Whatever gets You Thru The Night
Whoa, there. Where does the time go? I been wantin’ to post an update for a long time now, but honestly there is not a single leftover minute in my life. I guess this is how God keeps us on the up and up…no time to dilly dally, no time for idle hands, no time for any kind of real trouble anymore.
For Yogis and other evolved peoples, having children is most likely a detour from the spiritual path. But for me, it’s a big spiritual leap forward; I’m constantly thinking about the needs of my little terror monkey, which leaves little time left to worry about my own. “Selfless service”… that’s motherhood, and Karma Yoga, in a nutshell.
My time is largely spent feeding, soothing, cleaning and cuddling this sweet, sensitive and aware little person as she discovers the world and learns to navigate her new tiny body, which is frankly not all that comfortable. I often imagine infanthood as a typical Kafka scenario... an infinite, omniscient, peaceful soul is suddenly and brutally confined to the grossest, most limited form possible: a helpless three kilos of baby human being. It's a rather horrifying prospect when you really consider it, so I try mostly just to comfort her during this difficult time.
All my other duties as Queen of the Household get squeezed into those rare moments when the baby sleeps, on her own, without a boob in her mouth. Keeping up with food shopping, cooking and cleaning are the main priorities while everything else gets relegated to the bottom of the pile. Which, unfortunately, includes this blague.
Despite my busy schedule, I somehow manage to continue my previous –lifelong?– pattern of existential worries. I never was so satisfied with modern culture, and now that I have a little munchkin, I’m still not. I feel the weight and isolation of western life as much as ever, only now it’s German style.
I would love nothing more than to ruminate on this for hours, but my time belongs to a little monkey now and she says I can have twenty minutes (every other day, but not consecutive).
So, existential worries aside, our little baby brings with her a whole load of hope for the future, hope that bubbles inside me as I watch her chewing on her feet. It took me nearly thirty years to really home in on the spiritual priorities of life. With God’s grace, Moira should be well on her way long before that.
But as much as I delight in her smiles, myriad facial expressions, screams of delight, tiny little feet… those existential worries aren’t going anywhere. Just what kind of future are we looking forward to, anyway?
Future Generations Will Thank You for It
I’ve often seen Indian parents hold their infants so they could pee or poo in the bushes and was always intrigued by the fact that Indians don’t have or use diapers. Then –boom!– I had my own little munchkin and I realized two things straightaway; One, I’m not a big fan of washing poopy diapers and two, wallowing helplessly in your own excrement is undeniably Kafkaesque.
The first time I put Mo on the potty at around three months old, she peed. We immediately went from three huge loads of diapers weekly to less than one, no exaggeration. Within a week, we began sleeping diaperless, and now she spends the vast majority of time without one. Of course there are accidents, but she hangs out on waterproof mats and pee accidents require little effort to clean up (poo accidents are rare). The experience has turned out to be so successful, in fact, that I might even have started a bit sooner.
I share all this only because if I can just plant the idea, perhaps convince just ONE family out there to give it a try, well, that’s thousands of diapers saved.
Yes, thousands. One estimate I found puts the number of single-use diapers for one child at 7,349. “One-time use throw away diapers are the single largest non-recyclable component of household garbage, creating one ton of garbage per year per child.”
Garbage. As it is, the USA is a big exporter of it. I sometimes imagine that in the new world order (there’s bound to be one), when the US no longer holds the balance of power, our expansive country will become the next Greatest Place to put Your Landfill. It’s both logical and karmically ordained.
Think about it: can more than one billion Indians – not to mention the other cultures around the world who train infants to go to the toilet on cue – really be wrong? Do yourself, your child, your friends and family, your bank account, your environment, your world a favor and buy yourself a potty. Ours cost 3.99.
Moira Devi Super Baby
Mo is four and a half months old now. A couple of weeks ago we went for a check-up with the doctor and everything is AOK. She weighs 5.95kg (13lbs) and measures 62cm (24.4in) long. Herr Fritz and I are still considering whether we want to give her any immunizations yet.
She’s as adorable as ever, and certainly high-maintenance. Nighttimes are a dream and daytimes can be exhausting. She grabs everything in sight and prefers to do it while mama or papa carries her so she can reach all the things up high, like the leaves on the fig tree. She’s starting to sit on her own now but still refuses to have anything to do with crawling. She drools like a madman, enjoys devouring paper and gives me plenty of hickies (knutschflecken) on my arms, chin and neck. She is mesmerized by the telephone cord and so far has tasted a few foods including a strawberry, a carrot, a kohlrabi, and some avocado, but so far no teeth..
We recently bought her a sippy cup, which she holds with both her hands and feet. Her eyes are still dark blue and her hair is golden as a field of wheat. She loves bath time with papa and doesn’t mind showers with mama. And it looks like we’re evolving towards one long nap in the afternoon, though getting her to do it on her own will be tricky to say the least.
She’s a pro on the potty and now that we’ve been using it for about six weeks, I think I’ve finally identified the look she gives when she needs to poo…it’s subtle, though. Morning time she turns her head and looks me straight in the eyes, dead serious. That’s when I know it’s time. And like a good Indian baby, she poos regularly first thing in the morning, with or without an afternoon accompaniment.
She still loves her books only now she prefers to gnaw on them. We read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish as well as my own personal favorite Auf Dem Flughafen (At the Airport) ad nauseam and now we’ve moved on to Catcher in the Rye. Next up is Democracy in America (De’Toqueville). We don’t have a wide array of English books so we make do.
Motherhood is Pre-Programmed
In case any of you young, fertile ladies out there is worried about it, let me assure you that motherhood is pre-programmed. One caveat, though: you can squander all that valuable built-in knowledge by reading too much about it or listening to too many people who give unsolicited advice…it will only confuse you. And don’t trust what you hear so much…different cultures believe different things about the needs and abilities of children; African babies are often trained to sit at just a few months old. Nobody knows what your baby needs better than you do.
How Do You Know When a German is Drunk?
Over the last year I’ve been digesting my limited experience of German culture, and all I can say for sure is that it’s by no means an easy one to assimilate. For a while I’ve even had the impression that I can relate better to Indian culture than I can to German.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered the Germans’ cultural philosophy summed up in three little words and printed right there on the ubiquitous Ritter Sport (chocolate)package: “Quadratisch. Practisch. Gut.”
Squared, Practical, Good. What more is there? Indeed, Germans appreciate Order in all its ordered greatness. They like it so much, that “in Ordnung” is the accepted method of indicating that you are doing well. Sample conversation:
“Hallo! Alles in Ordnung?” Hello, how are you? (lit. Hello! Everything in order?)
“Ja, ja, alles in Ordnung.” I’m good. (lit. Ya, ya..everything is in order.)
Perhaps that’s one reason I’m not such a great fit for the Germans…they’re a serious bunch, and my frequent self-deprecating remarks – about my laziness, for example – are not considered funny. But it’s okay, ‘cause I finally found a friend, Harriet. She’s Scottish and when we get together it’s absolute madness. Herr Fritz calls it “Spass und Quastch” (fun and nonsense).
And how do you know about that drunk German? He’s smiling.
That’s all for now!