The little pleasures of Baby-Sitting!
It was gradual entry this time. I spent a week with Nandini in Seattle first and tried to get out of my jet lag. As Neil and Nikhil are grown up, after the initial excitement of meeting me, they were busy with their own routines and activities. We also moved to Nandini's lovely new home and we were busy getting settled and used to the new place. I even managed a game of golf with Neil and Raxit. Neil really played well after a gap of so many months.
The first few days with Rohini in Vancouver were idyllic as Rhea slept most of the time and while awake she was in good humor. Rohini would feed Rhea and soon she would be napping, then Rohini would go out for half an hour to drop Leela at school and return before Rhea woke up. The same routine worked when it was time to pick up Leela. I had hardly any work to do as Rohini is quiet organised with the kitchen work.
This changed somewhat when Rhea caught a cold. She was not able to sleep as much and her routine changed. She gets up at odd times and is a little uncomfortable because of the cold. Thursday was fun! She was almost sleepy and Rohini asked me to walk her a bit and she would sleep. I said fine and Rohini left.
However, Rhea was not comfortable on my shoulder and started squirming. I tried to change my grip and it got worse (My grip is my problem even in golf!). She was sleepy and uncomfortable and soon started crying. My walking and swaying her as suggested by Rohini only made it worse. I thought I would put her on the swing and see if it helped. The swing is not the contraption we devise in India. Indian swing for babies is just a sari folded and hooked on to the ceiling. The sari wraps around them as soon as they are placed in it and they are also slightly immobilised at the same time and it works great as far as I can remember.
The swing here was a contraption to do many things and a challenge to my dexterity. I had to place her in the seat making sure I did not hit her head against the fulcrum at the top and buckle her at two points and operate the controls. There was one to swing the seat in various speeds, another to make some kind of groaning sound, a third to switch on lights and rotate the mobile. I managed to get the swing operating and tried to give her a pacifier. She started sucking at it with vigour and it would slip out of her mouth. Surprisingly when I tried to put it back in her mouth the swing stopped. When the swing got going, out slipped the pacifier and she started to howl. Soon, I gave up on the swing lifted her out very carefully and started walking her again. A big mistake as she started to howl louder and was holding her breath and getting red.
By this time she must have had a good work out of her lungs for about 2o minutes. Then the brilliant idea of switching on the TV occurred to me and it worked like magic. This must be because of all the TV Rohini must have watched during her pregnancy. Soon she was burrowing her head to my shoulder and appeared very sleepy. Rohini appeared at this moment and took over and Rhea was asleep in exactly 15 seconds time!
When it was time for Rohini to go pick up Leela, Rhea was wide awake and was playing with me. So Rohini left as usual and Rhea was fine for about 30 seconds and then started a small refrain of her complaints. I preempted any bout of crying by turning on the TV and it worked again. As it was on Golf Channel, she lost interest and looked away. I turned her towards me and was rewarded with the most bewitching of smiles. A kind that one shows when one is bonding with an other. It was a very rewarding moment! I later realised that she was actually smiling at her reflection on my specs. (Gayathri remember not to wear your contacts when your time comes!)
No matter, we were very comfortable with each other and had a good time. Suddenly out came one of those sounds which is normally the privilege of grand parents to make, those who had too many fried things to eat! Rhea looked pleased, relieved and was without a trace of embarrassment for letting out gas and gave me one of the most enchanting smiles I have ever seen on a baby.