Bathing is a torturous exercise that involves copious tears from all parties. The baby is simply terrified of this activity. And unlike his dad and mom who enjoy their massages, he does not think much of us gently rubbing him with oil and using (What we think) is the soothing touch.
We try changing his super-expensive, fragrance-free bath shampoo cum soap to the cheaper J&J ‘No more tears’
We try holding him to our chests during the bath
Still tears. And a soaking wet shirt for the bath-provider
We try changing the bathroom
We try to start by pouring a little bit of water on his legs instead of going straight for the eyes
Ah. Finally a break through. Winning formula – Water from bottom up, not top down. Then do the usual sequence of eyes, ears etc. Keep pouring water on baby at regular intervals without allowing him to go cold.
The baby is still not too impressed by the massage but is willing to keep up pretences so I can feel like a good mom.
In the midst of these challenges, there are the nice moments too. There is the sublime smile the baby sports while passing wind. There is the comical smile that accompanies poops, followed by an utterly innocent expression that says ‘what is that smell? Of course, it is not me’. It is like watching a David Dhawan movie. Which like all David Dhawan movies can only provide so much entertainment.
By the time his second month rolls around, we are ready for a little more paisa vasool. Where is the bit when babies look like the ones in ads – all cute and chubby and laughing at their moms?
The baby gives social smiles. Rather randomly at all moving objects in the house – mom, dad, patti, thatha, helper, red elephant in his crib mobile that goes round and round over his head.
As month two progresses, his neck is less fragile and we dress him in onesies that add an extra step of unbuttoning to diaper changes. But also look much much cuter.
He is sleeping a bit better. We get atleast four hours of continuous sleep most nights.
He flips onto his tummy accidentally a couple of times leading to much concern about SIDS and a couple of nights of watching him like a hawk.
He has been sleeping in his crib during the nights. But daytime naps have been on the aching shoulders of adults. Then his aunt sends him a bouncer and a swing. He hates the bouncer. He loves the swing. He naps in the swing like an angel. We ignore the guidelines by the American Association of Paediatricians to restrict swing time to not more than two half-an-hour slots in a day. We join the ranks of parents who would do anything to make the baby sleep.
The baby is awake more and is beginning to enjoy the playmat that his aunt sent.
Even though we are not aware of it, a transition is happening. As the baby moves towards completing his third month, he suddenly develops a HUGE interest in the world around him.
Everything is fascinating. The tubelight above his head is the first beneficiary of smiles for non-moving objects.
Then he gives a smile everytime he sees me. Ah, it is good to be a mom when that happens.
The baby is enjoying his outings. The first time in his stroller, he is petrified of the view of the big bad world. Walks are always undertaken with the keen sense that he would want to be carried halfway through.
Then one fine day, he looks about him in wonder as we undertake our (mostly) daily walks in the park behind our house.
We finally take him to the Botanical Gardens or rather the restaurant in the gardens where he looks around and then falls asleep on his Patti’s aching shoulder. Miraculously he stays asleep when we transfer him to his stroller.
Then we actually go to the Botanical Gardens, walking the path from one gate to another. He loves it.
Everyday there is something new. A couple of days, it is a furious attempt to roll from back to tummy. It is promptly forgotten the third day. Instead the baby chants ‘hunn hunn hunn’ an entire day. This is set aside for attempts to raise his head while he is seated on someone’s lap.
Yes, our boy has grown up quite a bit in the last three months. He is no longer a newborn but an infant. I already miss the tiny, curled-up creature in the crib next to me. But the active and smiling infant who has taken his place is even more adorable. I can’t have enough of his grins or the grape-black eyes with which he looks around in wonder. I sometimes look at him when he is sleeping, wanting to press him so close to my heart that he becomes a part of me again.
The wonder of it all.