THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2006
Before I had my bundle of joy, frustration and hope, I used to read about instances of child abuse in the US and wonder how any mother could possibly harm her child. And then it came to me. The nuclear family today is just not geared for child rearing. Specially not if you find yourself moving city often.
You will find yourself moving into a new house with a huge belly, setting up home, tripping over your own feet doing housework untill you can organise house help and of course having to wear oversized clothing since maternity wear is hard to find, ugly and expensive.
And if you think this is the beginning of your troubles, you’re highly mistaken. You might think you will manage but you need to have atleast a dozen pieces of baby equipment that is neither easily available nor affordable in India.
You will also figure out that while strollers and prams of every size and description are available, you will rarely find a market where they can be used – unless of course you count the snazzy malls in Gurgaon. You might find a baby carrier but you will rarely find a corner to feed baby. Oh and if you need to change a diaper, dump all the paraphenelia on the floor because you certainly won’t find a changing table. I could go on but I won’t.
Be prepared to deal with squashed fingers, burns, bumps, bruises and bleeding and of course electric shocks. I am most often found seriously taping up a plug point only to undo it a few hours later to use it. Yes, my son has figured out that a little dedication can pull dummies out of a plug point. He has also discovered the pleasures of chucking toys off our third floor balcony only to watch Mamma scurry down to collect and come back huffing and puffing.
He has successfully dislodged the stay-put suction toddler bowl from his tray and flung the contents all over my hand embroidered table cloth. There is supposed to be a release tab that only adults can work – hmmm… maybe he has a job lined up in testing products. He has also managed to destroy a couple of very expensive break-proof baby toys. Yes, the other adult in the family has often wondered aloud why I bother to pick up such stuff. Kids get bored easily, says he. They need cheap toys that they can break and discard so that they can have new ones. Makes sense. In theory. But let him spend one day trying to get any work done knowing that his son and heir is busy pulling apart toys and stuffing pieces of them up his nose and mouth. I am only open to discussion after he has achieved that.
Having said that, watching him demolish each toy methodically is also a pleasure. Only a mother would see brilliance in the way her 10-month-old finds a way to get past childproof locks and genius in the way he tips over suction tableware.