I'm convinced I'm suffering from a rather premature attack of the empty-nester syndrome. What else explains the fact that all I can think of these days is how my once helpless little bundle has been permanently replaced by a hyper active little critter with multiple arms and legs and a mind all her own.
So Nikki turned eight months old last week and its time for another one of those barmy parent updates. The idea was to wait until nine months for the next update, but so much has happened in the last two months, that I really feel the need to document it now, lest some priceless Nikki-nuggets slip my sorely sleep deprived mind!
Sleep (as always!) tops the list, being a scarce and therefore highly valued commodity. Overall we've been having better luck with the quantum and patterns of sleep, but still more often than not, the sleep fairy continues to be vanquished from Nikki-dom, cowering and defeated, as Her Majesty valiantly battles on against this most useless (in her opinion, I think otherwise!) of activities. What has changed radically though is Nikki's style of sleeping. No longer is the arms akimbo, on her back, the preferred sleep position. Instead she rolls over oh so cutely, on her side or on her tummy and covers her face with one hand a la Manoj Kumar before drifting off into dreamland. On weekday mornings as we dash in and out of our bedroom on our always ongoing, but never quite accomplished 'get P to work on time' project, the still fast asleep Nikki often opens her eyes, smiles a million dollar smile on catching sight of her beloved Daddy and drifts right back into sleep with a look of complete bliss on her face.
Which brings us to the subject of how this child of mine, whom I nurtured for nine months and gave birth to, is a complete and total daddy's pet. I cease to exist as far as Nikki is concerned as soon as P walks thru the door, and any delusions I may have of being indispensable are rudely shattered on weekends when he-who-reigns takes over Nikki-dom. But, envy apart, it's truly a joy to watch Nikki and P bonding during those precious Daddy daughter moments. Only P can make Nikki burst into squeals of delighted laughter, loud giggles and excited shrieks. And her eyes follow him around everywhere, her neck twisting and turning into previously inconceivable angles when he goes out of sight. Even feeding becomes a chore, eating away into precious time with Daddy darling.
We amble on through the land of solids, with days when feeding is an absolute delight, and I pride myself on being a cordon bleu chef so what if the fare is khichdi! And then there are days when I sit there, with a Cerelac face pack (anyone know if this stuff is any good for the skin?), feeding Nikks for HOURS as she does a detailed analysis of the surroundings between each bite and chomps her way (or sprays out, depending on the mood of the moment) thoughtfully through every morsel. And of course the days when the spraying and spitting out begins even before spoon has touched base with lips! I'm still feeding her too, but the days of long nursing sessions are long gone. And I miss them! Now its very wham-bam-thank you mum and Nikki throws herself back with a dramatic flourish, reminiscent of the Bollywood heroines from the 70's, making it very clear that she's done. Oh and breastfeeding on the go, which used to be a piece of cake with me and Nikki snugly ensconced in a stole/ shawl/ dupatta is very much a thing of the past now. The stole/ shawl/ dupatta is immediately thrown off with the same dramatic flourish, Nikki-ishtyle, and made use of to play peek-a-boo instead!
On the activity front, we are zooming towards the crawling and sitting up stage with death defying speed. A few months ago, I used to worry that Nikki didn't seem terribly interested in rolling over and was quite content playing on her back or being on her side. I needn't have bothered as it turns out. Now even two large mattresses aren't enough to contain her as she rolls, turns and creeps her way all over the place. No more can I leave her unsupervised in the center of my very large bed even for a minute, she's at the edge within the fraction of a second. And the supervision needs to be sharp too. Last night as I lay down on the bed, sleepily watching Nikki, she rolled over and scooted backwards at the speed of light. I caught her just in the nick of time.
We even had a fall off the bed recently, which was quite a scare, but no damage done. My grandma reliably informed me later that I used to regularly roll off the bed as a baby and I turned out ok. * Except for the occasional bouts of madness when the full moon is out. Ahahaha!- P*
Peek-a-boo continues to top the list of favorites as far as games go, and the love for the game has led Nikki to develop her very own variation. She hides her face with her comforter and then peeks out slyly; an adoring audience adds to the fun of course, but she can even play this all by herself for hours! I keep vacillating between waiting for her to start crawling (what fun!) and dreading it in equal measure- my limited peace of mind will be drained completely when she does, I'm sure.
Much progress has been made on the linguistic front, and my little chatterbox is displaying several signs of being a great orator as she holds forth confidently while her spell bound audience gapes on. Unfortunately her preferred time of holding forth is often 2am which is not great for us, the chronically sleep deprived. Then again, maybe the tired raccoon look will just grow on me.
I'm hoping I get some rest over the next couple of days when my grandparents (Nikki's great grandparents!),come to visit for a few days. They pretty much raised me when I was very young, since both my parents used to work, and meeting them always brings back fond memories of my childhood. With them around, its going to be a time of nostalgia and joy, a time when memories are made. Most of all I can't wait to watch them with MY little girl, while, just for a few moments, I get to be a little girl again :)