10 – A Chirpy Meerkat

What is that? Well, not a ‘what’, but a ‘whom’. And it is none other than Ducky!! Yes the animal menagerie connected to Chaplu papa is increasing ever so often. She used to neigh like a horse in her sleep (she’s gone past that stage now), her cries as a newborn sounded just like our neighbourhood cat and she now sounds like a goose when she burps. Timon from Lion King is a meerkat too. Now the meerkat reference has come into play as Chaplu papa looks exactly like this animal when her interest is peaked and she lifts her head when being carried to look at that very interesting object / person / situation. Her neck arches up, her head sits straight and her eyes dart about here and there until her gaze falls upon that specific thing. Her constant curiosity about all the umpteen things happening around is just like a meerkat. Absolutely hilarious!!!!

All this started to happen around the 3rd month when her awareness of the world around her increased and she started to see so many things. It’s a wondrous feeling to experience a baby seeing / hearing / feeling and tasting things for the first time and assimilating all this input. Ducky very quickly reached the stage where she fights sleep just so she could see a few more things of this kaleidoscopic world. Now that she is nearly at the half year mark, she even takes breaks while drinking milk to converse with me or anyone who passes by us and gets distracted very easily.

The initial teething troubles I had with learning to breastfeed are so worth it. Having her look up at me and bestow a special smile is magical. I’m so glad that I did not get into the habit of catching up on social media on my phone while feeding – I would have missed so much. Like all babies, she knows exactly when I am sitting down to a meal and will call out to me for her meal, even if I have just fed her a few minutes before. Unbelievable how promptly this happens atleast twice a day. My husband looks at it as the strong biological clock connection which was created in-utero that is so tangible even 6 months down the line. With her teething phase now starting, breastfeeding is getting painful but thankfully the smiles that she gives me during a feed are helping to balance out the pain and discomfort. It’s a wonderful phase to be in.

Remember the circus that I wrote about last time. Well, it now has more performers. My brother, sister-in-law, their 2.5 year old and 4 month old have moved in next door to my parents. I am also back to the pleasurable task of living between two houses – my in-laws and my parents – with a very special and entertaining package travelling along with me. So the fun and chaos across both houses has increased manifold and Ducky and I are getting better settled at juggling between 2 households in different parts of the city. I remain extremely grateful that we all live in the same city and can do all this mischief together.

Ducky fell ill for the first time last month. She was down with a fever for 2 days and just in that short time we all felt bereft without her smiles. She tried to smile even when she wasn’t up to mark – like she was reassuring us that she will be OK. However there was this gloom cast over the house which lifted only as she got better. Her smile was the first thing to return. We knew we were over the worst when she woke up smiling away on the 4th day after she fell ill. At this point we had just recovered from my niece and nephew falling sick, so it was a relief to all of us when all the kiddos started chatting and the noise level in our neighbourhood went back to its usual.

Chaplu papa is an early bird who likes to rise as dawn begins – yet another connection to her animal menagerie. She wakes up with huge smiles that she bestows on everyone who greets her. And for a few weeks, she had really loud conversations with all of us, which we dubbed the suprabhatam time. Half of the genes from her grandparental pool are related to a gusty, loud voice and looks like Ducky has gotten these as her dominant characteristic. Our neighbours at my parents house, who are our relatives also, said that they know when Ducky is back here when they hear her morning sessions. Sadly the suprabhatam sessions seem to have lasted only a few short weeks. While Ducky continues to be an early bird, she is more interested in rolling over and moving around, as compared to conversing with all of us.

Yes, that’s right folks. She turned over when she was 4 months and 3 weeks. Such an exciting milestone. She had learnt to turn to her left side a couple of weeks before that and early one morning, as I was getting my breakfast, she managed the feat!!! I was lucky enough to catch her first turn over on the camera and it was incredible to see her practice it continuously for half an hour after that first time. She continued to practice several times that day until she got the hang of removing her hand from under her. From taking nearly 20 seconds to turn over, she did it seamlessly by day 3. My persistent little meerkat.

We cloth diaper Ducky and one of the things that I learnt from my brother and sister-in-law is that it is better for the baby when we waterproof their surroundings as compared to waterproofing them. This means that Ducky wears cloth nappies all the time, except for when we take her out or she sleeps for the night, at which point we use reusable waterproof diaper covers. So we have rubber sheets under Ducky most of the time to help gather up her pee. Now I have a lot of trouble telling apart my right and left sides and my confusion with these two sides has reached all new heights. Working out which side of the rubbersheet I should lay down Ducky such that she can roll over comfortably and still have the sheet under her has had hilarious results, especially when I put her to bed. After much thought, most of the time I end up putting her on the wrong side and when she rolls she is usually lying on the bed or carpet, without any rubbersheet under her!!! Chaplu papa seems to have taken pity on her confused Amma and has thankfully not peed on any of these surfaces when in this situation, till date.

We’ve also had a few occasions when she has sat on us and peed at just that right time or angle such that we are soaked through!!! And yes, sometimes it looks like we peed our pants…..I’m quite surprised at how easily I have gotten used to getting soaked and not needing to change my clothes immediately –  considering the sensory issues I have with wet or sticky stuff. Obviously Ducky is a great motivator in trying to get over these issues.

Ducky is a perfect example of the advertisements for bike engines, where she goes from 0 horsepower to 100 in just a few seconds. She can go from sleeping to crying to grinning away to chatting – all in the space of 5 minutes. She loves to jump on us and play ‘doorie doorie’ and is now such a pro at it that she can do it even if her feet are not touching the floor. ISRO should use her energy to launch their satellites, especially when she is bouncing off our knees and using her legs to push herself while on her back. She has also started to swim around when on her stomach and is able to move around a full circle. Her latest is to grasp everything around her and put it into her mouth…..There’s so much of activity that Chaplu papa crams into her awake hours that her suddenly feeling sleeping and needing to be put into bed immediately is very understandable. Her short catnaps are just what she needs to recharge her batteries.

So while I may look forward to having a few minutes a day to do something other than stuff related to Chaplu papa, when she has a really long nap, I find myself twiddling my thumbs and eagerly waiting for her to wake up to continue our mischievous antics. She is so much more than I dreamt of and can’t imagine life without this bundle.

Ducky has grown up so much already. From needing a feed immediately after a bath to being very playful during and after a bath. She has graduated from a bedside crib to sleeping across ¼ bed to now half of the bed. I’m already feeling nostalgic about her ‘younger’ days, but so relieved that some troubling phases are well behind us.

I know I’m gushing about all her little details, but it’s so exciting and I am completely enamored over this tiny bundle. Nothing extraordinary or unusual about anything that she is doing, but it’s our first time, so everything is really special and I am excited to share it with all of you. It’s also fun to see developments that I have studied in detail as part of my studies, like practical lessons.

Well, there is so much that Ducky is doing every day that I am going to end this blog here and put it up while she sleeps, else the next month will whizz past too….Can’t wait to see what all mischief my little charmer will be up to by the next time.

Until then, take care and cherio.

p.s. While looking for reusable diaper covers for Chaplu papa, I came across this one and couldn’t resist buying it for her. So apt!!!

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