Mother Love

Good morning, beta. How is my baby today? Did you sleep well? Did you have sweet dreams? Great! And what do you want to do today? Let’s have some breakfast first, okay? Oh, no! Not immediately. First, let’s get you changed. What have you left in your diaper? Let’s see. Ugh – smelly! O-kay. Let’s pick you up and carry you to the toilet and get you washed. There! All clean and dry.

So – do we put a fresh diaper on you? Maybe not. Why don’t you just kick your legs around for a while and let your body get some fresh air? What are you looking at? Oh! That’s a lovely helicopter! And that’s another, and another, and another and another and another. Six helicopters on a mobile. Baby is enjoying looking at the helicopters on her mobile. Do you know? When Daddy and I went shopping for a mobile for you, you were five days old. And the shopkeeper asked us, “Is the baby a boy or a girl?” We told him you were a girl, and he suggested we buy a mobile with stars or dolls or teddy bears. “Because she is a girl, madam,” he said. But Daddy and I disagreed. We both liked the mobile with the helicopters best, so that is the one we bought. Do you like it, baby? Wasn’t the shopkeeper silly? Silly shopkeeper!

I see! Yes, I know exactly how you feel. You want to reach out and grab the helicopters, right? My smart, smart girl. Baby, breakfast time. How would you like a banana? No porridge today. Boring porridge. Today’s menu is banana with a sprinkling of cinnamon powder. Will you enjoy it, do you think? Why don’t we try? Come. There! Comfortably settled on my arm? Now off we go to the kitchen. Where is the banana? The banana is in the fruit bowl. Where is the fruit bowl? The fruit bowl is on the table at the far end of the kitchen. Let’s go to the table. Here we are. What a lovely fruit bowl, and what colorful fruits it has! Which banana would you like? Let’s try this small one. It is much too small for a full breakfast, but I’d rather you didn’t waste any. What do you say?

You want to pick the banana? Alright. Just touch your hand to the banana you want, and I’ll separate it from the bunch. No, baby. Not the apple. Both? You want both bananas? You’re much too little to eat both, beta. I’ll hold up both, and you pick the one you want, okay? This one? Sure. Now, we find ourselves a plate. Since this is your breakfast, you pick a plate. Would you like your yellow plate or the purple one? The purple one? Isn’t it pretty? Daddy bought it when he was in New Zealand on work, before you were born. Imagine! The plate is older than you are!

Now I’ll peel the banana. Like – this…. Then we put the banana on the purple plate and take out a fork from the cutlery drawer. Why? To mash the banana, of course. You want to help me mash the banana? That’s a great idea! But be careful not to poke yourself, baby. Let’s both hold the fork and mash the banana. There! All done. Now for the bottle of cinnamon powder. We sprinkle it lightly only. Mmmmm – smells delicious. All ready now. Let’s grab a fork. Why another one? Beta, a metallic fork might hurt your little mouth, so we grab the purple plastic fork that matches the purple plate, and off we go to the dining room.

Shall I settle you into your high chair? Oh, no! I need to put on a diaper, and I forgot to get your bib. Let’s go to our room first to get you decent. There! Feels good? Want to come with me to pick a nice bib? Let’s go…. And now we open the cupboard door and pick a bib for baby to wear before she eats her breakfast. Oops! There’s only one bib, but it has a beautiful teddy embroidered on it. Shall I tie it on? I know you want to do it yourself, but why don’t we wait till you’re a little bit older? Let me help you. What? You don’t want a bib? Then we’ll have to change you into old clothes. We can’t have all your clothes spattered with food stains. So let’s pick an old dress. Tell you what. Why don’t I pick a dress? I’ll pick this blue one.

Out of your pyjama top and into the lovely old blue dress. And now – ta da! Breakfast time! Here’s baby in her high chair with the mashed banana on her purple plate. You want to feed yourself? Sure! But let me help you. My! You’re smart! How did baby learn to do this at only seven months old? I’m really proud of you, my doll. Do you like it? Yummy banana with cinnamon powder! Yummy-yummy in baby’s tummy.

What are you looking around for? I see – missing Daddy. Well, pet, I miss him too, but he’s gone to Tokyo. He’ll be back to feed you breakfast tomorrow. I’m sure if he’s looking at the time in Tokyo, he must be thinking, “What a pity! I missed breakfast time with baby.”

What? What is it? What do you want? You want me to eat with you? But I usually eat much later. Oh! You’ve got used to Daddy eating with you, and don’t want to eat alone. Okay. But I’m not hungry. How about it if I get myself a glass of juice? Yummy orange-colored orange juice to keep baby company. Another bite of the banana? Great! All done! Good girl! You’re still hungry? I see. You want some orange juice too? Okay. Let me get you some from the kitchen in your purple plastic cup, and then we can drink our orange juice together. Now be good – I’ll be back in a moment.

Here you go! OJ for baby. I know there’s hardly any, but I don’t want you to spill it, so I’ll keep getting you refills as often as you like. Do you know a lot of people think I’m strange because I don’t give you a sipper? But I don’t see why you can’t learn to drink from a glass right away. I mean, you’ve never had a bottle, and you’re doing fine, aren’t you, baby?

Alright. Hold the glass with both hands, and bring the rim up to your lips. Then tip it slowly till the juice reaches your lips, and sip. Got some juice? Good! Oh! Don’t worry about dribbles. That’s why you have your blue dress on, and we’ll wipe it off your chin with this lovely napkin. Nice? I know, I think so too. Another sip? Alright, I’ll have mine once you get another sip down your throat. Now a big gulp of orange juice for Mama. Yum yum! And another little sip for baby. Wow! You finished your juice! Want some more? Okay, I’ll get you some. Alright, don’t fret. I won’t get up. I can’t understand, baby. What do you want? Juice? Well, I need to go and get you some. I see! You want some out of my glass? Alright – same procedure. Hold the glass with both hands, bring it up to your mouth, fasten your lips on the rim, tip it slowly till the juice reaches your lips, and sip. Good! I am impressed! You drink really well from a glass. Good baby! Another sip? Al-right! No more? Are you sure? I guess we’re done with breakfast. So I’ll just finish the rest of the OJ from my glass, and get these dishes to the kitchen sink. You want to come with me? Let’s get you out of your high chair, then. Alright. Baby is in Mama’s arms again, and she’s going to help by holding her empty plate and fork while Mama gets the cup and glass. Now, baby, put the plate and the fork in the kitchen sink. Like this. Yes, just like Mama just put her glass and your cup in it. Carefully. We don’t want to break the glass. Well done!

It’s time to water the plants now. Let’s get the watering can. It’s in the broom cupboard. We take it to the sink and fill it with water. Baby wants to play with the water gushing from the tap? Wait a moment! Let me reduce the flow or we’ll both be drenched. There. Wet. Water is wet. Feels nice? Why not move your hands in the stream of water? I will too. Yes, I like it too. Baby’s gurgling! And Mama’s laughing. Sheer joy, my darling. It’s okay to laugh just because you want to. In fact, it’s great to laugh! Played enough? Shall we fill the watering can now? Let’s not fill it to the brim. It’ll be too heavy for Mama to carry, considering she’s carrying you too. And we definitely don’t want the water to splash out and make a mess on the floor. Half-full should be fine for the moment.

Right. First we head to the balcony off the dining room. We have seventeen plants there. Flowering plants, all of them. Five gerberas, five phlox, five dahlias, one rose plant, and one jasmine. Why one each of the rose and the jasmine? Well, Daddy and I went overboard with the others and then realized we didn’t have any more space in this balcony, and we were very keen on the rose and jasmine, so we compromised by getting just one each of those. Aren’t they pretty? Oh, baby! Watch out for the thorns on the rose plant. What pretty flowers! Look! This is a red gerbera, this one is yellow, this one is orange, this one is white, and this one is purple. And now the lovely dahlias – yellow, white, pink, red, and orange with white tips. Which one do you like best? The orange with white tips? Me too! No, no. Don’t do that, my dear! It’ll break the flowers. Okay – we’ll do the colors of phlox another day. The jasmine is white, and the rose is red. Beautiful, beautiful red. Do you remember the story of Snow White and Rose Red? Well, the jasmine and rose are like that: snow white and rose red. Don’t frown, baby. It’s fine if you don’t remember. I’ll read it to you again today. After lunch suit you? Great!

Now we refill the watering can and go to the balcony off the kitchen. So – what are we watering? This is the pot of coriander. How fresh and green it looks! This one is mint. You want a leaf? Hmm – might be a bit strong. Why not try a coriander leaf? Give me a minute, baby. Oh! You plucked a leaf! That was very clever of you! Please open your fist, baby, and give the leaf to Mama. I need to wash it first before you eat it. No, we don’t need to get up. I’ll just dunk it in the watering can, and it’ll be clean, and then baby can eat her coriander leaf plucked fresh from the pot! Like that! Wrinkling your nose? What happened, pet? Isn’t it tasty? You love it in veggies and dal. Now back to work. We need to water the wheat grass pots, and the tomato plant. Don’t you like the lovely little tomatoes? They’re not full grown yet. Oh! That’s the telephone! Let’s rush. It might be Daddy.

“Hello! Oh, hi! Yes, she really missed you at breakfast – made me have some OJ to keep her company. Baby, baby. What? Oh! She’s trying to get the phone. Sure. Hang on a moment.” Baby, here’s Daddy to speak with his little girl. Let me put the phone to your ear, and say ‘Hello!’….. Okay, talked to Daddy? Now Mama will speak with him. “You should have seen her eyes widen and her face light up at the sound of your voice… No, she hasn’t said a word yet, but she’s just about seven months old… Relax – I don’t think you’re going to miss any of her milestones… No, I haven’t managed to think of a name for her. Annoying, I know, but no name seems good enough, somehow. Listen, you’re her parent too. What about you? … There! You see? It just isn’t easy coming up with a name for her. You think, and I’ll think too, not that we haven’t given it some thought in all these months, and we’ll compare notes once you’re back. Anyway, tell me: how’s it going with you? … Oh! Well, you were expecting the client to be crabby, so you can’t say you’re surprised… You might have to stay on another day? I guess that means I’ll have to cancel dinner at Medha’s, then. She’s your friend, and it’ll seem odd to go without you. Besides, it might get late, and you’ll be in early the day after tomorrow, so I’ll lose sleep as well… Well, there is that point of view. It would be good to get out and have some adult company and conversation, and baby usually goes out like a light at about eight, so I can take her along and put her in a quiet bedroom at Medha’s. I’ll take the baby alarm along. I don’t know. I’ll see. I mean, I don’t have to decide right away. Let me get a moment to myself and think it over. Okay, listen, she’s tugging the phone out of my hands – I have to go now… You take care. I love you too.”

Daddy! Did you enjoy speaking to Daddy? I can see you did. Yes, darling, I enjoyed speaking with him too. Daddy loves you, and I love you too, beta. Okay. Let’s finish watering the plants. Just a few more – the chilly. Oh, don’t touch! Don’t touch! Stay away. Baby – NO! Oh, dear! I’m sorry, darling. I didn’t mean to yell. It’s just that if you touch the chillies, you’ll get some on your hands, and who knows where you’ll put them next and then burn yourself? I’m sorry, baby. Mama’s very, very sorry. There. Let’s get some hugging and petting time. Mama’s best girl. Mama’s favourite girl. Mama’s special baby. Mama’s wonderful baby. Bad Mama for yelling at Baby. My pet. Feeling better? Good. Now, I’m going to let you out of my arms. You sit on the kitchen floor here, while I water the chilly plants, and then we’ll empty out the watering can and do more fun things, okay?

All done. Come, baby. A-aaah. You’re becoming too heavy for me to carry around all day long, baby. It’ll be a relief when you start crawling or walking. Some mothers leave their children in the crib or bassinet with some toys while they get their chores done, but I’d rather have you with me. Though I must admit it’s a bit of a challenge getting the cooking done with you in my arms, but we manage, don’t we?

Time to make the beds. Why don’t you choose a toy and I’ll put you on the rug with it while I make the beds? So – what do you want now? You like this teddy and the colorful blocks? Okay. Here they are. Now you sit and play, while Mama makes the beds. No, baby. I can’t hold you and make the beds simultaneously. But we’ll talk while you play, alright?

Tell me, what are you doing? Really? I see. My goodness, I didn’t know you could make such a wonderful design! Tell me more. The teddy? Yes, that’s his arm. Oh! You know that? Of course you do! And what do you want to do with the teddy? Honest? I’m impressed. That is really very smart of you. Tell me more. Huh? What? Wow! Yes! Goo! Gah! Ba-ba-ba-booooo! Good! Play more, baby…

Oh! Don’t cry, sweetheart. I didn’t mean to leave you alone. You were so happy playing. I didn’t want to disturb you. I was in the next room, making the beds. That’s all. Okay – come to Mama. Here – let me pick you up. And let’s get your blocks and teddy. You come and sit with me, yes? There! Now I’ll just quickly finish making the beds and then we can start your massage. Ah! I can see a happy baby now. Baby loves her massage, doesn’t she? Right – give me a couple of minutes, and then we’ll start.

Massage time! Baby’s towel and oil. I know, I know. You want it. But I need to warm the oil, beta. You hold the towel, and we’ll take the oil to the kitchen, pour some out into a microwave safe bowl, warm it in the micro, and then – baby will get her delicious massage. Ah! I can see you can’t wait. O-kay. Thirty seconds should do it. We don’t want it to be too hot. No, I can’t let you touch the warm bowl. Now we’ll just take your blue dress and diaper off, and then start on the massage. Wet diaper. Let’s wash and dry you, so you enjoy the massage.

Now. Baby minus clothes lying on a towel on Mama’s legs, and Mama is applying oil. Lovely, oily oil to make baby’s skin soft and her bones strong. And I rub and I rub and I rub and baby smiles and gurgles through it all. Shall we sing the massage song, baby?

I love my massage

I love my massage

It makes me feel good

It makes me feel good

First my shoulders then my chest,

Then my tummy – that’s the best.

Then my thighs – Mama, what bliss

Then calves, feet, and Mama’s kiss.

First left then right

Those are my arms

And time to flip

Me onto my tum.

My neck and back and bums are done

My legs, my sides: I’m having fun.

Flip again – it’s face and head now.

We’re finally done – time to take a bow.

Darling baby. That was good. I enjoyed the massage and the song. I think you did too. Good! I heard you singing along at times. You’ll soon know the song by heart! Bath time now! And we can play and play and splash and laugh in the water, and we can tickle each other with the water. Gooood! I can see you so excited and happy. Just give me a moment to take my clothes off. Don’t pull! I don’t take my clothes off in the room, at least, not with the curtains drawn wide open. That is only allowed for baby. Special, special baby. Kissing time, kissing time. Mmmm – oh, how I love kissing you! Alright – stop fussing. Let’s go for a bath. Let me collect your towel and my bathrobe, and let’s put on the taps in the bathtub. There! Mama, it’s time to strip! Ah-a! Baby is playing with Mama’s body, but we’ll soon play with the water.

We get into the tub, and s-w-i-r-l in the warm water. De-licious! I know it’s not to eat or drink, but it’s fun all the same. Splash, splash, splash! And we let the water trickle through our fingers and off our arms, and our legs, and Mama will put baby soap on the sponge and rub baby’s body gently. Does that feel good? Tell me, baby. Yes! I can see it does! Yes, I’m enjoying myself too, beta. We wash gently and carefully and thoroughly all over to have a sparkling clean and fresh baby. What joy! Do you know? When you are a little older, you’ll start swimming in a pool. A big, big piece of water. You’ll have floaties on your little arms to keep you afloat, and you can splash and kick your arms and legs around and float all over the place. Oh, darling, it’ll be such fun! Aaah! This is fun too, I can see, but nothing compared to the fun you’ll have in the pool. Lovely, lovely bath. Baby, the water’s getting a bit cool now, so sit still while I add some warm water. No, no, no going under the taps – you’ll get scalded! Stay here, don’t fuss.

Okay – you want the warm water directly? I’m going to put some of the water from the warm tap directly on to your arm. Hot? Oh, don’t cry, baby. Don’t cry, beta. Hot water hurts. Listen, this water is HOT. Hot, you understand? Hot water. No, no. I’m putting it on my arm. Look, the water I’m putting on my arm from the warm water tap is HOT. Ouch! It’s uncomfortable. It hurts – it burns. Hot, you see? We stay away from hot water. We don’t go near hot water. It’s hot, okay? Stay away. Yes! Good girl! We stay away from hot things. Hot! We stay away. We don’t go near. Okay, the water’s warm enough, and I’m going to shut the tap off. Turn it off tight, like this. You can try to turn a tap off too, but the cold water tap. You can turn the tap on and off the next time we need to use a tap. Would you like that? Would baby like that?

Now we get out of the bath. Mama wears her bathrobe, and picks baby up, and wraps her in her fluffy yellow towel. Good! Let’s get to the room and lay – you – down, and rub you dry, and put your diaper on, and get you into your pretty blue dress with a pink fairy on it. There! You look like a dream, baby. I love you. Yes, sleep time now. Clean sleepy well-dressed baby will go down for a nap, and wake up refreshed and hungry in time for lunch. Good night, sweetheart. Oops! There’s the phone. I hope you don’t wake up. Ah! You’re in dreamland.


“Hi, Ma! She’s just fallen asleep. Everything is fine. Are you okay? … Listen, I can’t talk now. I’m not busy and nothing is wrong, but my mouth hurts. I’ve been talking non-stop for hours, and I’m all talked out. I’ll speak with you later. Bye!”



One Comment on “Stories”

  1. […] Stories What I Would Tell My Child if I Could Only Say One Thing → […]

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