Monday, March 31, 2008


For once, my darling, your Mama is at a loss for words.

Happy birthday, baby of mine.

This day that year - III

March 31, 2006

4:00 AM

It's taken me a while to figure it out, but I finally realise that these mild cramps I'm feeling must be contractions.

8:00 AM

"It's started!" I announce happily to husband and mother. "Actually, it started about 5 hours ago."

"5 hours?!" The husband springs into action "Let's go then! I'll get the suitcase. Can you get to the car? Should I call the doc? Where are my pants? Where's the blue notebook? Where's my stopwatch?"

I am feeling strangely calm, but the husband does not quite appreciate my being so zen. He hops around timing my contractions as I have a light breakfast and take a shower.

"Come on! Let's go, let's go, let's GO!"

9:30 AM

"Everything's looking good," says the doc cheerily, giving me a friendly pat on the hip. "But it will take a while - you're only 3 cms dilated. So make yourself comfortable, I'll check on you later."

Now that we're actually in the hospital room, the husband and mother have relaxed somewhat; and we settle in to what looks like will be a long wait.

Every once in a while, the assistant doc comes in to check the fetal monitor. The contractions are getting stronger, but not by much.

Time appears to have slowed.

This is b-o-r-i-n-g.


11:30 AM

The assistant doc and a couple of nurses burst into the room.

"Lie down, please. We need to give you some oxygen."

"What? Why?" I am bewildered.

"Nurse, start an IV," the doctor barks. To me, she says, "The baby appears to be in some distress. We'll see if things get better with oxygen."

"But how, I'm not feeling anything! What is causing the distress? What's different? What do I need to do?"

I feel like I've forgotten how to breathe. My mom looks like she's going to faint. The husband grabs my hand and squeezes it.

"Just stay calm. It may be nothing. We'll just keep monitoring for a little while."

12.00 noon

The baby's heartbeat is way above normal. It appears my contractions, puny though they are, are still too much for the baby.

My main doc arrives. They rupture the amniotic sac and find that the fluid is meconium stained. Apparently the baby is so stressed out at having to be born that it's pooped itself.

We listen in disbelief as our doctor explains that in these circumstances we have no option but an immediate C-section. The danger to the baby is real and immediate.

Assorted forms are thrust in my face, and I sign them shakily. I am crying hard. I had played different birth scenarios in my head several times, but none of them had involved any possibility of the baby's life being at stake. My own, yes. But not the baby's.

Never the baby's.

1:05 PM

"It's a girl!" the doc announces over the baby's thin, reedy cry.

"She's ok, right? She's ok?" I yell, or at least try to. I've been given a spinal anasthetic, so I'm fully conscious, but it appears to have triggered a major shivering fit. My upper body is trembling uncontrollably, and my teeth chatter as I try to talk.

The husband, who has been sweetly crushing the bones of my left hand all through the surgery, unceremoniously drops it as he reaches out to hold his daughter for the very first time.

"She's fine," says the doctor "We got her out in time."

She proceeds to explain something about delivering the placenta, and how I'll feel something or the other, but I can no longer hear what she's saying. All I can see is the little pink blob that my husband is proudly holding near my face.

It's squishy, and pink, and loud, and look - I can see tiny fingers curled over the edge of the swaddling blanket.

"Hello, Moppet!" are my eloquent first words to my daughter before the tears and laughter come together and render further speech impossible.

Welcome to the world, baby girl!

Friday, March 28, 2008

This day, that year - II

March 28, 2006

The time, 8:30 pm:

The bottle is small, the liquid in it a thick, clear gold. It looks quite innocuous; inviting even, but I know how vicious its contents can be.

Should I, shouldn't I? I turn the bottle around in my hand.

Heck, I can't take this any longer. I just want this to be over.

I add one tablespoon of the liquid to the tall glass of strawberry squash standing ready on the table and stir.

A deep breath, a quick look into the still swirling red depths, and then I gulp it down in one shot.

The effect is immediate. And terrible.

I clutch at my throat, retching and coughing so much that my eyes almost pop out of my head.

Earlier that day:

'Sorry to have kept you waiting', said my doctor, not looking or sounding sorry at all. 'I just delivered Hrithik Roshan's baby. A gorgeous baby boy. Susanne had no trouble at all.'

'Much as that gladdens the heart, Doc, what would really make me happy is if you would tell me what you're going to do about this baby of mine which is refusing to come out.'

Having been told on my last visit that the baby's head had 'engaged' I've been expecting to go into labour for a whole week, and getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of action.

'Castor oil,' suggests the doc. 'Works almost every time.'

'Castor oil? Blech! What are my options?'

'Well we can wait another week or so....'

'I see. So will you write me a prescription, or do I pick it up at my local store?'

After the first dose, 8:40 pm:

'ACK! AUGH! GRRRHAH! I've brushed...GAK!...three bloody times. This is all YOUR fault!'

'Mine? How?' The husband is genuinely surprised.

'Let me count the ways. First, for getting me pregnant. Second, for passing on your lazy bum genes to this baby who doesn't want to come out. Third, because I'm the one suffering and you're not. And fourth...'

'...well I think we're better off with a baby who has my lazy bum genes rather than your manic-bouncing-off-the-wall energetic ones!'

'Oh you do, do you? You can drink the next dose then. I'm NOT having any more. NO! I'll stay pregnant for another month if I have to!'


Edit: I realise there's some confusion on account of me being currently pregnant. The 'This day that year' series of posts is about my first pregnancy, leading up to Moppet's birth on March 31, 2006.

Monday, March 24, 2008

This day that year - I

March 24, 2006

The Big Blue Sofa

I am yelling at my husband. Again.

"You and your #$@% veto! I don't want to hear that word any more, unless I'm the one saying it! I swear if we can't agree on at least one boy name and one girl name soon, I'm going to go with my own choice. You can veto till you're blue in the face, I don't care!"

He is sprawled on our enormous blue sofa, cushions precisely arranged to ensure that his angle of recline allows him a straight line of vision to the TV. Assorted remotes and a late-night snack are laid out on the broad arm of the sofa.

He flashes his crooked, boyish grin at me. "Relax, will you? Look, I've set everything up. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Come on!" He plumps up the cushions he's arranged for me.

I mutter evilly about lazy fat asses as I heave my bulk in next to him, but I'm not really upset. The big blue sofa seems to magically expand to accomodate us - the husband, who no one can accuse of being a small man, me, fully nine months pregnant, and four outsize cushions, so big that we sometimes use them as floor cushions.

The sofa was the first piece of furniture we acquired after we got married, custom-made for us in Bangalore by a friend in the furniture business. We had no idea what he was sending us, having told him only that we wanted an L-shaped sofa, and that it should be blue. I was quite nervous until it arrived, 2 pieces that fitted in an L shape, each the size of a twin bed. It was deeply blue and absolutely perfect.

When we are at home, our life plays out on the sofa. Talking, eating, reading, watching TV, playing Scrabble, fighting, making up (and out ;-), and falling asleep cuddled up against one other with the lights still on. We have spent the better part of 3 years on this sofa, so much so that its grooves appear to have moulded to fit our bodies.

Tonight, I stretch out in my groove and adjust my husband's arm around me as the familiar opening track of Star Trek: TNG plays. I know this baby is coming soon, and that life as I know it will change for ever.

What I don't know yet is that in just a few days, when we come home from hospital with our firstborn, the beloved blue sofa will be the first place she will rest her head.

Just found this picture of Moppet on the sofa, napping by the window after her bath. It's not her first day at home, but she's certainly not more than a week old in this one. She would spend most of the day on the sofa, and move to her crib only at night.

Sadly however, this is not a tradition that Munch will have the pleasure of following. When we moved to Bangkok, we thought long and hard and eventually gave away / sold all our furniture and appliances, including the sofa.

My only consolation is that the sofa went to another young couple like us who were furnishing their first home. I hope it is part of as many fond memories for them as it was for us.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Baby talk

We were at a loose end this morning since Moppet had no school, so we decided to go visiting. S and Moppet are in the same group at school and are friends (to the extent that 2-year olds can be friends). Also, S has a 4-month old baby brother, and I thought it would be nice for Moppet to see the baby and play with him a little.

It all started out very nicely. Having been repeatedly told to be on her best behaviour on the way over, Moppet's first words to S when we reached her house were, 'S, no fighting, ok?' It turned out that S's mom had been telling her much the same stuff, so S responded cordially with 'S share Moppet' and started to ply her with all her toys out of her toy trolley.

Things were going extremely well, meaning that we moms were actually able to have a conversation, interrupted only occasionally by an ear-splitting scream, a broken toy, a bumped head, and a disputed balloon.

Then Baby A woke up and joined the party. He is the happiest, cutest little fellow, and I couldn't resist picking him up and giving him a cuddle. Moppet, who had only given him a cursory glance when he was brought out, completely flipped out when I picked him up.


I gave Baby A back to his mom in a hurry and Moppet climbed onto my lap and stayed there for about 5 minutes. But S and her toy trolley were hard to ignore for too long and she soon slid off to go back and play.

She did warm to the baby a little later on, when he was lying on the bed, looking around at all of us with bright-eyed curiosity and waving his little fists in the air. Seeing me gently pinch his cheek and call him a cutiepie, Moppet climbed onto the bed to do the same.

'Be gentle, Moppet' I warned, and she was. 'Keetipie' she said, and was rewarded with a gurgle and a smile. I showed her how he would wrap his hand around her finger and she was thrilled. 'Baby hol hand!' she said, with a big grin.

S was watching the proceedings with disapproval and the holding hands bit was more than she could bear. She bounced onto the bed, grabbed Baby A's other hand, and generally indicated that Moppet should refrain from looking at or touching HER baby, or else.

Moppet responded by yanking my t-shirt up, patting my belly and saying, 'This one Moppet baby.' I was floored. I hadn't realised that she understood that much. 'Yes, this one is your baby, Moppet', I said, giving her a happy hug.

But in the taxi on our way home, Moppet sat facing me in my lap with a hand on my tummy and said, 'Baby bwother inside. No baby bwother ouside, ok?'

Oh dear.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Snippets - II

Moppet, future art critic:

Sees this photograph in an article on English eccentrics in Vanity Fair.

Pointing to the cow: "Cow!"

Then pointing to the anonymous artist: "This one donkey!"

I think she's got an eye for art, wouldn't you agree?

Moppet, future beauty pageant judge:

She's on the pot; I'm perched on the bathtub and we're chatting.

I ask, "Are you done? Shall I wash your bum-bum?"

She twists her head round to look at her posterior and says:

"Moppet si-mall bum-bum"

Then she looks contemplatively at my well-padded one, hanging over the thin edge of the bathtub. "Mama BIG bum-bum!"

For good measure, she adds insult to injury: "Moppet nice bum-bum"

Moppet, future Mama:

1. She and her father are rough housing. He's throwing her in the air, swinging her around in circles, and holding her upside down by her ankles. In between her giggles she cautions: "Be CAREful!"

2. She and I are playing with her blocks and I'm taking all green pieces because I'm trying to make a tree. She doesn't like that for some reason, and keeps grabbing the green pieces away from me. I don't appreciate that sort of behaviour and keep taking them back, telling her she has to share. Finally, in frustration, arms akimbo, she says to me sternly: "Mama, go ROOM!"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happiness spelt c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e.

Preferably dark, and slightly bitter. It's the answer to all my blues.

That completes this happiness tag from Swati. But having sat on this tag for I don't know how long, I think I should put down some more things that make me happy:

- a good book.

- catching up with an old friend.

- freshly fried sardines. (Stinkily divine!)

- Picking Moppet up from school and watching her face light up when she sees me.

- a well administered foot massage.

- an unexpected, unsolicited kiss from Moppet.

- an unexpected, unsolicited kiss from the husband.

- Saturdays, at home, just the three of us.

It's funny - if I had made this list 5, or even 3 years ago, it would have been so different. There would probably be only a couple of things in common. It seems that in my old age, I'm getting easier and easier to please, although I suspect the husband might not quite agree :-)

Tag's open to anyone who'd like to take it up.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Blogger Formerly Known as Moppet's Mom

Can I just be TBFKAMM or some unpronounceable symbol too? I tell you, this (nick)naming business is frying my brain.

I still haven't got a viable real life name for poor Munch yet.

Anyway, I've decided there's no point in spending time I really can't spare over a nickname. So I just closed my eyes and jabbed my finger at the shortlist and picked the one my finger landed on. (Ok, I cheated, I picked the one my finger landed on on the third try.)

Since a major part of my blog identity is being mom to M&M, it seemed to me that I should stick to a candy theme. So what sort of candy would be me? As the owner of a rather distinctive head of curly hair, the choice was clear: Candyfloss!

That's it peeps. The Blogger Formerly Known as Moppet's Mom is now Candyfloss.

All that remains is to find a suitably sweet name for the husband. Any ideas for Chocolate ka Baap?

(Oh and the picture is courtesy Google, and nothing like me in case you were wondering :-) My own hair is much curlier, and right now it is not pink. It was once though - remind me to tell you about that sometime.)

Monday, March 3, 2008

6 things you probably don't want to know about me

Another tag, this time from Sue, that I'm twisting for my own purposes.
The Rules:
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
- Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
- Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website
I'm going to make this 6 random points about being pregnant. Just because, ok?

1. I'm big. HUGE. Like never before. At a little over 5 months pregnant, my belly button's already turned into an outie, something that didn't happen until the very last month of my first pregnancy. Could it be all the left over fat from the last time? Surely it's not because I'm stuffing my face all hours of the day and night? It's a mystery, I tell you ;-)

2. When I was pregnant with Moppet, I wanted to eat fish a lot. So the husband and I would go to this Konkan restaurant every weekend and I'd order 3 or 4 different types of fish and eat it happily, imagining all the lovely omega-3 oils filling my baby's brain and making her a super-genius. That they didn't take is another matter altogether, but I was happy that my craving coincided so nicely with what was supposed to be good for both the baby and me. This time, I have no specific cravings; it's anything goes. Except when we go out - I always feel like I want to have a banana choc-chip muffin from Starbucks. Don't ask me why!

3. I am sleep-deprived, and I cannot blame Moppet - more's the pity. Unlike the last time, when insomnia hit in the last couple of months and I could still snatch a few hours of sleep sitting in the recliner, this time there's no relief. I make 5 trips to the bathroom, and 2 to kitchen every night, simply to have something to do. I sit up in the dark and glare at my fast-asleep husband, only barely restraining myself from waking him up and saying, 'You're breathing too loudly!'

4. Munch apparently shares my insomnia. He's rarely quiet, and is way more active than I remember Moppet being at this stage. We always thought Moppet was a strong kicker - her Papa was most excited about it, and would keep encouraging her to practice kicking with the left foot in-utero, because 'every football team needs a player with a strong left foot'. Munch however, appears to have taken up Thai kickboxing as his favourite uterine sport. Sometimes, I feel jabs in 3 different places at once. How one little baby with only the normal human number of limbs can achieve that is beyond me, but there you go.

5. Everything makes me cry - a cheesy sad scene in a movie, an old song, a pretty picture, a nice view, Oprah (ok, well that's understandable!) - the waterworks just turn on, even as I'm aware of how ridiculous I'm being.

6. I'm relaxed and enjoying myself. Apart from the insomnia, I've been lucky to have had no other major discomforts so far (touchwood). The first time around I was reading, measuring, thinking, and worrying all the time. Taking ante-natal classes, scribbling notes in a little notebook, practising my lamaze breathing, lecturing the husband on all the things I thought he should know, making lists of all the things I would need... I never took the time to enjoy being pregnant. I'm doing that this time, and you know what? I'm lovin' it!

Tagging all the other pregnant bloggers out there. You can do the tag this way, or in its original format.