Last night had been one of the most difficult nights of my life. Even the night before the final exams- which is the dread of every student at college- was a cakewalk compared to this !
It had begun well. Baby Sharo had retired to bed a little early than her usual 1030 ‘goodnight regime’. My wife and me rushed to prep our beds in stealth modes, that would put even the elitist commando units to shame. But our training had not been any less rigorous. The last five months had made us experts in doing all household chores with the minimum of noise, sometimes the complete lack of it. Shit! It has also made our arguments speechless. (My wife’s rather- I had been always a listener.)
We were feeling lucky to have gone to bed by 11 PM. Sharo would not wake up before 2, we assured ourselves, and the prospect of three hours of sleep looked pretty alluring to the energy deprived souls that we were. I had quite hectic schedules at office the entire week, and my wife was equally exhausted over the last few days, as the nanny had taken a leave and all the ‘baby work’ had fallen on her already over-burdened shoulders.
It had been thirty minutes of silent snoring, when I heard that ominous call.
“Waa- buuuu waaa”
“Ok relax. She’s just having a bad dream and is only half awake,” I assure myself and steal a glance at the cot beside me.
Baby Sharo greets me with the biggest of her smiles.
Shit. This doesn’t look good.
I start making her favourite white noises. Come on baby, just two hours and then you can have your feed.
Dad proposes. Sharo disposes. She gives a louder war cry.
I check the watch- 1130. I jump on my feet, run to her cot, take her up in my arms, and start patting her. This is my last chance. I devote all my energies at making her fall asleep, because if she doesn’t by 12, she would want some supper. That would mean half an hour of meticulous feeding, followed by half an hour of failed attempts at burping, and then an hour of playing with her. If we are lucky, she just may feel sleepy after two hours.
But to my pleasant surprise, she dozes off. Not to take any chances, I still keep rocking her for ten more minutes.
Then I put her down on her bed, swaddle her tightly and pray that she sleeps.
Stealthily I creep in to my bed and pull up my sheet.
“She’s sleeping ?” asks my wife.
“I’m getting better at this- don’t worry,” I feel quite proud of my newly acquired rocking skills.
Just as I’m about to raise my collar….
“Waa hua hua-hua….. I’m up daddy”.
This is a conspiracy, between the ladies of the house.
Half an hour rolls by, as she roams around the house, minutely inspecting everything she can put her eyes on. My hands ache.
1 am: First feed of the night.
“Burp! “ And then she spits up some milk. We have to change her clothes.
2 am: Diaper change.
230 am: Failed attempts at making her sleep. Even playing her favourite lullaby doesn’t have any impact. By then I become sure it’s going to be a long night.
3 am: Poty time. Another diaper change.
“4 baj Gaye…. par party to abhi baki hain,” sings baby Sharo, while we run round like zombies from some doomsday movie!
Obviously 5 am means feeding time again. She starts that “feed me right now war cry” and we rush to meet her demands, else soon the whole neighbourhood will think we are battering her.
We sincerely pray that this would bring some sleep in her eyes and we can collapse on the bed- our legs and arms feel numb from the night long parade.
Sharo though has other plans. Happy with the warm milk she just lapped up, she starts mumbling energetically in her baby tongue. We stare straight faced at her- “Just how long is this going to continue?”
She stares back, “Why so serious?”
6 am: I try to doze a bit, as Sharo discusses world affairs with her mother.
7 am: Diapers.
And at 8 am, when its almost time for me to leave for office again, and my wife can no longer stand on her feet, Sharo finally decides, it’s time for a nap. And she dozes off, just like that. And when i call back home at 2pm, she’s still sleeping.
We brace ourselves for another long night ahead!
All said and done, as I sit in office, I miss her, I miss holding her, and seeing her smile at me. And I cannot wait to be home….. being a father has its ordeals, but it does have its fair share of happiness that makes it all worth it 🙂