Kaiya’s First Year: Week 21
We’re into the last week of our time here and it’s going to be bittersweet having to say goodbye. The inner workings, the drama, the stories, the soul of the Gupta family have revealed themselves to me a bit more this trip. Understanding more Hindi has helped me to begin talking and at the very least, catch bits and pieces of conversation. It can be such a hard adjustment coming here, but just like last time, by the time we leave, I feel I’m just settling in. The impromptu family get togethers, Taruna and Pallavi didi bantering in the kitchen, afternoon chai, the clinking of mummi’s bangles as she rolls out the rotis, papa laughing at me for something I tried to say but probably butchered. Despite the language barrier and my cultural snafus, I feel like just another part of the gang. And somehow being stuck inside doesn’t bother me as much (at least most days!) as it would at home. Maybe its because I know its for a limited time, or maybe because it’s simply the norm here, or maybe it’s because I’ve got Kaiya to keep me busy and entertained. Regardless, the days pass in a steady sameness that I have come to enjoy.
It’s the week between coming back from our trip to Southern India and the annual color-throwing festival, Holi. There’s been a lot of down time, but I promised myself this time I wouldn’t let myself get bored (easier said than done….there were two days when I definitely did not live up to this promise!) When people are around, its easy to pass the time, but when it’s just Kaiya and me at home, I’ve had to get creative. In the early afternoon, before the sun is too intense, Kaiya and I go for walks around the rooftop terrace. It’s dizzyingly small, only 28 steps in all, but for a few minutes at least, it’s a nice way to feel like we’re out for an afternoon stroll through the neighborhood. Kaiya usually falls asleep during our walks, which gives me time to listen to music, write, or take a nap myself before the house fills with people again.
My favorite time of day here is afternoon chai. Usually between 4-6pm Vibhu’s sisters and their kids start congregating. With everyone piled into the small living room, chatter flows easily. The women prep vegetables for dinner while the kids play card games on the laptop and fight over Kaiya. I busy myself in the kitchen making chai and setting out the namkeen. This afternoon ritual is one that I always wish we could recreate in Canada, but with work, busy schedules, and a lack of friends in our immediate neighborhood, it’s near impossible to. I love the feeling of togetherness that sipping hot milky chai brings, the sense of belonging and family. The laughter and mockery are priceless.
Yet despite all of this, I am so looking forward to getting back home. I miss peanut butter, cold milk, and coffee. I’m craving a good long walk, fresh air, and catching up with friends. I miss our neighborhood and the autonomy that comes from fitting in. I love knowing that I won’t have to wash anymore diapers by hand or worry so much about what Kaiya is putting in her mouth. Oh and I can’t wait to see how much the babies from our prenatal group have grown and changed!
But for now, the festival Holi is on Friday which is always lots of fun and Vibhu’s sister, Mausam didi and her family will be arriving this afternoon to visit for a few days to meet Kaiya. So we’ve still got plenty to look forward to before we fly home!
What’s New in Kaiya’s World:
With all of the sun that Kaiya got in Kerala and Goa, she is officially darker than me. I love that she’s got a beautiful olive skin tone that tans easily, but family here worries about her getting too dark. I tell them I never wanted a white baby anyways.
Kaiya’s first tooth is starting to make it’s way through. We can feel the entire top edge of her bottom right tooth and I am sure that it’s left mate isn’t too far behind.
Kaiya’s GI Joe scoot is still a work in progress and while she doesn’t get anywhere quickly, she’s definitely building up strength. She can now get her knees up under her bum and for a second or two manages to lift her belly off up off of the ground. She’s still pretty top heavy though, so while she can easily get up onto all fours, its exhausting for her and she usually collapses down, panting.
I think she’s going to be a lefty. While child development experts seem to think that handedness doesn’t develop until after the first year, its hard not to notice how much she favors and uses her left hand.
We’ve had to give Kaiya medicine to help with her cough and after the first few goes, she quickly learned how to flail her arms, twist her head, and clamp her mouth shut. Anytime we tried to give her some food on a spoon, she vehemently protested. I think though that we’re winning her trust back again. She still doesn’t like to be fed and much prefers, and actually insists, that she participate in feeding herself. When I offer her a spoonful of food, she grabs the spoon with her hand and puts in her mouth. She’s got amazing dexterity already!