Letters To A Dancing Star – Trophies and Milestones

Introduction

Age: 5 to 7 Months

Numbers have never meant so much. We measure, we calculate, we track – our celebrations and despair have become entirely numeric.

Oct 4th, 2010:

Stats: 11 pounds and 10 ounces, height over 23 inches. Good job, little lady!

Food: We are up to an occasional 3 oz per feeding, and I wait patiently for the day when you will drink 4 ounces all at once. 4 ounces – imagine that! We have a daily chart to track when you eat and how much you eat. When the daily total goes above 20 oz we high-five each other!

Oct 6th, 2010:

You ate ¾ tablespoon of rice cereal mixed with formula. Little lady is moving on to solids!

Nov 9, 2010:

You rolled! Milestone 1 check! I missed it.

Dec 3, 2010:

Stats: 13 pounds and 7 ounces, and just over two feet. Your head circumference has jumped into the 25th percentile! So once again – good job little lady!

Shots: 4! You screamed out in pain after each one, but came back to your sunny self within 5 seconds. You were more upset I was holding you down. My apologies!

Dec 15th, 2010:

Teeth- 2! We saw two tiny ones peeping out of your gums! They are really small, but as we have discovered – they have a bite!

Dec 16th, 2010: You crawled.

And so it goes.

One milestone after another, one accomplishment followed by another big achievement. We celebrate and congratulate each other as if we had something to do with it. But you do all of this by trying again and again. Practice is very central to your entire day. You work at things till you get it right.

  • The first day I gave you the bendy ball, you just stared at it. So I took your tiny little fists and wrapped them around the ball. The next day, you grabbed the ball with your right hand. On the third day you realized you could use both hands and shake the ball. And on the fourth day, you also realized you could use both hands and bring the ball to your mouth! These days, you love to swing the ball up and down with your right hand and sock yourself in the face!
  • You roll on to your tummy quite often, but get very frustrated when you cannot roll back! You are still figuring that one out. As a first step, you have started lifting your butt up as far as possible and pushing up on your knees – the rest has to follow! You flop down on your tummy, lift your butt up again and start from the top. Practice, Practice, Practice.

When you are not practicing you simply sit back and soak in the wonder that is all around you. You create pockets of contentment and joy without any help from us. I didn’t teach you any of that. Sometimes I like to pretend that everything that is good in you is coming from us, that it is our nature, or our genes, or some vague cosmic connection. But it is all you, this is who you are, and we take no credit.

  • When I say “Gudiya” you turn around and grin at me . How do you know I am talking to you and calling you “my little doll”? Is it the syllables, is it the sound of my voice? Where did you learn that this one simple smile from you will translate to “Greatest mom of the day!!” trophy for me?
  • I shaved my head when you were 5 months old (prayer, gratitude, there were many reasons for it). You waited in the car and when I came out of the Supercuts I assumed you were going to take one look and scream in fear or do something equally ridiculous! But when I sat next to you and said “gudiya”, you turned around, smiled and reached out for me. Your affections are very simple; they have nothing do with anything other than my presence. I am not like this, so it is impossible that you may have learnt this from me.
  • You and I were all alone at home on a Sunday evening, and at some point you fell asleep on me. It was very dark in the house, the only lights on were those on the Christmas tree. For an hour I sat on the rocking chair, holding you. I didn’t check my phone or watch TV, I didn’t think about how exhausted I was, or all the packing I still had to do (we are moving!), or about the 6 AM conference call the next day. You gave me the ability to simply sit there and do nothing. You gave me a moment that I could be present in, for the sake of it and nothing else. This, I believe, is contentment. And this, as lessons go, is something I learnt from you. You insist on nothing less than one hundred percent contentment for yourself and for those around you, and who can deny you that!letter4

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