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As the perfectionist walks in like a queen bee, the hullaballoo of the lesser mortals is quickly hushed into chronic whispers! She is the master chef who will roll her sleeves to prescribe the finest recipes, she is the nutritionist who will add five portions of lentils and vegetables and seven varieties of fruits in her child’s diet, she could be the next brand ambassador for Scorch Brite who will scrub and sterilize everything around the house sparklingly clean with disinfectants, she is an omnipresent mother with eyes and ears everywhere, never letting that Cerelac drip anywhere beyond the bib, she is the Cindrella who will jump at the stroke of the next feeding hour lest her child’s growth goes haywire, she will panic if the milk powder is 0.001mg lesser and will wait for the calcium to dissolve and integrate into the body and shoot up as little nails on the finger so that she can file them on time! She will starve for chocolates herself lest her child should pick up that habit, she will keep her child away from violent visuals, teach when to say excuse me and when to say thank you. With an only child to care for, a single child parent leaves no stone unturned brandishing the baby with branded products the baby’s bum is spic and span on time and the skin is supple and soaked in one or the other cream. A single child parent can emerge as the messiah of logic and the counsel all with mindboggling parenting tips that can actually make you go weak in the knee feeling like a serial punitive parent caught red handed. To cut the story short, a single child mother is the personification of motherhood and can be nominated for the Oscars in the world’s best mom category or so she thinks!
I was all of this and much more until I was mom, yet another time!
While parenting a single child is no child’s play, the addition of one more child into the family tree is like a drop of nirvana in the ocean of parental saga as it teaches you to be super pragmatic in life and turns you into a new leaf. You will quickly learn how to suddenly multiply your hands to tend to hungry mouths and meet the messy challenge of how to put on the oxygen mask first and then go about saving other’s lives! But there are some common salient features of a second pregnancy:
The moment you announce your second pregnancy, the fleet of supporters at home that you were flaunting until recently will suddenly fall sick or go into a spiritual deluge and go on a pilgrimage unattached from your new attachments, at office your manager will suddenly talk of gender equality and levy more loads of work on you. At a personal level _ with the nostalgia of your first baby still showering in your bed and that stench still fresh in your and everybody else’s minds, baby shower will be a taboo word, and since there is already a downsizing threat in the corporate corridors, your hubby might suddenly turn romantic and get you only a beautiful red rose instead!
At social gatherings, family and friends will bless you stressing on the ‘Putravathi bava’ phrase even if they know that you already have a boy, and by chance if your blood is boiling with those women rights activism, save that energy as you have not quiet deciphered the hidden meaning when elderly women bless you that way! It secretly means ‘why should you have all the fun when I have toiled tons to bring up my sons only to be my daughter-in-law’s husbands’!
As a mother of two boys, I can now somewhat relate as to what it is to bring up sons and keep consoling myself _All is well_ I am only a facilitator! No this post is not about sons versus daughters it’s just about first time parents versus experience!
Once you are promoted as a parent of two kids you are now more envisioned and research oriented, perhaps the previous experiments are driving you close to the god particle and now that recipe, that nutrition you researched earlier will radiate resplendently on your belly, the discipline, the time table and all that perfect parenting instincts will circle around your eyes like freshly laid kohl, slowly the staunch timetable of calculated healthy portions will be tossed and wrapped over like masala dosa as they now appear obsolete, hyper rigid and monotonous, not that your family is turning squint and famished, it’s just that you will bite and binge on anything that looks like food. Sleep and piping hot food were never so pricelessly precious perhaps!
Also you will suddenly want your spoon fed first child to become terribly independent at once now so that you can go back to square one with your second stint at parenting but since that is a distant dream now, you can only fancy a whimsical wish that there were more than 24hours in a day or perhaps a school/baby care that runs in night shifts!
With the elasticity of the tummy comes the flexibility and adaptability in your approach, your ideas and insights will change like candidates jumping into new political outfits. The clean scrubbing, finicky freak that you were, will now feel, immunity is something that kids should develop naturally, the earlier the better! You will suddenly start appreciating your child’s choice and independence and not fret when he does not finish a portion. Soon it will dawn upon you that being overtly vigilant about your child is more about over protectiveness and less about caring hence it is best to let them test the waters and learn to handle their little problems themselves at the playground while you enjoy an evening walk.
Earlier the worries revolved around how the hell can I make him polish the bowl? Now it is ‘how the hell do I meet their never ending demands’? The younger siblings usually learn quickly from the older ones making your life lot easier when it comes to eating habits or personal hygiene or reading for that matter. Earlier I was obsessed with time but today time seems to be obsessed with me, setting new deadlines and newer targets each day!
Today the branded products sit at the shelf and expire unperturbed as I now know that the shine and suppleness on the face is not because of those creams anymore, it’s more about the spunk in your mind that you stride with and a sparkle in the eye with that acquired patience, perseverance and learning that comes only with parenting, more so if you are a proud parent of two notorious kids!!
The worst fears of single child parents that they will end up with additional responsibilities and less time for them is half baked, yes the initial years are demanding but as children grow up slightly the siblings learn to appreciate each other’s presence leasing you with a lot of leisure time.
The idea of this post propped up to me when I walked past a single child mother diligently run behind her cycle happy kid, with portions of fruits and nuts crying hysterically “it is energy time beta”, the bête noire of “Hum do Humare Do” that she was, her penetrating grimaces clearly indicating her dissent for the uncaring or careless parent that I was to leave my kids on their own as I swung my arms in Yogic fervor wielding more power as against her but I smiled candidly, secretly blessing her with another “Putravathi Bava” hoping that a drop of parental nirvana drops on her too!