Happy third birthday, Bean

My darling, darling, little menace, Bean,

I’d always thought I’d have a menace of a son, but you can see who grabbed that title. By the way, have I ever mentioned how apt your name is – Bean! You ARE full of beans. I chose the name after a babycentre mail described you as being the size of a bean, in utero. Funnily, you haven’t grown much even out of the err.. utero.

The last year has been particularly troubling as friends grow in leaps and bounds and you stay tiny and petite. Your ankles and writsts so delicate, they might snap, your feet slowly outgrowing their resemblance to your father’s ugly stubby extremeties, and your fingers turning longer and slimmer – could you please stop biting your nails, though? You get that from your nani although she swears she’s never bitten them in front of you. Hellooo – there is that little matter of genetics.

If there were any doubt on the gene issue however, it becomes clearer everyday. You are a spitting image of my nani – tiny, slim, spitfire, intelligent, always laughing, vivid imagination and so on… You have a heartshaped face and neither your nani nor I are a patch on her. I think we’re both suitably grateful that you look like her. The jury is still out on what we think of you getting her impetuous, tempestuous nature.

‘She looks just like you..’ people say and I look at them in shock. What? My beautiful, delicate baby…? Not at all, I want to say and I’m not being modest. I don’t see the similarity between my flat, broad features and your delicate pixie face… But I remember the same scene over and over again – years of visitor telling my mother that I look like her, and your nani looking quite annoyed – how dare they say her beautiful daughter looked like her… surely her daughter was a beauty!

Maybe its a family thing. Maybe we think the world of our daughters. Maybe our daughters are a distilled version of us, each generation a little sharper featured, a little sharper tempered, a little sharper..

I’m trying to look back on the last year and tell you what it’s been like, but we’ve already got the blog to do that (go read my archives when you’re old enough and care!). Let me tell you other little details I might have missed.

Did I mention your hair is a mess. All the time. And that getting a comb through it is impossible. My grandmother had a bengali explanation for it – quarrelsome women have knotty hair, she’d say, struggling to comb her own and then mine. You see the pattern? We’re planning to shave your head in the summer holidays because this is the last year I have the courage to do it. I want to shave my head too, but your father will have a shit-fit if I do, so you’re going to have to do this alone.

They say the first borns seek attention *koff koff* because the second borns get it. In our case, we did our best to give the Brat attention after you were born and I think we went overboard because you’re the little attention seeker in the family.

You are quite the hostess and if people drop in (which they always do, without warning) and I am unavailable for a few minutes, you walk into the living room and make conversation with them. If you like a particular guest, you feed them chips until they beg you to stop.

You come up with priceless rejoinders and as I prepared you for your birthday party yesterday, trying on dress after dress, you rolled your three year old eyes and said – Aren’t you done with me yet?

No, I’m not. I’m never going to be done with you. Even when you’re a mother and when you’re a grandmother, I’m not going to be done with you. All I know is that I think the world of you. When you’re thirteen and you hate the world, with your mother topping the list, I’ll send you back to this post. Then you can see her eyes shining with love and adoration and maybe we’ll weather that storm like we did the one this morning as you refused to eat your breakfast. You’re certainly a stubborn little so-and-so.

We’ve had a few showdowns over the past couple of weeks and as Cee mashi says, we just need to be more stubborn and carry through the threats we make. A few days ago you refused to climb into your car seat. You refused to get into the car at all, actually. So I said we’d leave. You called my bluff, so your father and I left you and drove away with the Brat. It was our local  market with all shopkeepers who know us well and they grinned. We didn’t go far – barely 3 meters, but you came running behind us – while the Brat was in the car, howling for you.  Damnit, but disciplining you is hard with the Brat’s constant interference. Remember to cover up for him when you grow up – you owe him a LOT.

A few days ago you broke another house rule and I told you that people who wanted to live in our house had to follow house rules. To which you tilted your chin stubbornly and walked out of the door. I shut it behind you and told you to be careful that the garbage man didnt mistake you for the garbage and take you away. You sat there for five minutes before your imagination took over and you came banging on the door – ‘Mamma, the koodawala is here and he wants to take me away… let me in!!!!!’ Crisis averted.

You have a vivid imagination and you’re as much of a little mother as I was known to be. Your family of elephants are carted around in your arms or in a  little wheelbarrow and the Brat is shoved to a corner of your bed as your family of elephants shares your bed. To his credit, the Brat’s been rather accomodating about your obsession.

On other days he wakes up and scoots across the bed to you.. putting his big head on your skinny, frail chest – and you stroke his head and pat him back to sleep. I walk into your nursery some mornings to see you two awake, hugging each other and lying in the silence and the comfort of familiarity, looking out the window at the palm fronds swaying in the breeze.

For all your dadi-amma behaviour, your precociousness (which I can’t stand and am proud of in a very strange, detached way), you are my little tail. At times I enjoy being the centre of your world, at others it brings out the worst in my impatient nature. But your attachment shows through in everything you say or do. You tell me me to sleep in your lap… and then as I lie down, you stroke my head and tell me stories that always revolve around mummies and babies. Sometimes fathers and brothers make an appearance, but your world is mostly full of mummy and you.

You pick up a terracotta turtle and bring him to me. “Where’s his mamma?” you ask. I shrug, waiting for you to bring this tale to its conclusion. You cup him in your little hands and coo at him. Gently stroking him with a tiny finger. “She’s gone for a walk… but don’t worry baby turtle, I’ll take care of you, don’t cry…” I glare at the decorative turtle balefully and say ‘”What’s he crying for? Shall I give him a whack?” No no… you say…. “He’s only a little baby. We can’t whack babies.”

Hmm… you have your theories clearer than I do. I have to admit that in the last few months you’ve felt the weight of my hand on your skinny backside. You have a willingness to play by the rules, you understand routine and you know what needs to be done. But I notice you flouting them all the time. Not because you truly don’t want to do something, but because you want to create a scene and want to be fussed over and pleaded with. Thats mostly early morning when we’re rushing for school and you end up getting a whack and I end up carrying the guilt for the rest of the day.

Your eczema has mostly gone but you keep developing all sorts of skin problems and I took you to the doctor recently for yet another rash. As we sat there, you letting her examine you, chattering away like a monkey, I gave her a quick rundown of your history. And she looked at me and smiled her admiration saying – For a little girl with so many problems she’s remarkably cheerful. That’s it. She hit the nail on the head. I’ve seen kids with skin problems and asthma and a  lot of them are understandably cranky. I’ve heard them cry and fret and my heart has gone out to them for the problems they’re undergoing. And yet I don’t notice or realise how many problems you have day after day, from your never ending cough, your runny nose, your rashes, your tiny frail body, your stick like arms – because you’re just so full of energy and hope and sunshine and cheer. It took an outsider to tie it all up together for me. I don’t notice anything other than the larger than life spirit inside the tiny little body that is half the size of its contemporaries. Here’s a picture of your father sleeping on your tiny little shoulder as we wait for yet another doctor’s appointment.

You are a little parrot. Unlike your brother who is slow to show that he has twigged on, you repeat everything we say, after us, and then happily reproduce it to anyone who has time to spare. I tried to guilt myself about neglecting you, given your brother’s learning issues. But I see its not made a bit of a difference. And I guess it all evens out in the long run because he was exactly your age when you were born with eczema and we ran from doctor to doctor with you, sparing him only time for the essentials. A year to you, a year to him.

A few weeks ago I was teaching the Brat his letters and you kept getting in the way  – finally I gave you a pen and a piece of paper and this is what you did –

Your montessori class is nowhere near teaching you to write – and there you were, not even 3 years old, writing your alphabets with no one to teach them to you.

I took the paper from you and felt my heart break just a little bit. Were we neglecting you to the extent where you have to even teach yourself. And then I couldn’t take it anymore. Between your physical issues and the Brat’s learning problems – your father and I are torn. We struggle to keep both of you going and this wasn’t a bad thing. This was a good thing. You refuse to eat while the Brat quietly shovels food into his mouth. The Brat refuses to study or even do half his syllabus while you soak up the learning in the air like a little sponge and reproduce it for us. Your father and I should be thankful to the two of you for helping us along, for doing what you can. I hope you don’t see the stress on our faces and the physical exhaustion as day after day we work with both of you in different ways and try and hold down jobs and run our home to keep it comfortable and safe for you.

I’d like you to appreciate it just as I would want you to appreciate any effort anyone makes for you – but thats about where it begins and ends.

You’ve grown into a real little girl now – brushing your hair in front of the mirror, wanting to ‘look pretty’  – Mama, am I looking pretty? Mama, can I wear lipstick? Not now? When I’m a big girl? Mama put some perfume for me also!… ‘ and so on. But within minutes you and your brother are back to rolling on the floor and wrestling, having burping and farting contests and I’m wondering how you’re ever going to grow into a lady! And with that I abandon all hope of you ever growing into the woman I have hoped you will. Simply because even in these three little years I have realised that I have neither the imagination nor the wit to even begin to imagine the person you’re going to grow into. You will far surpass my imagination and dreams.

You are fearless, you are confident, you are brave, you have a wicked sense of humour that I envy, you are self assured, you are bright… and I am a mad mad mother.. mad about you, that is.

Unlike your cautious brother, you don’t look before you leap. You take that leap of faith and then glare at us if we’re not around to break the fall. You are used to be served and adored and taken care of. You throw yourself into things with abandon, you fall out of trees, you tumble down the slide, you walk into doors, you trip over your own feet and you dust yourself off and stand up each time. You love new experiences and be it horse riding or the swings  – you reach your arms out high and want to take a huge bite out of life. As I push you on the swing in the playground you scream, ‘higher mama, higher..’ And I push you higher and higher, my heart in my mouth… Unable to stop myself because you don’t want me to. Your eyes are burning with life, your little body pushing hard as you soar up… your laughter fills the air and I carry that image around with me… my lovely, lively daughter, my little princess…

God bless you



120 thoughts on “Happy third birthday, Bean

  1. Happy Birthday Beanie baby. Shot off an email to your Mamma just now (hard to forget your birth date – Ides of March and all – considering how much we all waited for you with bated breath 3 years ago!) and came back to read this..

    Precious sunny child – stay happy! God Bless.

    Psst..And stick close to your brother – when his handsome friends start coming home, you shall reap the benefits *evil grin*

  2. Ah yes, the Bean and the Guy share a birthday!

    Happy birthday, Beanie baby. May you always be cheerful and happy.

    Best wishes from the mashi you entertained so kindly when she turned up early to meet your Mamma.

  3. This has got to be the most beautiful post in the world. I am sharing this post with a few mothers, including my own. (I didn’t notice a fb or tweet button.) I have felt every bit of love that is evident in this post. These aren’t words, Momma; if your little girl every asks you what love is, show her this. It will tell her.
    I hope the birthday girl had a noisy, rambunctious, completely tiring birthday party.

  4. Happy birthday Bean…you share Starry auntie’s wedding anniversary 🙂

    Loved this post, MM. Can see my kids mirrored in these glimpses of yours! Hang in there, MM, you’re doing a fab job. It’s difficult to give equal attention to 2 different children at the same time…over the long run, I think what you’re doing for them both is balancing out.

  5. Birthday wishes to your baby MM.. This letter has the right amount of everything that she would love to read when she grows up and I am sure she will care enough to treasure this blog of urs.

    Best wishes!

  6. happy bday Beanie! sending u lots & lots of good wishes!

    MM – you made me cry despite the fact that im not married or a mom! your love for the Bean jumps off this page and grabs my heart…makes me miss my mom a little and wish that i have a daughter too! 🙂

  7. That was one beautiful post to your daughter.
    Am sure she’ll appreciate it when she’s old enough to read and understand it.
    Much love to Beanie baby on her B’day.
    God bless you and your family.


  8. What a fantastic post MM…am sure the bean is going to love reading it when she grows up! Happy Birthday to the lill bean – love reading abt ur kids antics

    p.s. the koodawala bit and the can’t whacky babies bit is 2 cute!!!

  9. Happy Birthday to the little Bean.God Bless the little imp!!
    Their growing up stories always take me back to the time when my two were that age.
    The brat is very similar in disposition to my first born, Rohit & the Bean is just like my not so little but very naughty Nisha.
    They’re all of 11 & 9 now & it’s the little one who’s had the cut brow,bleeding finger & frequently scraped knees with her madcap rushing into things without fear rather than her more calm & wise elder brother.
    She’s already into experimenting with nail colours & trying out Mama’s lipsticks & a dozen scoldings bring huge tears & sorry’s & it’s back to square one after a while.
    At the same time she loves playing football, climbing rocks & is a total daredevil tomboy.
    She drives me to despair with her stubbornness but she’s the first to give me a hug if she senses I’m tired or low.
    Here’s wishing you both lots of beautiful times together as the little bean grows!

  10. Happy Birthday to the sweetest li’l jelly bean!I pray that she’ll always be blessed.

    BTW, the pic with her dad sleeping on her shoulder is so beautiful!I’m sure she’s going to love reading this post over and over once she starts reading~!

  11. Beanie, I started reading your momma’s blog around the time you were born and it has been wonderful to see you grow up through your momma’s eyes. The only thing I want right now is to hug you tight and kiss you. Happy Birthday, sweetheart. 🙂

  12. she’s three? THREE? waaaah! sigh! Well, happy birthday, firecracker 🙂

    and I have almost the exact same saree! Same colour, embroidered similarly in copper and silver thread.

  13. Happy birthday to the fiesty one-the second one is always so right?
    beautiful post- your blog will be a priceless treasure for your kids…

    btw, your look sexy in the sari- beautifully tied, something i struggle with all the time.

  14. Happy Birthday to the little princess..

    Mad Momma, Where did time fly? I have been reading you for THREEEE years!(?)

  15. happy birthday to you beanie girl. You seem to grow prettier by the day and do you even have any idea how many people, who haven’t even met, you, adore you!
    Have a great year baby.
    Love and hugs

  16. Happy BirthDay Beanie!

    /You have a willingness to play by the rules, you understand routine and you know what needs to be done. But I notice you flaunting them all the time. Not because you truly don’t want to do something, but because you want to create a scene and want to be fussed over and pleaded with. / – This is exactly how my 3 yr old daughter is. (Well, she’ll be 4 in a couple of months). She drives me crazy, to the limits of my patience. I’ve walked out too, trying to discipline her. It lasts for a day. Hope this is all a ‘phase’. Hugs.

  17. Happy Birthday Baby Bean! May God give you everything your parents and the brat want for you and may He also give you everything you could possibly want for yourself and keep you and your brother healthy and happy always!!!

  18. Dear Beanie, many many happy returns of the day! May you continue to take a huge bite out of life! You have a mind of your own, may you find contentment in both your heart and mind 🙂 May you cherish and live life to the fullest always!

    Love and a soft hug,
    Anjali mausi

  19. Happy B’day Bean!

    MM- As usual lovely post, you’re a gifted writer. My daughter turns 4 today and she too has very cheerful disposition. I can relate to this post very well.

  20. Happy Birthday Bean! MM, this is such a beautiful note to your daughter!
    One more thing from the pics…such a well-dressed family!!

  21. Such a lovely post!

    I love the Bean hanging on the swing like she cares none! Free spirit alright! 😀 Way to go!

    Happy Birthday Dear Beanie. I hope you have many many many more 🙂 Mwaah!

  22. I can’t believe Bean is three already!

    Happy B’day darling Beanie baby — you’ll always be a baby to this masi, even though now you are a big little girl! 🙂 Lots of love, hugs and blessings my baby — may you always remain the lovely, lively fiery little girl we love!

  23. Beanie – Wish you a very very happy birthday! I can’t believe you are three already! You look so lovely like an angel!
    Lovely post MM!

  24. Every time I read a birthday post, I really wonder how time flew so fast! It seems like only yesterday the Bean was born, and now she’s three!!!
    Happy birthday, Beanie!

  25. Is that a halo I see around you Beanie, in that photo in your fairy dress?? I bet it is one!! Special lil’ imp goddesses always get one.

    May that halo always surround you in all its goodness, forever and ever. And if you want o escape the heat and your mamma(!!!) this summer justlet me know. You can come here to sunny, pleasant California and bask on the beach in a an itsy bitsy swimsuit while you lord it over my son.

  26. A Belated Happy Birthday to baby Bean! I saw a photo in one of your recent posts and thought to myself ‘She’s grown!’ and the next time I come here there’s a birthday post for a three year old 🙂

    How did the birthday party go?

  27. Happy birthday Beanie Superstar!!! You are one lucky girl, a mum who writes such beautiful birthday posts which you will cherish when you are all grown up and wearing make-up of your own and possibly even giving your mum some make-up tips :)) Gos bless lil one :))

  28. did you not cry writing this.. I had tears in my eyes reading it..She is such an adorable child..I treasure those few moments also spent with her..

  29. Happy Birthday, Beanie. God bless you, you precious child. May you always be the firecracker that mommy says you are. Hugs.

  30. Happy birthday to the little Bean who convinced me that wanting a baby girl with a passion was the right thing to do. Have a wonderful year sweetie pie. Give your mother hell.

  31. happy bday to bean! that pic of hers with her dad reminds me of a portrait or a poster or something, I cant remember, sweet it is!

  32. Happy Birthday Beanie. May you always be cheerful and naughty.

    MM how do you tie saree so perfectly? Plus you carry/maintain it so good even with running behind 2 naughty kids.(I do remember you do it well with just 2 pins!!!)

    • 🙂 i think its just plain habit now. i wasnt always so comfortable. but i was ashamed to even THINK that as an Indian I coudnt be comfortable in it and so i began to wear them everywhere. now I chase the kids in them at parties – wear them to work.. everything.

  33. MM, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, delurking for the first time to wish the Bean a very very Happy Birthday!! I love reading about your babies, they sound so precious and wonderful!! Please do put up some more of your older posts here.. the ones that you did when they were younger!

  34. Happy Birthday bean……May you always stay the same …… and hope you have a great day………(and your momma an even better day ) 🙂

  35. What a lovely lovely post, its the best bday gift u cdve given her, tho she may not know it now.

    As I read this, I got quite emotional, she sounds so much like my soon-to-be-3 boy. Except that he is *very* cautious. From the frailness, to the perpetual cold-cough (he has respiratory allergies) to flaunting rules, learning to write the alphabet on his own, and the best part… loving me no end 🙂 🙂

    Happy Birthday Beanie, I hope you always have that spirit, u get that from ur momma for sure !

  36. Sigh, third already?! I still remember when MM said she was looking forward to having a baby girl, and then OA’s post about your arrival… time flies, little one. You’re wearing fairy princess dresses already! Hope you had a fun day, Beanie.
    Pics please, MM?

  37. this is a total awww inducing post… loved reading it and i am totally misty eyed

    god bless her today and always

    happy birthday bean and i like that advice there by the wise poppy aunty stick to it 😉

  38. I wish there had been internet when i was growing up. I’d love to have gotten a post like this from my mom.
    but i should’nt be ungrateful…i still end up getting the stories first hand.

    the bean is very lucky. When she is old enough to read and understand this, she’ll love it. Because that’s usually the age when kids/teenagers need validation the most. when they need to be reminded that they are important.

    i don’t know why they/we forget. You post made me get all emo for my mom.

  39. Happy birthday Beanie! I know this is awfully late, but still.

    Needless to say, I loved the post. Reminded me of your monthly updates.

    P.S: I wouldn’t worry too much about the Brat’s learning issues. He’s going to be a beach bum, remember?

  40. Beeanie you are growing up so fast! I am remembering the day OA did a guest post that said – “the bean has sprouted”. 🙂

    Happy Birthday missy.

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