Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship

I think the title aptly captures my thoughts and feelings towards R.

You know how people always say that they fell in love with their baby as soon as the nurse/doctor handed them the baby on the delivery table? Ya, I'm not one of them. I was so wiped out after the delivery process that I did not even pay proper attention to my son. I knew that they placed him on my chest immediately, but that's about it.

My next meeting with him was when they brought him for the first feeding. Even then, I was exhausted and just followed the nurse's cues.

Those first couple of days and nights, I was certainly piqued by his presence but I don't think it would qualify as unconditional love. I will chalk it up to the aftermath of delivery, the sudden loss of sleep and the aching body parts. I think somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I thought I would go into the delivery room, get the baby out and be back for a nap in my room. I was strangely irritated when the nurse got the baby for feeding, like I wanted to tell her "Don't you know what I just went through? Do you think I could get a little break here?"

True to what I had heard from everyone, I found the initial days extremely hard. I was overwhelmed by the need that this little tiny baby had for me through the day and night. I was exhausted by the incessant crying in the evenings. I used to dread night time, not knowing how, when and if he will fall asleep. I used to keep an alarm for every two hours to wake up and feed him. I felt betrayed by the weakness in my own body which was not quick in responding to my baby's cries. I had days when I wept while feeding him. I even complained to my husband that life is not fair to women. Why do I only have to be pregnant, deliver and then breastfeed also? Why couldn't God have made it in a way that once the woman delivers, she can relax and the father can take over breast feeding, or whatever it would have been known as?

And true to what I had heard from everyone, it did get better. Two months since he was born, and it's getting better everyday. I don't know when I started enjoying my baby or when I fell in love with him. But, I have realized that it is gradual. Everyday my love for him grows.When I wake up in the morning to his coos and smile at him to say good morning, he smiles back. And my heart melts.

The hour long feeding sessions that I used to dread early on have become 5 - 10 minutes now and I use that time to bond with my beautiful baby. I wonder. does the father feel envious of this exclusivity that I share with the baby? Does he feel insecure in not having such an indispensable part to play, early on?

I now think of him as a little person with his own developing personality. He interacts and plays with everyone at home. He smiles and gurgles during the day. He looks satisfied when I rub lotion on him and dress him up.

Mostly, I feel that he is starting to recognize me. When he is lying surrounded by folks, and I get up and leave the room his eyes follow me. When he is playing with other people, every once in a while, he looks around the room for me and makes eye contact with me as if to say - "Hey, I'm playing with all these people, but you better stick around." And not just because I am the food provider. Everyday that I spend him, I feel that he is falling in love with me too.

Today, I can't recall how exhausted I was - physically and emotionally - two months back. Today, I love him so much that I actually miss while he sleeps in his crib! I guess this is the beginning of what they call - The Joy of Motherhood :)

Mutter Paneer, anyone?

Although this is an over-abused dish and pretty much everyone know how to make it, I find myself using different recipes every time. No drastic changes, but just a little tinge of this over that. And we all know what a lot of difference that makes in cooking.

Last night, I tried another version of it and loved it. Thought I would write it down here for future reference. This is a jain mutter paneer dish -- no onions, no garlic :)

Things you'll need:

Tomatoes - 4, quartered and blanched

Peas - as much as you like

Paneer - as much as you like

Cloves - 5,6

Cinnamon - a stick

Red chillies - 2

Garam Masala - to taste

Jeera Powder - to taste

Milk - Boiled,1 cup

Almonds - 10

Salt and Sugar, to taste

What you need to do:

* Cut and blanch the tomatoes. I did this in the microwave for 2 minutes.

* Add the blanched tomatoes, cloves, cinnamon and red chilli, sugar and almonds to the mixer and grind to a smooth gravy

* Heat oil in a pan and add jeera to it. Once the jeera sizzles, pour the gravy in the pan.

* Add the peas, garam masala and jeera powder to the gravy

* Add salt, to taste

* Add the paneer to the gravy along with the boiled milk. Reduce the flame so that milk does not get curdled

* You can add more sugar at this point, depending on how you like it

* If the gravy is not thick, you can use some cornflour dissolved in milk to thicken it

Notes to myself:

The dish was tasty but spicier than I would have liked. Next time, I will use one red chilli instead of two.

There you go, the evergreen mutter paneer. I had it with hot phulkas :)