother around. She left to go to my brother's place and I am now alone with the kids until B gets home from work late evening. I used to do almost all the baby care work involved anyway - but when mom was here, it was great in so many ways. She doted on the kids and that made it so rich and lively for them during all their waking hours. I could spend whatever time it took to feed kutti boy without having to rush him because my mother would take care of baby girl in the meanwhile. B and I could breathe a little and take KB out to the park even if baby girl was asleep and not have to disturb her. Now the house feels empty without my mom's presence. Everything has to be on schedule - I have to watch the time - if I let one thing slip it leads to chaos. I have to nurse baby girl, make her take a nap and run down and get KB's brunch ready and feed him before she wakes up. If she wakes up by chance before that is done, I have to entertain her in the bouncer chair while feeding KB (who takes his own sweet time to eat, if I rush him, he will puke!). It is hard to sing a song for him peacefully or fetch his "Clifford big book" or "I can do it" book or draw a fan for the n'th time all while baby girl is on the verge of losing her patience waiting to be taken out of the bouncer chair. When my mother was around, I wondered how I would manage at all without her around. Somehow the children know and they do step up. They don't make it any easier, but they step up enough to make it just barely manageable. I once again bow to single moms or moms who have to handle it all alone for weeks on end when the father is traveling on work. I would simply go crazy.

We had gone on a trip to visit my SIL and also perform my MIL's first year ceremony. KB had a great time playing with his cousins. Baby girl was showered with attention and love not only from the adults but from all her toddler cousins, the oldest being 6 yrs old! All of them stood around her bouncer seat clapping hands and singing and kept her entertained. It was such a beautiful sight! I missed my MIL - she would have been utterly thrilled to see all that!

After we got back, KB fell sick with cold/cough and then both B and I fell sick. We are recovering now but I will be away again this Sat on another trip for a couple of weeks, this time without B. It seems scary - traveling alone with two kids even if it is a short flight - hope I survive it.

Well, one day at a time. I have managed last week without my mom around. It feels lonely at times especially with the time change - since it gets dark so early. It is hard to meet people when you or the kids are sick. And in turn friends or their kids also fall sick during winters - overall difficult to meet people often. Plenty of time spent alone with the children. It brings us all closer - we all rely on each other for comfort. We are together all the time like a team. But I long for some adult company and warm sun. The weekend was great - it was warm, the sun was shining. All of us went to the park and KB ran around and played to his heart's content now that he has almost recovered from his cold. I just ordered a double stroller now that baby girl's head is almost steady - so I can take them both for a walk in the morning.

Leaving you with a picture of baby girl who gave me my favorite pose for the first time last month end - her big toe in her mouth like baby Krishna! Not a clear picture but that is the only one I have right now!


Usha said...

It is so good to have close family around and share our joyfulmoments especially when the babies are growing up. And when they leave the vacuum strikes so hard but you also realise how thankful you are for having each other all the time and the children to brighten your lives.
That is a very beautiful picture of kutti girl - I love watching kids do that so effortlessly. :)

30in2005 said...

That is a wonderful picture!

And clearly you are coping very well on your own.

Tharini said...

Noonie...its sooo nice to see a post from you. I didn't realise how much I had missed reading you, until you posted today. And with such a cuuuuuuute picture of the little!!

CongratulTIONS on making it thru without your mom. There's something very strengthening in being the sole care giver of your two children, isn't it? That's what I relish each time. No matter how crazy it gets....I love that we can all go crazy together, at least. :)

I know what u mean abt getting dark, and dull spirits etc. I long for some sun too. I don't even mind that its cold so long as the sun makes an appearance everyday without being thwarted by the clouds.

Take care, enjoy your trip...and you will be stronger after that flight trip with both the kids.

Lots of love!

Rohini said...

I think you are awesome for managing two kids the way you did all by yourself. And people think working moms have it hard :)

I am sure you'll settle down just fine. Hope you have a good trip.

Poppins said...

What an awesome picture. And I knew you were busy traveling but still missed your posts !

It's great that you seem to be doing OK, it is hard to manage without help, but you're doing an awesome job. Way to go !

noon said...

Hi Usha
Yes the vacuum does strike hard. Silence is so loud in every room you go to when just one person is missing.
Thanks...I love to watch kids do that too!

30in05 - Thanks. Not sure if I am coping well - if the kid's cope well, then I cope well! :)

Tharini - Thanks on both counts...
Well the journey continues on. Being the sole care giver is quite demanding - I don't mind the work but I just feel bad when I have no choice but to ignore one kid and attend to the other - not as much time to enjoy and relish what they do - but like my cousin who went through the same situation says - that's all they need now - their basics being met with care and love. Baby girl is learning to fall asleep fast - I don't have time to keep rocking her - if I have to go downstairs and feed kutti boy I just let her fall asleep in the crib. Some days it works, some days she is more demanding. As long as one kid cooperates, I can handle the other! :)
I know - the sun makes such a difference!
We finished one long flight and got back. I have one short flight and a 2.5 week stay w/out B - visiting sisters/cousins etc, for NY's have one more long flight to attend a reception.
How much fun I have will depend on how the kid's cope! :)
Thanks T!

Rohini - thanks. Well working moms have a different juggling act to deal with...each has it's own problems and plusses. Working moms have it hardest when kid's fall sick - as I see it happen here with my friends...who takes time off today question, the guilt of leaving a sick child with someone else etc etc...not easy either way.

Poppins mom - thanks! :)
As I tell B - if I am able to make dinner for him, he has his children to thank! For giving those 20-30min to get dinner ready! :)

karmickids said...

Such a wonderful picture noon, and my heart went out to you. Hope you feel better knowing your father is definitely around watching kutti girl....the vaccum will never get filled, but time is the only healer. A pithy statement but true.

Collection Of Stars said...

I know exactly how you feel. My mom stayed with me for 6 months after KT was born. The house seemed empty after she left. Then my husband was away on a business trip for 3 months and I just about managed. But with 2 kids, I know it is much much more difficult - you have to ignore one to cater to the other. The scheduling every small thing and the balancing act just gets to you sometimes.
You seem to be doing a great job. All the best to you and I am sure your trip will go fine :)

Collection Of Stars said...

Missed to say, the picture is great - your kutti girl looks so cute and you captured it perfectly :)

DotMom said...

good to have you back noon! I know how it feels. The house feels so empty. Its not the chores that much, but the company and the camaraderie. But do encourage Kutti Boy to help you. You will be amazed at how delighted he will be to do things on his own. Keep us updated on how you are coping!

Anitha(Nikki's mom) said...

A touching post and a adoooorrable picture of the Kutti girl, Noon. Have been missing your posts and comments too. I cannot imagine managing 2 kids on my own without any kind of help. You are awesome! The "getting dark soon" thing gets me too. It just makes me feel gloomy and depressive. Trip may sound daunting now, but after you make it, you will be a stronger mom for your kids. Take Care!

Orchid said...

What an adorable picture...makes me miss Li'l A's baby years :(
You are doing very well, I can imagine how hard it must be but hang in there..once the kids get a li'l older it will be a li'l least that's what they say..have a good trip!

mnamma said...

Missed your posts Noon. KG looks so adorable - kutti krishni :) I can understand the empty feeling and the loneliness. It gets better but I think our children do miss out a lot with their grandparents. I do get frustrated even in this stage when M and N are a little grown up and understand things a little bit better. You are doing a wonderful job with KB and KG. Have a safe trip.

~nm said...

Awww..what a lovely picture! Super cute! You know when I saw my son doing that I even tried to do it myself :P

the mad momma said...

what a lovely post and topped with a lovely picture... here's a big hug to you for handling it all alone. I am often alone too but somehow being in India and having the parents an overnight journey away makes me feel braver. I've never had to call them but the knowledge that they are there gives me the strength. hang in there. In a year you will be better placed. I know a year is a long time but what choice do we have?! :)

Shobana said...

You are doing an amazing job taking care of 2 little children all by urself. As a parent I think we have the resiliency to adapt in any situation.

The baby looks so cute in that picture.

noon said...

Hi Kiran - time does make it better - you do heal in some ways. Except you cannot stop longing for "those days" when every one was alive and healthy and you took it all for granted!

CofS - thanks. Oh 3m all alone - even with one child - it can feel very lonely. With two kids if B were to be away for 3m he will have to come back and meet me in an asylum! :)
Thanks - picture was shot by B actually. It is a great pic but only can't see the big toe actually in her mouth - we have a great one of it for Kutti boy when he did it...

Dotmom - exactly - the company is what I miss. Even if I forget one thing upstairs all three of us go and come back down again. Even if I tell KB to wait for one minute he will come right behind me! He wants to do all the things I want to help him with on his own. And anything I want him to do on his own, he won't. Extremely adamant about some things. He carry his glass of juice and go up the stairs and if I tell him I will help him with the glass he will say no - sometimes so vehemently that he will shake and spill the juice!

noon said...

Hi Anitha - thanks so much...
yes, it is really depressing when it gets dark. I turn on the lights and sing and talk to the kids so we don't feel so lonely. But the silence is so loud esp when it is dark!
Trip - it's a short flight but I am visiting my two sisters/ cousins/friends - have to go to five difft houses and stay for a few days - don't know who to skip out on - every one wants quality time - anyway hoping kids wont' fall sick and we will have a good time.

Orchid - Thanks..
hoping that it is true - gets easier when they are older. Although yesterday an older person with kids who are now working said that it never really gets totally easier - just different worries at different times! :)

Mnamma - kutti krishni - I like that :)
Grandparents are a blessing for the children - just the best for them after parents - special kind of love.

Nm - thanks. That;s so funny. So were you able to do it?! :)

MM - thanks. I often think about you and wonder how you manage (even if you have a maid - it is still not the same) when the OA is away on work. Must be a ton of work. And you keep your house so clean on top of it - really really amazing. Also wonder about Bean's eczema - amazing isn't it - the coincidence - same age difference, boy/girl/ gentle types and kutti girl also has eczema. Am trying Vusion cream - not too effective. Have the next derm appt next month.

Shobana - thanks. Well as long as the kids are resilient (which I think they are) we somehow cope up with the work. I just feel very bad that I am unable to cuddle and enjoy baby girl as much as I would like to...just not enough time. Only able to take care of the basics!

Terri said...

What a cute photo with her chubby limbs! Makes me want to squeeze her.
I remember the solitude very well. I joined the local mom's club and discovered I had nothing in common with women who did everything on schedule, wore makeup, woke up at 6 a.m., went on date nights with their husbands and kept an impeccable house.
I did make one good friend whose house was a mess and she dropped in to visit Indian style, without announcing.
I don't know if the loneliness passes. I caved in when my youngest was two and joined the work force. Despite the maternal guilt that surfaces from time to time, I don't think I want to go back to staying home.

noon said...

Ter - thanks!
And thanks also for telling me this - I feel the same way - just dont' connect with the "perfect" women what with all my imperfections. I want a relaxed, say it is as it is chat - not the "oh, my kid eats veggies raw and sleeps 7 to 7 no problem, am such a great mom" type of discussion (even if it is true) !:). Date night with husband - wonder what he would say to that! :)
I dream of the day when kids will be more grown up and be able to manage some things on their own - much as I will miss all this then !:)

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

KG looks so adorable ... she is indeed a little doll.
I know it feels so void when close family is around for a while with you and they leave. But with time, you will soon get used to the new way of living.
Congrats on making it through the first week !!!

ddmom said...

Congrats on making it through the first few weeks mom. It will only get better :) KG looks adorable, very cute.
About ignoring one while taking care of the other, its not that you are ignoring, you are letting them do things on their own :) They learn to be more independent and responsible in the process, thats the hope anyway :)