Wednesday, April 30, 2008

warm fuzzy zones on the edge

she had soiled her clothes at a friend's place a couple of months back. my friend pulled out a t shirt that belonged to her niece and made sanah wear it. ofcourse, it stayed in sanah's cupboard and today i pulled it out for her to wear and she says, maya ki t shirt.

her memory is extraordinary. she psyches us with names of people and places she encountered months ago. almost every toy/book in her cupboard is traced back to who gifted it to her. songs, poems, words...i hope it is a developmental stage all children go through.

if not, then she will surely store in her pretty little head the past two days when i have been a really bad bad mother. snapping every two minutes, screaming every three minutes, and being hysterical all through.

i think i am finally reaching the edge.

parenthood was not an accident for us, nor was parenthood the natural and obvious progression in a committed relationship. nor had we meticulously planned it for the 'right' time. parenthood happened to us soon after we began thinking about the possibilities of parenthood.

and our choices as parents came pretty easily to us. we argued about baptism when i was pregnant, for him it was a ritual to make his parents comfortable, for me it was a ritual neither of us believed in. the arguments were theoretical, no one bothered asking us if we would baptise her. both of us began gallavanting with the baby soon enough- i was brazen about breast feeding any where, any time, he did not think there should/could be another way. film festivals, parties, meetings, even seminars, she had seen them all(and survived them)by the time she was six months old.

and soon enough we bagan travelling with her across the country, by air, by train, by bus. if neither of us could sit still in the house, nor should she.

both of us stayed at home with her for almost the first six months of her life. both nudging the other to go look for work. baby rearing, thats all we did. he lost out because he does not have breasts, but managed everything else, and i managed everything except getting her to burp.i have breasts, he has shoulders.

he took up work at the southern tip of the city, while we live far north. his daily commute adds up to three to four hours a day -crowded trains and dug up roads are part of the hitch hike.

i began editing my film, sanah attached to my hip (actually breast).

i completed my film and the routine was set- sanah at my hip while i worked

screenings, meetings, proposals, she was calm about doing her thing while she stayed around me. her little questions, her tiny demands, her assertion of her self, all effortlessly got enmeshed into my routine of work. from the time i would give her the glass of milk in the morning to the time she slept off at night, she was attached to my hip.

his routine had already pushed him into the role of the 'other'. her morning potty was their time together. they ate breakfast together. and he would kiss her to madness when he got back, after she was already asleep. she would open her eyes in irritation, growl at him and crawl into the folds of my body and fall asleep again.

that little warm body burrowing into my sides is pure pleasure. but i have to admit, i am ready to begin claiming my body back.

every nerve in my body is not the physical, practical side of reclaiming the body, its the mental shift that i have to make. i can no longer do it all. i can no longer do the 12 piece jigsaw puzzle with one hand, and type with the other.(although the 78 times we did the puzzle in the past two days should have made me adept at it blindfolded, and without hands!!!)

at my shoot last week i was more torn than ever before. it was an amazing experience for her. and for me, watching her look on at a different world from the one she is used to. and this is important to us, that she should not see our work as something that is apart from her. it should not be a world she has no access to -the zone where parents get lost. but at the end of a hot, physically tiring day, reading 'the cat with a hat' made me, ummm ...for one, not a very good orator... and that was the least of the problems.i was in a zone, whom was i kidding.

and when you are in a zone, self doubt comes snapping at the heels.

its time i start carving out 'my time' - and that includes work, the undisturbed cup of tea, and hmmm, what else? finishing the blurb on the cover of that book! (actually this is an exaggeration, my child lets me read my books as long as i read them out loud, you want to hear Mad Woman's Underclothes read out loud?)

but guilt is a warm fuzzy feeling that sits huddled just beside self

parenthood sits in a corner and smiles,and you thought you could leave guilt far behind???


Space Bar said...

I was getting worried and was just going to call.

There's no escaping the guilt, ya. Considering that our generation does uch more agonising than our parents ever did, it seems odd that we should correspondingly also worry so much. But kids do very well for our stepping back.

And really, when it's time for them to face all the crap that other kids give them, we will seem positively saintly despite all our apparent neglect.

dipali said...

Whew! So much introspection, and in the heat, too. Sadly, guilt seems to walk hand in hand with parenting. What to do?
Waise, I'm a firm believer in benign neglect- as Sanah gets older, you will slowly be able to carve out more time for yourself, and then,inevitably, miss the constant closeness of infancy and toddlerhood.
I think kids do forgive us all our tantrums as we do theirs:)
Hugs to both of you

Maggie said...

Aww, I know, Sur. The guilt is everywhere - I already feel guilty that Munch isn't getting half the attention Moppet got from anyone, including myself, and he's still in-utero!

Poppins said...

beautiful post Sur. It touched me a lot.