Almost everyone I know is waiting for the unlocking of the country’s longest ever lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. But, me; I have a strange set of worries. No, my worries do not stem from the fear of rise in the COVID-19 cases, or the thought of having to wake up at six thirty in the morning to pack tiffin for my kids’ school. I am under extreme pressure to, well… get a puppy for my 8-year-old.
Let me begin the story from the beginning. Over eight years back, when I had my second child, I thought our family was complete. My older child was already five by then. After she had turned three, her friends started to have siblings. This in turn meant she questioning me why she did not have a sibling — “But, Ganpati Bappa gave Ruhani a baby sister”, “But, Shashank also has a baby brother”, “You know what, Mamma? Bhavya is also going to have a baby sibling”, “Why Ganpati Bappa is not giving us a baby?”.
“But, Shashank also has a baby brother”, “You know what, Mamma? Bhavya is also going to have a baby sibling”, “Why Ganpati Bappa is not giving us a baby?”.
Both my husband and I also wanted to have another child, so came our second one. It was, and still is, a pure joy to watch both the siblings bond with each other. A large part of the year, I am away travelling to the hinterland for my reporting. Both keep each other occupied (and cover up for each other), and are happy together, which takes a big load off my head.
But, suddenly, some two years back, my younger one started playing-the-older-one with me — “Mamma, didi [elder sister] had a baby brother in me; then why don’t I have a baby brother or a sister? This is so unfair.” [Let me warn you, the second ones are smart cookies. They learn to talk about fair-unfair, rights-duties at a much younger age]. As I heard my second one, I thought I was going to faint, as I had still not forgotten hours of excruciating labour pains. Not once, but twice. And both the times I had told myself — “Nidhi, never again. Just let this baby come out!”
Since I am also a second born to my parents, I played a smart cookie with my second one and told him, “Ganpati Bappa gives a maximum of two babies only.” With a serious expression, my little one thought and thought. And eureka! Almost all his friends were either a single child or two siblings! He had to make peace with the unwritten word of Ganpati Bappa.
That reminds me, I had once tried using the same ‘logic’ with my older one when she told me she wanted a baby sister and not a baby brother [happens when siblings fight]. “So, could we have a baby sister, a third child?,” she had asked me. I smartly informed her about Ganpati Bappa’s unwritten word. She counter questioned: “But, then why did Ganpati Bappa give nani [maternal grandmother] three kids?”
“So, could we have a baby sister, a third child?,” she had asked me. I smartly informed her about Ganpati Bappa’s unwritten word. She counter questioned: “But, then why did Ganpati Bappa give nani [maternal grandmother] three kids?”
Children, I tell you! They ask the most relevant questions.
Anyway, I thought the entire issue was sorted and I could focus on my reporting. But, a year back, my little one walked up to me and said: “So, you cannot get me a baby sister or a brother. I understand that. But, at least get me a puppy.”
[My husband is right when he tells me our second one has gone after me. The little one never gives up!]
“Mamma, if Papa can have a puppy, why not me? This is so unfair,” I was repeatedly told. Almost like an accusation.
I decided to get to the bottom of this ‘puppy love’. And with some digging here and there, I unearthed my kids had gone for a birthday party where the birthday child received a surprise gift from her parents. And, the surprise gift was — lo and behold, a puppy! [Let me admit, I have met that puppy and she is adorable and roams around with hair clips and hairbands].
To add to it, my little one learnt when his father and her sister were kids, they had a pet dog, too! “Mamma, if Papa can have a puppy, why not me? This is so unfair,” I was repeatedly told. Almost like an accusation.
Ever since then, my 8-year-old has been using all the tricks in the trade to convince me to get a puppy. He gifts me puppy greeting cards. Our FaceTime is with a puppy face [he is away since May 15. Read more on this in my earlier blog]. My WhatsApp inbox is filled with his puppy GIFs and “I want a puppy” voice notes. Using waste newspapers, he even made a kennel for the puppy. My daughter made a paper puppy for him, but that isn’t enough.
The 8-year-old has given me an ultimatum that he needs a puppy once the lockdown ends. So, how many more days have I got? Also, even I am the second born, a smart cookie. So watch out for an update on puppy predicament!