B and I woke up to KG calling out to us as she always does from her crib this morning. For a second we forgot that today was her birthday. I nursed her and passed the cozy bundle that she is on to B. He took her downstairs and I went back to sleep. An hour later, B brought her back into the room (this is our usual routine) when KB woke up. As she came crawling to my lap from the edge of the bed, I suddenly exclaimed to B, "Oh my God, it is her first birthday!". My excuse is that I was really sleepy when I woke up at 5.30 am because KG woke up three times unusually last night to nurse and I had to wake up to take KB to the bathroom too.
From that moment on, I have been so aware of this feeling that she is now a one year old. One! Not 3m or 6m - she is one! I can hardly believe it. When KB turned one I felt like I noticed the time passing by. With her, time just flew by. Last year this time, I was in the hospital, just having delivered her. The dramatic, lightning arrival of this little tigress! That's what we call her these days. She is bold, strong willed, confident, playful, affectionate, expressive and utterly delightful to us. And in her own way she is calm, composed and patient. I can hardly believe sometimes how she has a distinct personality at such an early age. I remember how KB's pediatrician told me during his 3m check up, "You try to remember all his infant personality traits...twenty years from now, you will think back and say, yes, he was that way even as an infant". He didn't mean that people don't change, but there is some distinct personality that is so inherent to the person that you can observe at a very early age.
During my second pregnancy, when I was about to go for the ultrasound that would also give me a hint of the gender of the baby, I had no expectations. I was OK with a girl or a boy. If I had any thoughts, it was just that I wanted the baby to be healthy. It was quite the opposite during my first pregnancy, I actually was sure it would be a girl, I only dreamed of a girl and wanted a girl child. And it turned out to be a boy at that time. For the second child, when the doctor told me (it was at 13 weeks I think, very early on) that he is 80% sure that it would be a girl, I had no feelings either way . He was a very experienced and funny Japanese doctor. Later when it was confirmed that it would be a girl baby, I just took it in stride. I didn't think much of it. It was my sister who e-mailed me saying how special it is to have a girl child and how much she enjoys having a daughter (she is now in high school). I would have been very happy had it been another boy. But now that I have kutti girl, I can see why my sister sent me that email. I love both KB and KG just the same. In fact people often tell me I have an extra soft corner for KB. I just think it has to do with his being the first child and how I feel protective towards him just because he is more sensitive compared to KG.
There is a certain bond you feel with a daughter that you just cannot explain. A feeling that comes from the common gender? A feeling that she will understand? That she already does? When I see how much she has helped me cope with the days soon after my mother left, I want to write her a letter now and show it to her later as to how she saved me from agony by being such an angel. Eating fast, sleeping on her own when she was sleepy because I had no choice but to sit and give KB his lunch. I just did not have the time to rock her to sleep the way I did when KB was an infant. She smiles at me as if knowingly and thumps me with her warm palm on my nose and cheeks. She is certainly not an easy child just because of how extremely energetic and fast she is in every thing she does. She cannot sit still for a minute. Our constant gripe is that we cannot hold her long enough to feel her cozy warmth. She asks to be carried only to squirm and jump out of our hands to grab some object that caught her attention from that vantage point. She is demanding because she needs to be watched or she will speed to the stairs and climb with squeals of delight while we come chasing behind her. She is always testing the barricades we put up for weak points and escapes to forbidden zones like the bathroom or the garage or the yard when we are not right next to her. I drop the spoon when I am feeding KB and run behind her screaming, "Oyi....oyi...KG KG KG, no, no no, no stairs" much to KB's delight. He just loves it when she is up to some mischief and I run and stop her.
DhaDHa is how she calls her brother. She came up with it on her own. That he is DHaDHa. She stresses on the DH and screams loudly for him when she hears his voice on the monitor downstairs as soon as he wakes up. She is usually awake an hour before him and is downstairs with B. Her eyes twinkle with delight when she sees him in the morning or when B comes back from work. She shows her love for people in the most expressive and outright manner. She squeals so loudly as if to welcome them. She loves playing with KB and pulling his hair and laughs with innocent abandon that makes my heart feel so full with joy. She fights with him like an equal when she wants what he has in hand. Which is usually all that she wants. The moment he loses interest, she does too. She is very aware of what his things are it seems like. If she sees his hat, she crawls to him and gives it to him. She stands freely and cruises holding on to furniture. She took one step a couple of times but has not walked yet.
She recognizes some tunes - especially "Twinkle twinkle little star". If she is eating and suddenly she hears that tune on one of KB's toys, she starts swaying her head side to side. She loves to imitate my facial expressions. If I smile and close my mouth and again smile and repeat that really fast, she does the same thing really fast. She loves fake coughs. If I notice her coughing, she gives me a smile and gives me fake coughs again and again. She loves to hide in the school bus tent and play peekaboo. After a long day when she is ready for bed, even if I am cooking or sitting at the high chair feeding KB she just drops what she is doing and comes and clings to my legs. Her silent and calm communication at that moment just makes me feel so at peace. The feeling that she knows to communicate with me knowing that I will understand her need at that moment. KB is most gracious at such times (when B is not home) and doesn't mind the interruption to his feeding. I take her upstairs and change her diaper, turn down the blinds, turn on the music and leave her in her crib. And off she goes to sleep.
I am glad to have been blessed with a daughter and like my sister wrote to me, I can already feel how special this relationship is going to be. Like different ragas, they both bring me joy and delight in their own special ways. I wonder how it was when she was not around for us, for KB, before she came into our lives last year. As I write this, I think of the time when B was trying to convince me that we should go for a second child. Providence was on my side and I am so thankful that I didn't stick to my original refusal to go for a second. All that I have had to give up for the sake of having KG, I would do so again if I had to. She really does make the family feel complete. Knock on wood. God please keep them both healthy, happy and safe.
Edited to add: I was giving KB his dinner this evening when she came and stood next to me looking at KB. As if to give me a gift on her birthday, she turned towards B who had just come back from work and took her first steps. She herself looked thrilled at her feat! Just two steps a couple of times and that was our sneak preview into her next big milestone!