Antu is one month old and being a baby shes supposed to be. Feeding, sleeping and dirtying diapers by the dozens! If you want any more update on how shes cooing, how shes smiling, how shes following objects and how utterly butterly adorable she is, please contact "mymom at onlygrandmascandoit dot com".
Ashu is another story, of course! Do you know how you are constantly asking your child to use words and talk and speak and not just howl and cry and throw a tantrum? Let me tell you its not nice when they "actually" tell you! One day, in the middle of a tantrum over nothing, I asked her to just tell me what she wants instead of being angry. I kept on asking her and forcing her to just tell me what she wants and I ll do it! She told me in a clear tone, "Take this baby back into your tummy. I dont like this baby". If you want to know, I felt as if someone had pierced me in the middle of my heart. With a very sharp knife. Its not like I did nt have a clue. But hearing her tell it in her own words was shocking. And I realized what I was doing wrong. Since Antu arrived, Ashu has been totally with my mom. My mom plays with her, feeds her, bathes her, reads to her, takes her out on walks and does EVERYTHING. Even if I attempted to do something, Ashu insisted Paati do it for her and I relaxed. Little did I know that she was testing me. And on weekends, my mom, Hd and Ashu went out. One day to the Zoo, the other day to the park, pool, etc... And this little thing was being all cutesy cute with Antu. Kissing her and hugging her and asking me to feed her when she cried. Helping me to changer her diaper, dress her, bathe her,... She was fully involved. But apparently, she had missed me. And I did nt know.
Anyway, I hugged her and kissed her and took her to our room and talked to her. She said "You are not playing with me Amma". I reminded her that she only had to ask. Since she never asked, I relaxed. I told her to ask me if she wants anything and also promised that I ll spend more time with her and that I love her. Then slowly I asked her why she said she did nt like the baby. The star that she is, she immediately replied in a guilty tone, "I did nt mean it, Amma."(Naan chumma dhaan sonnen.) Of course, that statement broke my already bleeding heart into a million pieces.
Since then, I have been spending more time with her and for the first time in a month, all of us went out to the park on Sunday. Ashu had a super duper time with a couple of kids there and when we came back home, she announced "I had a jolly good time today, Amma". She has never said anything like that when she went out with her dad and grandma. Usually she replies with a yes when I ask her if she had fun. But I felt elated that this 3 year old needs this 30 year old only because I am her Mother. Even though her Paati is more fun to be with. Even though her dad carries her happily unlike me who makes her walk.
I ll always be there for you, Honey. I ll make sure you dont have to ASK next time. I promise.
I realized that it helps talking about Ashus school friends who have baby sisters/brothers. Ashu is close to S who has a 7 month old baby brother. Ashu has seen the baby a lot of times and played with him. So talking about S and her brother helped. Two of my friends are also expecting their second babies and Ashu is friends with their first borns, both girls. Telling her that A and S are also going to become Big Sisters soon helped. She now thinks that she belongs to a group and its cool to be a big sis! But I had done all this groundwork even before Antu arrived and I think thats the reason Ashu has let her live! Who knew she did nt need me but wanted me? I tell you, this parenting is killing me. A bit at a time. Sigh!
Something I realized after Bhavanis comment. Antu actually is quite low maintenance for a newborn. When Im not feeding her, shes sleeping. So its not that I did nt have time to spend with Ashu. The thing is whenever my mom is around, I completely unleash Ashu to her and totally relax. When we were in the US in March, my mom was doing everything for her and I did nt lift a finger. Since my mom is the only person who can take care of Ashus every need next to her parents and my mom loves to do that, I let go. I don't get a break like that often, so don't blame me! And Ashu did nt have a problem before. But now that Antu is in the picture, its difficult for her digest the fact that though Im not spending time with her, I'm spending some time with Antu and shes jealous. Paati is just not enough now. And I get her. Oh boy, don't I get her! I do that even now with my mom. Its OK if my mom is sitting idle without talking to me. But if shes talking to my sister and not talking to me, I go ballistic. I'm just going with the flow for now. I don't have any set plans to execute but understanding the problem is half the battle won, right? Or is it not? I ll know it in a while.