Friday, 19 July 2013

A letter to Chicago

16 July 2013
Above Master Trading
Randall Street

Dear friends in Chicago,

Greetings from Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa!

Some of you are not Facebook therefore I am sending this letter. In fact my best friend, Chipo, herself is not on Facebook. As you know, Facebook easily lets you share one-liner updates and, truck loads of pictures.

I myself fully embrace Facebook as a new medium to interact with friends, practice online politics, and generally have lots of fun.

But I did vow never to become one of those smug parents sharing every moment of their new babies but whaddya know?! I have an album named "Komal Kavita Karamchandani" that has a blurb that starts reads "Kavita is the love child of an Pakistani and Indian couple that met in West Africa..." If that isn't trying to be hippy and smug, I do not know what is. What's more, it has 800 pictures already and, every caption reads "Cutest baby in the world!"

I pretend that I am not being smug to everyone I know by sharing this album only with 100 or so friends of mine (as opposed to all my 600+ "friends" list). You can do that with that the custom button. But that doesn't defeat the fact that I AM smug. Maybe when you have a child, you just think it's the cutest thing anyone has ever produced.

So, it has been almost 6 months since Komal Kavita Karamchandani was born. She is doing extremely well and, I am besotted with her. I love squeezing her cheeks and kissing her about 200 times everyday. I mostly in love with her little hands and feet and, how they kick and grab and explore. All the cliches about motherhood are true: you fall in love with your baby, you constantly worry, after you're tired of constantly worrying you start to take it easy, you don't have time for the father of the baby anymore, you try to do everything yourself and find yourself quite exhausted, every little new thing the baby does is thrilling, and every day life significantly changes.

Kavita is crawling, eating solid foods, smiling as soon as she wakes up, and licking anything she can get her hands on. It seems taste is the sense to explore the world with. Give her anything, it goes straight into her mouth.

The girl is mostly sleeping through the night and, has her routine aligned with ours. Either Haresh or I give her a bath, dress her, and take her to work with us. She takes a couple of naps during the day and, we have baby-fied the office so she has a place to sleep, has a corner with all her toys which she is not really interested in, she'd rather play with my laptop or calculator.

It took us a while to figure it out - at first the poor thing was either sleeping on my lap or in the car seat or in a small bed on my desk and finally on the floor. We got an office crib and made a baby corner. When she is awake, she is being entertained by the entire office.

We met some same-age babies recently that were quite different from Kavita. One was so shy of strangers since she stays at home all day. The other one "keeps her parents" up all night until 3 AM but I knew that it was the parents' routine which had created a nocturnal baby. Everyone else seems to project onto their children. So, Haresh loves to say, "Change the channel, Kavita wants to watch the cricket match."

Our conversations these days go like this:

Farzana: Haresh, please give the baby a bath!
Haresh: 9-11-2009 was the blackest day of my life! [the date we met at Accra Airport]

Farzana: Haresh, you have to get up at night to feed the baby in case she gets up because I'm getting up at 5:30 for my workout.
Haresh: Farzana, I'm tired, I've been up since 5:00 AM.

Farzana: Haresh, please mind the baby while I write this e-mail?
Haresh: I've been up since 5:00 AM.

Farzana: .... [While changing baby's diaper.]

Haresh: Get me the diaper! Get me the wipes! Please hold her while I'm changing the diaper. [While changing the baby's diaper]

Kavita being very cranky while with Farzana. Haresh comes over, takes baby and says to baby: "Your mother doesn't know how to take care of you, I'm here, your holy saviour."

Farzana: Don't do that! Whaat are you doing??! Be careful!
Haresh: I have raised 2 girls before. You don't know anything about babies.

Farzana: She looks exactly like me.
Haresh: No, she looks exactly like me. Thank Gawd!

Ladies, train the husbands/partners early on. Divide the work right from the outset. Let him do the morning bath and, you do the evening one. Let him get up one night in case baby wakes up and, you the next. Let him change most of the diapers. Involve him in everything. Ignore all moaning and whining. If he throws a tantrum, let him throw one, and take over the baby. Do not engage with a tantrum-thrower and, let him feel bad about it later on. Do take lots of pictures of the baby and the father.

I feel very very lucky to be working for myself and, being able to bring my baby to my office. I can continue to boss and lord over everyone! Just kidding, I'm trying to be less of a drag queen so Kavita doesn't become one. The upside is that Kavita loves to socialise and, meet people. Unlike that baby! And, after a hard day of work and repairing networking printers, she sleeps throughout the night.

What I really I really like about having a baby is the structure it gives you, which is great for a procrastinator like me. I now have to learn how to squeeze in my work and hobbies in between the baby's baths, feeding her, entertaining her, getting her stuff ready and, putting her down for her naps. I also seem to be doing a lot more! I've started the monumental task of trying to get back into shape and, shed the baby weight. So, I'm getting up at 6 AM three times a week to go exercise with my trainer. I'm also blogging a lot more! We also seem to be doing new stuff to entertain the baby on weekends.

I miss Chicago too much! I loved meeting you all and, cherish all the support and moments of friendship we shared. I feel like a wonderland opened up for me so I could have the baby in the safest and most loving of places. I can't wait to visit again!

The company is coming along and, we are working hard.

The days are tiring and, I'm often spent at the end of the day. Kavita and her father have nodded off by 11 or if I'm lucky, 10 PM. My secret thing is to catch a movie on DSTV and, eat chocolates.

On that note, Kavita is nodding off, Haresh retired long ago, and, I am going to doze off in front of the TV, my face stuffed full of Nutella. Straight out of the jar.



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