This blog is an excerpt from Ramen’s parenting book,“Effective Parenting: A New Paradigm”.
Fatherhood often brings you up-front with your own foolishness, fallibility and frailty.
When my daughter, Ankita was a few months old, my wife Madhavi decided that since I was of no use in the feeding and bum washing departments I should at least help in putting her to sleep.
Now Ankita was a night creature from day one. While she slept like a twig (obviously for anyone as cute and dainty and delicate as my daughter ‘log’ can hardly be used as a simile!) during the day, she was in the mood to ‘party’ at night.
Soon I was assigned the job of keeping the little one engaged for a couple of hours while the big one got her 80 winks.
But unfortunately Ankita didn’t like my mug one bit. The minute I picked her up she would bawl her head off. And it was really amazing that one who was barely as heavy as my wife’s left wrist could stir up such a racket. But stir up she did and Madhavi would wake up, give me the mother of all dirty looks (if looks could kill I would have had as many obituaries as Sachin has centuries in his kitty!).
As nights passed, I tried everything to win Ankita’s confidence: doing calisthenics, making faces, creating sounds and even yodeling. The result was the same. She would just howl and continue doing so until Mother Madhavi would come and rescue her from the clutches of Attila the Papa/ Papa the Barbarian.
A few months went by and my next assignment was administering Ankita mini-feeds. I remember very clearly the first time I had to do it. I sat on the floor of the living room with Ankita sitting in front of me. I gave her a big spoon and a small plate so that she could beat them together and create the ‘euphony’ she always delighted in achieving. Then I took one spoon of the gooey mix which fate and Madhavi had ordained, should be her diet. I fed her making all the right noises and faces which I had seen Mother Madhavi unleash. Ankita swallowed a mouthful and a strange gleam lit up her eyes. I was thrilled. I had at last succeeded in crossing a significant milestone in my career as a responsive and responsible father.