Monday, May 18, 2009

The Signs

My motherhood milestones - feeding, solid foods, diaper weaning, first bloody cut, first dislocation, first serious illness, first serious injury - have all had one big thing in common: Nino's guiding spirit.

Most of my stumblings through these three years have been made simpler, because when it was time, I listened to my son, his silences first, then his cries and now his words.

That was how it was when he first broke his hand. He cried himself to sleep. Nino never cries more than five minutes, perhaps the ingrained dna of having to show he's tough because he's a boy, perhaps because he wants to go back to what he was playing. That night, with a swollen arm, I rushed him to a doctor who x-rayed him and convinced me I was an over reacting mother. All night Nino slept in a peculiar position, only saying, ever so gently, mama, don't cover me, my hand hurts. The next morning, the swelling was there, and I was muttering about what to do as he sat cradling his hand, watching me trying to pour Ibugesic, and he said, can we go to the doctor again, my hand really hurts. It was a dislocated elbow with a muscle injury, we found out later that day. A pop, a cry, and a lollipop later, my son was back to his trucks.

That is how it was again, this evening. I reached home earlier than usual and was pacing the terrace hoping to catch him as he came back from play. I shouted and he looked up, one tiny figure from ten storeys down and he ran towards the lift. When he came up, he looked crestfallen, and I thought maybe the maid had a go at him because he'd been naughty. My eye hurts, he said, dust went into it. I kissed and hugged and said all my silly names to him, but he wouldn't smile back. So I splashed some water in his eye, dabbed the lid with soft cloth, splashed some more water. But this tiny speck of white over his iris just wouldn't go away. As I put in him my lap, swinging, singing, thinking the tearducts will clean the speck away, he said, ever so quietly, maybe we should go to a doctor. I'd told him not to itch, and he was holding back, but there was something in that tone that shook my gut.

Finding an ophthalmologist at 8:30 in the evening in notoriously laid-back Ahmedabad is difficult. Nino's doc finally gave us a reference, a sweet doctor who first dissuaded me saying it was way past his closing time, and then, perhaps hearing my panic, said yes. All through the rickshaw ride to the hospital, Nino kept his eyes closed, the wind hurts he said. The white particle was a speck of plaster, the kind they put on buildings, in his eye. If it had stayed overnight, it could have damaged his eye permanently. Through the anaesthesia drops and the short sharp-scalpel and some forceful holding procedure - he was obedient, quiet, co-operative. Not the son, who I've lately claimed, never listens to me. The doctor said Nino was very brave - words I've come to associate with doctors in reference to my son.

You're lucky, the doc said, you came at the right time. And I wondered about how I'd almost thought the spec would go away, that it was just, you know, dust. We've five days of drops and pain killers to get through, and one very red, but totally mischievous eye.

Right now, he plays near my feet, lining his trucks for a race, happy, singing his favourite song in a totally off-key but saccharine-sweet voice. Listening to our kids is something we all promise ourselves we'll do, putting that milestone at school, teenage and youth. I'm grateful Nino's teaching me this lesson early.

19 comments:

Sands said...

Am glad he is fine now. He sounds like an adorable kid :) I guess the challenge as a parent is to be able to identify when to wait it out and when to rush for treatment and hope to dear God that we pick the right option.

Sujatha said...

Wow! That's a life lesson worth learning and learning well, NM. Will be grateful for this cautionary tale. He's a treasure.

Broom said...

I'm so glad he's better now. A big hug to the little brave one.

Solilo said...

Awww..Hugs to cutie pie Nino. He is a smart boy. I am glad that he is fine now.s

VJ said...

sounds scary !!!
glas all is ok now !!
he truly is a brave boy !!

sole said...

Such a brave kid and I'm glad you took him seriously! Being a mother somehow, we learn to understand and feel the way our kids feel, our sixth sense becomes so sharp! Visiting for the first time through VJ's page.

In love with my life said...

And we keep thinking parents know better. Nino is one brave child...

He seems to have a good sense about his body, pray that stays:-)

preetischronicle said...

Nino is so brave! I am in awe of him

Anonymous said...

I really hope Nino's eye recovers quickly! Yes, it is scary to think what would have happened had you not heeded his advice. So good you went by your gut! God bless him.

Best wishes,
Anjali

maidinmalaysia said...

it's been a long time since i read a Nino post. big hug to Nino. Attaboy!

nitya said...

Oh dear god... I am glad, really glad Nino is okay.
Being me, I did ask Arjun to wear sunglasses the rest of his life... but being Arjun, he doesn't listen to my paranoia...
Are you okay? Big hug to the both of you.

Swati said...

So glad he is ok; take care.

dipali said...

What a sensible child, and a sensible mother who actually knows how to listen to her child!
Get well soon, Nino.

girlonthebridge said...

Oh NM...hugs and tears. Prayers for Nino...

Anonymous said...

Woah - Glad Nino knows his body so well....and glad that you were able to get a doctor at that time.

M

momstir said...

Dearest Nino,

You are a super trooper and you have a super mamma. Sending you a heartful of love and this song for you both. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FafLnokzeNo&feature=related

We know you'll be better soon so mamma Nino, you too feel better soon:)

Nino's Mum said...

Sands - I know, damn,you nailed the predicament! Also, are you a blogger? I can't seem to access your profile :) let me in!

Suj, Broom, Solilo, VJ - thanks.

Sole - welcome here. Gut instint/sixth sense/armour against murphy's law - whatever we call it, it seems to bind us all, no?

In love, Preeti - thank you girls.

Anjali - exactly. all through the hospital procedure I was very ice queen, and then at home in the night, the what-ifs got to me and I sobbed away. Destiny.

MinM - big hug from Nino and his mum, right back.

Nithya - oh yes. the sunglasses are a must now. and swimming is banned for a week. And cycling in the compound too. needless to say, all these rules make for a very irritated three-year-old.

Swati, GonTB - thank you. hugs to both of you.

Dipali - ah, you give me credit where it's not due. and I must say, I love your blog.

M - that's exactly what everyone is saying. I din't tell you that I gave a lecture to the doctor about turning patients away, did I?! It's catch22. They've lives and families too.

Momstir - big hug. much love. from both of us. Am going to play the song for him now!

Suki said...

Oh my goodness, I'm so glad he's fine, you listened to him and got there on time!

choxbox said...

hugs nino's mom. got goosebumps all over.

very glad he's going to be okay.