Time has just flown by. Can’t believe how busy life has become that Ducky is already 3 months old and I am just putting out the next update on her. Phew!! Feels good to take a breath and write about the latest happenings. Well, as I sit at the desk typing this out, Chaplu papa is strapped to me in her baby carrier. Thoroughly loving writing this piece while having the source of inspiration so close by.
I can only describe life as a rollercoaster – sedate at times, screaming fun at others and sheer terrifying at other points. And sometimes, all these feelings are wrapped up within the same experience.
One of the first carts in this rollercoaster is breastfeeding. It was so incredibly painful initially, that I would dread the next feed time and hoped that Chaplu papa would sleep through a few more minutes. From tugging on the nipple to her latching on to trying to hold her in a comfortable position to reminding her to continue to feed – overall it was so very uncomfortable. Added to the discomfort of the caesarean section stitches, I was a mass of pain those first two weeks. Thankfully this all settled down by week 3 and I started enjoying the experience. Now it is such a pleasure to feed Ducky that I look forward to ‘our’ time and the beautiful experience that I had heard from so many around me. As her focus has improved and she has started to see more things around her, it is truly such a joy to see her wide-aware eyes looking up at me and occasionally grinning away, while she takes her nourishment from me.
Ducky’s in-utero training of waking me up several times in the night has come in very handy. It was not a sudden shock to me to wake up every couple of hours to feed or change her. It felt like I had been given a booster shot of energy which kept me going through those first few weeks of little sleep, recovery from the c-section and generally getting adjusted to a new chapter in my life. Being part of a joint family has been a godsend as everyone has rallied around and made taking care of Chaplu papa that much easier. I have just had to focus on myself and Ducky while the rest have taken care of everything else from cooking to cleaning to Ducky’s laundry to so many other essentials.
Initially Chaplu papa slept for long hours and that gave all of us time to adjust to her arrival, and I got a chance to sleep enough to heal well. We soon discovered that she is a very vocal baby. As soon as hunger pangs strike her stomach, the message is sent to the brain about the need for food and her vocal chords are sent into immediate, high octave action. She goes from fast asleep to screaming her head off in less than 5 seconds – most of the time there is no in-between for her. I’ve got to say it was quite a shock to all of us to hear her cry like that in the first few weeks. However as she has grown older, some other signs of hunger are showing – moving around vigorously in her sleep and slowly eating her mittened hands. With the latest sign Chaplu papa is living up to her name as she starts going ‘chap-chap-chap’ as the hunger pang messages reach her brain.
She vocalises in a lot of other ways too. Ducky is sensitive to having a wet bum and even when she is fast asleep she sends us a very distinctive signal. She neighs just like a horse. I kid you not, this is exactly what she sounds like. It’s the most unique sound that I have heard from babies, and so hilarious. As soon as her nappy is changed and her bum is dry, the neighing stops and she is fast asleep again. It’s the funniest experience when all is quiet in the middle of the night and her neighing suddenly starts.
She is also a very gassy baby and I am very proud of the fact that she is able to let all that gas out very very successfully – you understand what I mean right? (wink). We know that a darr-burr is on its way out when she starts to move in her sleep, making vague noises. Once done, peace and quiet reigns in our corner of the house; until her nappy gets wet and other sounds start. So much entertainment in the middle of the night – I’m loving having my sleep disturned for these reasons. She also stops feeding a few seconds before she passes gas, making these wonderful indicators. There is no doubt that she is a one person orchestra – bass, guttural tones, high pitch soprano, acoustics and wind instruments.
However, hands down, the most hilarious experience we’ve had in Chaplu papa’s pee & poo tales is what happened 2 days after her birth. My mother-in-law and husband were on duty in the hospital with us and dear Ducky had peed in her nappy (by the way, we use only cloth nappies and reusable waterproof diapers – more about that later). When the wet nappy was opened up she had a surprise in store for us – more pee. And this time the pee decided to explore a different trajectory. It went straight up, hit the board at the base of the hospital bed and ricocheted right onto my husband’s kurta!!!! It formed 2 sides of a right angle triangle, thankfully completing its journey there and not coming back to base point…..Loads of laughter came out of all of us – and I had to stop laughing very abruptly as my stitches started to protest against the sudden movements. This story was related to all our first circle of family and laughter soon rolled around the colony that we live in.
Over the weeks now, we are no longer surprised when we suddenly find a wet patch on us, just after we have changed Chaplu papa’s nappy. In the split second that it takes us to put the new nappy on, she very accurately aims towards us, without us even realising it at that moment, and continues with her activity. We now say – “If you haven’t been blessed by Ducky as yet, then you haven’t held her long enough”.
Her sleep cycle is also keeping her pee cycle company – both happen often for short periods of time but keep us adults awake longer to take care of all the necessities. By the time we finish all the tasks related to nappy changing and feeding, it is time for the next cycle to start. Where one day ended and the other started has been a complete blur.
It is such a coincidence that she was nicknamed Ducky, as she very appropriately started to quack when she drank extra milk or was made to lie down soon after a feed. In the initial months, we had to keep her upright for about 20-30 minutes post a feed to help with her digestion. We even found a way of changing her nappy while she was held upright. It has taken a while, but her systems have now synchronised and they understand how they need to work. Indeed a huge relief for all of us!!
Like all babies, Ducky’s first stools were black in colour, then became green and by the 4th day after her birth had turned a yellow. We have now named her stools as golden yellow and for a very apt reason. There are days when Chaplu papa is constipated and her discomfort is very clear as she squirms and finds it difficult to settle down through the day. Most often a warm bum bath does the trick and all the stools safely stored in her intestines come rolling out in short order. There were such celebrations at home when she passed stools after her first bout with constipation. My mother and I were giving her the warm bum bath and shouted in glee as soon as the first ‘golden’ bits started coming out of Ducky. My father and husband came running to the bathroom to see what had happened and when we related the glorious news, they were absolutely thrilled too. I can very safely say that a good poo by Ducky is the height of our excitement nowadays and the first thing that we check in with each other when we have been out of the house for a few hours.
Like all new parents, I started to worry about every little thing. “Is Chaplu papa breathing? Is her nose squashed up while she is breastfeeding? Am I holding her steadily and safely enough? Have I given her medicine correctly? Why is she crying so much? How do I calm her down? What do I do when she throws up? How do I deal with her not burping? Should I wake her up for a feed if she has been asleep for a few hours? What to do about her colic pains? Oh no, she has not pooped today – what to do? etc”. These questions and more were what I worried about endlessly and my mind was completely occupied with these thoughts. I had been on the precipice of falling into the well of anxiety so many times that I started to get jittery and was constantly on guard. When I found that I was opening my eyes every few moments to check on Ducky while she slept beside me and was unable to relax even a moment, I knew that I had to stop worrying so much or I would have a nervous breakdown. Thankfully my mother was on hand during each of these instances and was able to pull me back from falling into the well of anxiety. Explanations of what is normal and what is not, ideas on how to deal with the situation and handholding me through them was such a boon. It’s been absolutely wonderful to be with my parents and grandparents in this initial phase and to understand that I had finite energy and should use it for more useful activities. Resting being the most important of them as that is what would aid a full and quick recovery. I’m really glad that I am standing very far away from that well of anxiousness and therefore able to thoroughly enjoy every moment of motherhood.
On the topic of my family, I’ve got to mention ‘Kutti Poo Laundry Services’ here. This was started up when my nephew was born 2 years ago. He has exclusively been cloth diapered as is Chaplu papa, and here in my parent’s house my father is in-charge of all the nappy washing. He decided to name his washing services as there was so much of it happening. With Ducky’s arrival into the family, there is now one full load of washing done every single day for her. Unbelievable how a 25 inch little human generates so many clothes in a day – mainly cloth nappies of course. And it’s great fun to fold her clothes – so tiny and colourful. I’ve always dawdled over folding my clothes on time, but with Chaplu papa’s I love sorting them out, folding them and putting them in her cupboard. Yes, you read it right – she has a full cupboard just for all her clothes. Not to mention another section in my cupboard that houses all her accessories. And another cupboard that has all the clothes given by others in bigger sizes. My father laughs and tells us that not only has she wrapped us up around her little finger, but is also slowly taking over the space in our house.
One of the things that we have enjoyed doing is collecting pre-loved clothes / accessories / bedding, etc from friends and family. Ducky’s cupboard has such a variety of stuff, in all sorts of designs that it is incredible. And this variety is purely due to the generosity of others with young children, who have lovingly given us all this to use and pass on to other babies.
There is so much to write about, but if I do not end this piece here, then Chaplu papa may reach her 4th month birthday and I will still be writing. Much more about her antics in the next one. Does her night time routine change? What are the highlights of the next few weeks? How much more of the world does she start seeing? How does the circus at home fare?
Until then, take care and cherio.