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My bundle of joy wakes up early these days. Cuddles in my arms while he opens his eyes to the chirping of the birds or the various horns of the traffic. Waves at aunties and uncles crossing the road, some of them who are familiar and some not. Observes his kin dressed up in cute uniforms and waiting for their school bus to come. Yes, that’s the start of a typical school day for my two year old.
Those three hours seemed like three years on the first two-three days. I couldn’t help but look at my watch time and again. Being a stay-at-home Mom, it was very intimidating for me to let him go to a foreign setting. But then I had done my good research and knew he was in safe hands. Time passed by and I got used to the very thought of being separated from him for about one-eighth of the day. How the clock struck 12.20, I won’t even know. I am prepping up the lunch, helping house-maids, also writing blogs while the face-pack is still wet. All this in the no-kid-at-home time frame.
My joy knows no boundaries when I see him peeping out of the cab window, sitting quietly in the teacher’s lap, just waiting to jump out of it when he sees me. I carry him in my arms and take him inside. While planting numerous kisses on his face, I ask him fervently, “Where was my baby all this while”? as in I missed him throughout, to which his very obvious reply comes, “Mamma, School”. I could clearly notice how much he likes the school and is strange at his Mom asking such stupid questions. The moment he returns from school and till the time I feed him lunch is an undisturbed, unfettered a ‘We 2’ time. We giggle, laugh, play, explore and tumble over. I could just go on and on tickling him at the funniest places just to hear his contagious giggle. We roll, jump, scream and run as if doing it for the first time every single day.
This one hour of non-stop physical fun with my kid, revs me up for the whole day and preps him for his big appetite for lunch. The touching, pinching, squeezing and lots of hugs makes for a very special Mommy-Baby Hour. Where we touch each other fearlessly but carefully and learn in the process too. I teach him the names of all body parts and how to use them freely. Never once, have I used a picture-book or a laptop to teach my kid body-parts. We take turns and kiss each other hands, feet and nose, teaching him about the human anatomy and the friendly gestures one can make with our body-parts. Having lots of fun while learning is what Mommy-Baby hour all about, where there are no books, no homework, no smartphones and no intruders at all. We play games like ‘jhoote-maate’, ‘aata-bori’, ‘where’s the belly-button’, ‘akkad bakkad bambe bo’ and what not. Gurnav has got used to this routine and actually looks forward to it. I could clearly make out the expression on his face, when he twitches his eyes small and moves his fingers as if doing an ‘abracadabra’ and dives on the bed. And there we go playing our little games, whether hiding the school I-Card, or sipping from his bottle one by one or even role-playing a make-believe student-student game.
The bonding that this hour gives me when we are at our physical and happiest best is totally unmatched. We become buddies at our best who do crazy nonsense at their best. The so called Mommy-Baby Authority-Surrender situation ceases between us and we become friends forever. We learn from each other in such a playful way the antics of a two-year old who can makes use of his body in numerous ways and which I as an adult have trouble doing. The Mommy-stiffness in my body loosens up itself seeing my kid roll all over the bed and doing one somersault after another. He teaches me a few of the Yoga-asanas he learns in school and even corrects me if I’m wrong. We are literally breathless when the hour is about to end but not satisfied to the core.
Mommy-Baby hour gives me my share of my baby-delight as I can’t get enough of him always and as a doting mother, I like to be around him all the time. On the other hand, this precious hour gives my little one a powerful outlet to vent out his enormous energy that is by default ingrained in all kids. Not that the rest of the day is not his or I’m not there with him, but at this very hour, we are active, agile and fearless. Free from all reserves and capitalism, we are spontaneous to the core. I forget that I’m a mother, a grown-up and have a responsibility to fulfill in those treasurable minutes, but let myself loose and unravel the child in me giving an opportunity to unlocking the way childhood should be. I feel myself empowered to the hilt without being powerful to be a buddy to my kid who could act, play, run, jump exactly like him.
From extensive play to lunching together, we do it all like buddies. Each and every day is a lesson in itself and creates tons of happy bonding moments. I don’t do what the textbook says or what parenting is supposed to do or anything prescriptive to my kid in the little ‘’We 2’’ time. I get my reward when Gurnav happily mentions it to me; “Mumma We-2 time!’’ and gives a mischievous smile. I know he likes it and would never want it to end. That’s the kind of rearing I always wanted for my little one, a happy and secured childhood that is not forced, is playful and explorative. He often likes to extend this play and sleep eventually on the bed itself, but I calm it down a little bit and take him to the dining table for a quite lunch together. When tummy is happy and body is tired, little Gurnav goes to sleep happily and me back to pen my cheerful experiences into words as an empowered Mommy!