Tag Archives: #umblicalcord

Needy Babies to Needy Mommies: Growing Up or Growing Old.

I wake up to BabyA’s sobs and find that she’s having a nightmare. I imagine that she must be dreaming of me being brutally murdered, judging by the intensity of her cries, but she wakes up and tells me her bad dream is a secret. After some coaxing, she admits, “Mamma, I was dreaming that you left me and went for dinner. I couldn’t come because it was an adults’ dinner, and I missed youuuuu”, she says as she trails off into another sobbing bout.

Talk about really slapping on the guilt: her worst nightmare was me going out for dinner? This intense separation anxiety started around one, and peaked at about one and a half, staying at an Everest-high till a few months before her fourth birthday.

I love my daughter immensely but at the worst moments, I have wanted to palm her off to any class that would give me one hour of breathing time. I felt suffocated by her constant need for me: sitting on the potty with her on my lap was always the lowest low that I had experienced as a mom!

Sending her to Nani’s house so I could enjoy some hours just doing whatever I wanted (which was usually sleeping), or sneaking out of my house like a thief (moving slickly, sticking my body to the walls as I moved and not breathing so she wouldn’t spot any motion), I have done it all! No material gift could have replaced anyone willing to take her off my hands and give me some me-time!

Once she started ‘big school’, I started seeing a change in her. She started becoming independent (“Mamma, I can open this on my own”, toys all cleaned up after playing, clips never lost- no matter how bouncy the castles had been). Slowly, she started drawing on her own: “Mamma, can you help me?” Sometimes I would, and sometimes I would ignore her and phase out, lost in a world of Insta selfies and FB viral videos that had nothing to do with snotty-nosed, attention-needy children.

After a couple of months more, I could go for a lengthy shower and come back to see her still playing with her magnetic tiles: building castles and weaving fantastic stories around them. I felt happy that she was developing such focus and didn’t need me all the time.

Now it’s over a year of going to big school, and turning 4 has completely changed her. Gone are all the tantrums of toddlerhood because she’s happy to listen if you dole out logic (or even if you give her complete nonsense but package it into a fabulous story). Along with that, is a lot of stuff that isn’t as easy to digest- namely, her growing need to not need me!

One day, she came home, opened her doll house and started playing. As Nandy and I walked in, she said, “Please go! I’m playing in my room.” On seeing her father’s face drop like she had just tap danced all over his heart, she volunteered, “After my work, I will play with you, ok?” The husband and I looked at each other, and I told him that this is it. We had a little phase (which at that time seemed insurmountable) where she needed us, but now for the rest of her life, we will be the needy ones: “Darling, give Papa just one kissy?” “Chikri-poo, just spend five minutes telling me what you did in school”.

I have dreamt, prayed, cried for this solitude, and now I wake up in the mornings to see she’s been up for hours and hasn’t knocked on my door, needing me. I feel completely dispensable. She leaves for classes, waving goodbye happily, or sits around for for hours, colouring her life-size cardboard rocket, and I can see my dreams coming true.  My little girl’s growing up, and as I foresee her rocket, ready to be propelled far, far away, I’m left wondering, why did I long so much for this loneliness in the first place?

“Mamma chahiye!”: Who cut my damn umbilical cord?

“Mamma chahiye!” (I want my mamma!) she cries, repeatedly. My hubby says, “Go in and comfort her”. My mom in law rushes in since I won’t. She still screams, “Mamma chahiye!” pushing her aside. When I’m saturated with the over-dependency and separation anxiety; when I need a moment to just be on my own and breathe, I land up getting so impatient because of her stickiness, I feel the monster in me rising. What I really want to do is whack her, but I scream so loud, it scares me too.

My sister tells me, “If you get that tired and fed up, just leave her in the room with the maid, and let her keep crying. If you can’t bear to hear her cry, and land up going in but then getting more angry at her, just go for a walk. Let her cry it out but don’t raise your hand at her. It never makes things better. Only worse!”

Even when she’s at school, it’s like a jaap which now just plays continuously in my head, “Mamma chahiye! Mamma chahiye” with lots of sobs! The lady at the gym (an older mom) tells me, “My son was like that. I used to lock the door and pretend I was bathing so I could just sit on my own, but they grow up so fast. He used to kiss my fingertips, every morning as he awoke, and now he won’t even come within a 5 feet radius of me! Enjoy it while it lasts.”

It’s hard to enjoy it most of the time, especially since she wants me to be with her 24×7, holding her hand as she eats, wanting me to play every game, drop and pick her up from school, bathe her, make her sleep.. and the list goes on.

But then my cousin reminds me: “I also get frustrated with my two girls, who want me around for everything but then I think, that’s how we were, so how can we blame them? We were always mamma’s girls and still are”, she laughs. And I have to say: I can’t argue!

Even now, when my mom travels, I miss her miserably. I want her to be constantly accessible to me, irrespective of whether I decide to meet her or stay busy in my own life. Just being in the presence of my mom makes my happiness quotient soar, and if society still allowed me, I would have her hold my hand through every activity too, but patriarchy doesn’t allow me any such blessings.

It’s just that when you grow up, you can’t express your feelings in the same manner. You must behave ‘mature’. When my mom’s about to leave for a trip, I can’t stand at the lift, snotty-nosed, tear-stained cheeks, screaming “Mamma chahiye!” as someone physically restrains me from jumping into the elevator, but that’s what I am really feeling inside. Instead, I put on a happy face and wave good-bye, “Enjoy yourself! Don’t get anything back for us!”

Very often, I hear my hubby telling BabyA, in jest (and a twinge of jealousy), “Why don’t you just go back into your mamma’s tummy?” And I can’t say I’m any different, even at 36! I’d gladly crawl back into my mamma’s womb if science could find a way for a 60 kg human being to carry a 65 kg fetus!