I am not sure how my wife will react to it, the emotions I feel are surging to such an extent that she will know on her own. It is better that she hears from me about it first. Ever since she came, my life has been topsy-turvy roller coaster ride. She holds some divine power with her which makes be run around her like a mad man smitten.
Her name is Pihu. She is my daughter.
(Seriously, were you expecting a scandal ;)?
My baby daughter is a bundle of joy. I can spent a whole lifetime being with her, and never get bored of her tantrums. Sometimes when I look at her with me, the two of us present an amusing picture to me. When I hold her in my arms, it is an amazing feeling. I play with her, be stupid for her, laugh and giggle with her and my heart melts when she cries. It is really unbelievable that before her, I was very afraid to do anything remotely connected with kids. I was scared and thought that I cannot play with babies. And like any other man of my age, the thought of cuddling with a baby, taking care of her needs, changing diapers, cleaning bottles - none of these figured in the grand scheme of things I had with my life.
Then Pihu came and everything changed.
When I look at her I wonder, what was I really afraid of? Probably I thought I was incapable of such love. Probably I thought I will find it impossible for me to attend to her chores. Boy, I was so wrong. There is nothing that I will not do for her. And this is not because of some fatherly compulsion, but purely because I love my darling daughter, probably as much as I love my wife, if not more.
My most precious moments are the ones around bed-time. For, being a working man, during the course of week-days I get little time to be with her. My wife does an amazing job of attending to all my daughter's needs. But I try to do my bit when I am around.
Pihu is a ball of energy. Driven by Newton's First Law of Motion, she remains in motion unless we apply some external force. By force I mean, we need to divert her attention and try to get her to hop oN to her bed by engaging her in relatively sedentary tasks. Pihu love to run around, so this is not an easy task. Being first time parents we are still working on our process. Our rituals are set and reset every day!
Right now, our goal is to set up signals for her to know that it is time for sleep. We begin by changing the lights in our room. This is her first cue to know that countdown has started. It is time to change her into night dress and she loves that (thank God!). We put her into fresh pair of Pampers active baby diapers for the night. I think Pampers make the best diapers, we arrived at using those after lot of hit and trials with other brands. Ever since we started using Pampers, our baby's nights have been more peaceful.
We then take her to bathroom, and it is time for bed time cleaning of teeth. Isn't it the most difficult thing to do? She is already an independent women and wants to brush her teeth all by herself when she is just learning even to spit! After 5 minutes of struggle in which we let her do what she wants for few minutes, and then do what we need to for few minutes, it is time to get her onto her bed. We have crib-cum-bed alongside of our bed, and invariably she rolls over onto ours on some pretext of being with Daddy or Momma.
At this point, I begin my daily interview. I ask her what she did the whole day. And I get cutest of all answers. I have been told that "Masti kari", meaning she had fun, "Shaitani kari", meaning she was mischievous, and "Bali gaye thay", referring to our recent trip to Bali. She remembers something she had done in past and just likes to tell me all over again.
We give her last dose of milk and it is time to tell her stories of the world. Sometimes, she wants to listen to "Hanuman" - we have an app for Hanuman Chalisa and she likes the music and animation for some reason we fail to fathom. I guess reason does not matter anyways.
And thus our darling daughter becomes ready to embrace the sleep. Few days she is so tired by running around the whole day that she finds it difficult to even keep her eye open. And few other days, she is just not ready to sleep!
I guess all these little things still do help. Pihu is smart and has already associated the rituals with signals to get her body to take some rest. I feel that she is beginning to look forward to these small activities. While I can't possible imagine what she feels, I guess her eyes tell me that she feels loved and with these small acts of love, she is connected with us more than ever. I guess that is the reason she sleeps peacefully after the whole act!
As I said, we are learning, adapting. It is frustrating, drives us crazy and be generally mad at the world. Do we want her to grow out of this routine - probably never. For in spite of us having little control of the bed time rituals, those are probably happiest moments we share as family. These little pleasures of life are the most beautiful thing ever and keep me going through the rigmaroles of the day. I feel with this connection at the end of the day which puts our baby to peaceful sleep, we make her get the rest she needs and deserves. Who would not want their kid to wake up happy next day, just like in this ad below from Pampers?