A few weeks ago, eight wild Brazilian Marmoset monkeys were stolen from the Alipore Zoo. The good news is that they were rescued. The bad news is that the monkey-napper who had been nabbed by the police, did a Houdini. Not that it would require one to know expert escape tricks when your captor is SLEEPING!! Tcha! Shame! But then again, meh! What else is new? What's new is, that he was caught again!! Bravo!
Well, given the EO's love for stories, especially stories that have the familiar and comforting features of action, good guys, bad guys, an encounter, a comic twist, some animals and finally justice and a happy ending, I thought this would be a great story to tell him. So my parents and I told him what happened and he listened, wide-eyed and fascinated.
His questions ran thus:
1) Were they baby monkeys?
2) Were they brothers and sisters?
3) But what was their mamma doing when the bad mans came to stole them?
4) [directed at me] Aah! I know! I think so she was sleeping like sometimes how you are still sleeping when I am awaked, right naa?
When qtn nos. 1-3 happened, my heart melted with love. Such tender, little-boy concerns. Such a strong belief that Mamma, all Mammas, will save her young from all harm. You can't put one past the universal Mamma because she is the ultimate protector, the shield, the forcefield, the safe haven. I started wondering whether I did the right thing in telling him this story and whether I should have gone in for heavy-duty censoring with regards to this particular tale.
And then of course qtn. 4 happened and I felt guilty.
There was a time when the EO would sleep in between the MIM and me.
Then his brother came into the world, got a cot and therefore the EO got his own bed.
So, instead of waking up between us, he would come snuggle in between us after having woken up in his own bed in his own room.
Of course, it never remained at snuggling. It also involved sitting on our chests, blowing raspberries on our tummies and planting wet, slobbery kisses on our faces. Not to mention singing into our ears.
While we loved it, the MIM and I are night-owls and go to sleep very late at night. I can still manage on a few hours of sleep, but the MIM can't. So, as soon as the EO would come into the bed and immediately after the first few cuddles, I'd carry him out, back into his room and lie down next to him on his bed and have the YO brought next to me too.
Then, what with school timings and getting up early in the morning and all that jazz, I started getting up earlier than him, so I'd go and lie down next to him and cuddle-and-tickle-and kiss him awake.
School timings have changed once again. Both my boys wake up at the same time. So I've asked my ayah to make them play with each other until I come out.
But he misses it. My very-very-VERY-soon-to-be-six-year-old son still misses sleeping with his Mamma. Once upon a time, the requests to sleep in our bed or at least have me in theirs would start non-stop from the moment the sun would set. Then it went down to a few times through the entire course of the night-time rituals. Then it became a single, solitary pleading. And now, it's gone down to every other night.
I thought maybe my son finally is becoming a big boy and then he goes and says something like "because she was sleeping". That's when I realised that the little-boy in him keeps quiet because the big-boy that he is struggling to become is trying to put on a brave face and adopt an air of maturity.
I should be grateful that my EO still wants me around. That most often, his moments of bliss are just of him sitting next to me and chattering non-stop even as I'm working on the comp and grunting in response.
It's all changing though. He loves being with his friends, hates coming home when he's having a good time with them, goes off happily to do fun things without me, has a world of his own which I know about but am an not a part of. At times I feel intensely proud to see him blossom into his own person and wear that streak of independence about him so casually, so non-chalantly. And at times, it hurts real bad when he'd rather be with his cousin or his friends than me. It hurts. Real. Bad.
But here's the thing.
And the thing is, he still wants to wake up and snuggle his head under my chin, breathe in my particular brand of Mommy-Love and sigh to himself that all is right with his little world.
I'm setting my alarm clock for an hour earlier in the mornings so that I can sneak into their room and lie down in between them until they wake up, Mondays to Fridays. I'm doing this for them. More so for the boy who will be celebrating his sixth birthday this month, but still believes in Santa Claus and in the myth that his Mamma is perfect.
But I'm doing this most of all for me.
Don't all animal stories come with a moral? Whoever though that this particular story would have a lesson for me.
Well, lesson learnt. Lesson learnt.
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