As a teenager, wherever my daughter would go, it would seem like a tornado had just ravished the area. Patience, calmness and responsibility were words I would have never associated with her. And look at her now! The catalyst for the change has been that my rebellious and self-willed girl now has a girl of her own, whom she says she has 'made'. The tiny 'bundle of joy' has bound my daughter's hand and feet!
I feel as if I am looking at a complete stranger. I am surprised by the numerous and unending stream of terms of endearment showered by her on her baby. She knows that the baby laughs when paper is torn in front of her or when her mother claps. She now knows that when the baby cries in a particular way, it is time to feed her and when the baby whimpers in another way, it indicates that she needs a nap. I asked her,"From where did you learn all these?" Smilingly, she replied, "From her." And her 'teacher' peeps out with bewitchingly blinking eyes from a bundle of well-set clothes.
Sometimes, when I go near the baby, my daughter seals her lips with her finger and shoos me away with a "Shhhh, she is sleeping." She keeps on reminding me that her baby has a very light sleep and that she wakes up even by the sound of rustling leaves.
Once hesitatingly, I asked her, "Don't you feel anything while changing the dirty diapers?" The reply, with a smile again, is, "It is a pleasure." !!! So are cleaning up when the baby throws up and also having to wake up at night for the baby's needs.
In myriad ways, she tries to make the baby comfortable and happy.
In myriad ways, she tries to find out what the baby needs at which time.
A line I saw in an advertisement for baby food runs, 'It feels like someone has taken out a part of you and yet has made you complete.' How true!
It happens to every new mother; yet it seems to be a new thing every time.
A question comes to my mind - why has God made human babies so helpless and entirely dependent, unlike the young ones of other living beings? A calf starts walking and frolicking within an hour of birth. It takes so long for a human baby even to turn, let alone sit up or take the first tentative steps!
The initial total dependence of the human baby is perhaps deliberately programmed for human bonding and formation of human society.
I am reminded of a few lines from a poem by Byron:
And what am I?
A child crying in the night,
A child crying for light,
With no language but a cry.