I learnt a very hard but valuable lesson of parenthood this month. I learnt that toddlers are brittle, and as deceptively mobile as quicksilver. Weirdly enough, that is also why they can bounce back from injuries in a heartbeat. They are RESILIENT AF, and almost invincible in their ability to adapt. I am in awe!
On the morning of the last day of my work from home stint, prior to Aryan’s first full day at his new daycare, I accidentally shut the toilet door on his finger. I will spare my readers (and myself) the gory flashbacks. Suffice to say, the injury was the most traumatic event of my life. The ‘fix’ involved a scary amount of blood loss, operation by plastic surgeons, an overnight hospital stay, and many, many follow-ups at the children’s clinic and A&E.
Watching his little body succumb to anaesthesia and being wheeled away into the OT, away from me, away from normalcy, I feared the worst. My heart was in my starving mouth as I waited through what seemed like the longest hour of my life. Dreadful thoughts chiselled away at my strength, my dry lips locked in fervent prayer.
When I was finally allowed to see him post-op, I ran like my life depended on it. I was desperate to see him awake. I found him deep asleep under the influence of anaesthesia, a fragile little thing swathed in a yellow hospital gown. As he stirred awake, the cast on his left hand bigger than his face, I picked up his frail body and held it to my exhausted one. Relief washed over me for the first time that terrible day.
He was a bit disoriented and grumpy from the meds that had been pumped into his little bod, not to mention the copious amount of blood loss he had sustained. An hour later, he was running around the hospital corridors, as playful as you please. He was put on a week’s worth of antibiotics but other than that, this little guy cared for no other medication. We waited for signs of pain, Calpol at the ready. Not once did he wince or cry.
The human body’s ability to recover is stupendous. His finger healed rapidly, needing very little intervention. Keeping the stitches clean and protected was a different story, however. You see, a dressing on a toddler’s hand is as likely to stay put as Santa on Christmas Eve. After the first few scary trips to A&E which made it very difficult for us to maintain our work presence (and sanity), I took matters into my own hand. I snaffled as many dressing supplies as I could from the nurses – jelonet, gauze, surgical tape, what have you. If you know me, you know I am not one to DIY, ESPECIALLY not when it comes to dressing little limbs. But when push comes to shove, we mommas take up the heftiest mantle, don’t we? The rogue dressing kept coming off at daycare, in the middle of our sleep, or getting mistakenly wet during showers. Keeping it clean, dry and in place involved frequent changes. Finding a nurse at the hospital meant taking time off work, and three hour A&E waits. Once the finger had healed significantly, and the doctors told me we could dress it at home, I donned my Nurse Hat. Nizar almost fainted every time I touched our son’s finger but I soldiered on.
So what else happened in November? The British flu got me. Because it wasn’t enough that my son was going through a major recovery, I had to fall ill too. On the flip side, Aryan *finally* started daycare. Tis the season to be jolly – AND germy – thanks to the abundant flow of germs the children are passing around like a bizarre version of pillow passing. So far we have been visited by seasonal rash and diarrhoea.
Drop offs have been headily laden with tears. After spending nearly 1.5 months with me, going back to the daycare arrangement has been hard on him. I am so glad I was off earlier this month and was able to enjoy quality time with my son. We got up to lots of mummy-baby adventures.
With childcare in place, the chaos of the past months receded somewhat, a sense of a new order settling in. I finally went back to work travel, something I have been putting off. I am hoping to make good progress this side of Christmas so that I can give into holiday mode once it arrives.
Nothing on Netflix has managed to woo us so we are watching scraps of movies here and there. Honestly, evenings are a blur these days and while I am still in backlogging mode (in more ways than one), watching TV has become unimportant. Anyone got any good Netflix recommendations we can latch onto?
I have been on a reading slump lately so this month I really wanted to change that. I picked up Adam Kay’s ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’ from Foyle’s bookstore on a festive whim while waiting to board my So’ton train from Waterloo. I am a big fan of his first book, ‘This is Going to Hurt’, where his dry, Brit humour capturing the extraordinary work of the NHS made for my best read of 2018. This was kind of an abridged, festive version of the first book. Perhaps it was sized to be a stocking filler – its only 141 pages. Nevertheless, it was just as funny as his first bestseller, and had me laughing randomly on the train, much to other passengers’ bewilderment.
Knitwear is the winter giving back. While temperatures swoop low, woollies ensure that sartorially we remain on a high. From chunky knits that keep us warm during Tesco runs to festive numbers that come out in all manners of delightful (and ugly) designs for all the holiday parties, I cannot think of anything more delightful about winter than jumpers.
Is it possible that I love my son more than I have ever done? Because I do! His emotional intelligence is amazing for someone so young, Masha Allah. While I was on the 999 call, he sensed my distress and started kissing me fervently. He was bleeding profusely and must have been in so much pain. Yet HE chose to comfort ME.
Throughout the recovery process, he has shown remarkable courage and composure. He sat patiently through each dressing change, even the first one post-op that was quite tricky. One morning, he woke up with an exposed finger because his gauze had come off. He held it up to show me, careful not to touch it. Before bath time, he thrusts his hand out so that I can wrap it up for him to keep it dry.
He is starting to really assert his agencies and understands almost everything we tell him. He has always been big on saying NO, but finally he has started saying YA. He tries to repeat words after us so I have to watch my potty mouth.
He has developed a sudden aversion to his favourite YouTube channel CoCoMelon, opting for arbitrary polish/hindi rhymes – basically anything else BUT CoCo. His new favourite song is Lakdi Ki Kaathi, a Bollywood children’s song from the 80s. He is such an old soul.
His dental growth is finally catching up! He has two more teeth rearing from his lower gums and one on his upper.
Recipe On Repeat
I am finally settled into my new kitchen. I made this Greek lentil soup the other day and it was such a hit for winter. Tweaked the recipe a bit – added some chilli powder because I am Bengali like that. Its a great substitute for regular daal if you want to switch up dinner a bit. Serve it with chunky bread or, if you are like me, add some dollops to good old bhaat.
Olive Oil (1 tbsp)
Brown onion, chopped finely (1)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Brown lentils, rinsed and dried (1 cup)
400g canned, diced tomatoes
Chilli Powder (to taste)
Chicken stock (1.5 cup)
Water (1.5 cup)
Bay Leaf (1)
Coarsely chopped dill or coriander (optional)
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Cook onion, stirring, until softened. Stir in garlic, cook until fragrant.
Stir in lentils, tomatoes, stock, water, and bay leaf. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat, simmer, covered, about 50 minutes or until lentils are tender. Season to taste.
Top up with dill/coriander.
What’s Coming Up?
THE HOLIDAYS! ANNUAL LEAVE. DHAKA. 2020. OH MY GOD. I cannot wait to be reunited with my family. Before the holiday descends, I want to make sure I wrap up as much of my work as possible. Then rush home to OD on fuchkas and pithas, yasss.