When I look back on the way I brought up the Bean I am not surprised at the way she’s turned out. Barely 4 days old she was plonked, in her car seat on the table of a car dealership. I sat there and did a dharna because they were not delivering our car. Old readers will remember the post I did with a picture of me stepping out of our new car, holding the barely week old baby.
They were giving the OA the runaround and he, gentleman that he is, was taking it on the chin. I lost my temper, checked out of hospital and limped there, sat down and waited. They were fine until it was the Bean’s feeding time. No doubt I covered up with a dupatta, but it sent them scurrying. It’s amazing how the sight of a nursing child strikes terror in the heart of louses. Anyway, we got our car and that was the first time the Bean was part of a political process. A few days later we wanted to take the Brat for a metro ride so the one month old Bean was slung back on my chest and off we went, getting down in Chandni Chowk for parathas.
But the one that really shocks most people is that we attended a huge global mela at the DND. Noida was a long way off from our house in Delhi but I wanted to go. I’m glad I did, because its been 5 years and the mela never returned. The Bean was about 16 days or so old and I took her in a Maya Wrap. We walked for hours which was a stupid thing, considering I was recovering from a cesarean, the OA carrying the 22 month old Brat. I look back on the trip and I can’t remember having any problems except not finding a bench or chair to sit down to nurse her.
There were stalls from Thailand, Nigeria, Egypt and Dubai, among others. And everyone asked me what the bag hanging around my neck was. I opened it a bit and let them peek in at the tiny baby curled up and saw horror writ large on their faces. Go home, they said, go home and rest. I smiled and walked on. I felt young and invincible and complete. I’d waited so long for my daughter and here she was and it just felt right to keep up the life I was used to. Anyway, I digress. There in the midst of the heat, mosquitoes and dust I saw a beautiful little cream crocheted dress with a chocolate ribbon around the neck. It was at least 3 years too early and frankly too elegant a dress for a child, but I was quite sick of pink and I fell in love with it.
I want that, I pleaded with the OA who was juggling the Brat on his shoulders along with the many packages he was carrying (couldn’t use a stroller because the ground was too uneven). He looked at me with pity in his eyes – clearly his wife had finally lost her mind. The huge dark lady in a turban, manning the stall caught the exchange and quick to make a sale took it down and told me she’d crocheted it herself. Once it was in my hands there was no giving it back. The lady then asked me who I wanted it for and I opened the wrap a crack to show her the tiny, burnt up, sleeping Bean.
That’s all it took. She cut her price by about 50% and gave it to me. I brought the dress home, hung it up in the Bean’s cupboard and waited. And waited. And waited. Because the darn Bean just didn’t grow into it. Finally last year she fitted into it and I wish I’d caught a picture of her then. Summer has come to Delhi and as I put her into the dress this year I realised she’d outgrown it and was looking rather coltish. I felt a little twinge. This was the first outfit I’d bought for the Bean after her birth and in true MM fashion it was completely useless to her right then and bought entirely on a whim. Here’s a picture of her in it, chronicled so that even if I eventually give it away, she can someday read this post and sue me for dragging her around when she was barely able to crack open an eyelid!
On the other hand, maybe she’ll remember that she was brought up to be fuss-free and fun and stay that way.