Not a nice woman to know

My birthday was like any other day. We woke up to Mia’s babbling at 5.30am. Unlike when she was a ‘new’ baby and had me sprinting out of bed, her morning babble got the usual reaction from me. I slunk deeper under the doona hoping she would perhaps go back to sleep. I hope every morning. Every morning she continues the gibberish till she realises that no one has responded to her yet. Then there are a series of grumpy, staccato bub-bub-bub-bubs followed by a screech. BAAAARGH. It is an imperial command for us to respond without any further delay. I slink lower and Partner happily goes into her room, changes her, cuddles her and then brings her into our bedroom. My birthday was pretty much the same except that Partner entered the room dancing with his daughter in his arms and singing Happy Birthday. Mia thought it was a much better start to the morning and responded gleefully. Bub-bub-bub-bubbab-BUB!
Mia at her tanty best
Then she proceeded to refuse to eat her cereal, wanting to dip her hands into the bowl, throwing her spoon to the ground (numerous times) and blowing into her cup instead of drinking from it. Like every other day. I quickly learned that when you are a mother – or a parent – your birthday does not matter. The rest of the day followed our usual pattern except she didn’t want her afternoon sleep and insisted on wanting to stand all day. That’s her new thing, holding herself upright. Since she cannot balance yet she usually holds on to arms on chairs or her cot railing. Only on my birthday she wanted to stand all day BUT she wanted to stand holding my shoulders and nothing else.

Then Partner came back from work with the most gorgeous flowers ever. Even as I removed the various layers of wrapping from the bouquet and put the flowers in a vase, Partner surprised me with a little cake (even had a lit candle on top). I was really touched. I don’t remember having a cake only for me in a very long time. I know I can bake but it’s just a tad silly baking a birthday cake for yourself. Mia probably sensed there was something different happening and showed her approval by flailing her arms and legs in her favourite bhangra move. Bub-ub-bub-ub-bubaaaa. Then there was a fight because she really didn’t want to go to bed and wanted instead to investigate that interesting thing on the table with the fluffy white stuff. By the time she finally went to bed, I was bloody grumpy. And tired.

The next morning (Saturday) I woke up in a foul mood. I am not a morning person. Actually I am not even a person till I have my first cup of coffee. So I marched downstairs, ignoring the cooing coming from Mia’s room – Partner, as usual, was changing her – and headed for the kitchen. As I passed the Area Under the Stairs – where we keep the laundry basket – I nearly tripped on a sole sock. I kicked it vehemently and swore at it. It didn’t respond. On some bizarre coffee-deficient impulse I decided to put the clothes in for a wash. I yelled out and asked Partner if there were any clothes in the bedroom upstairs, he said there were none. A cup of coffee and some sanity later – still seething though – I went upstairs. Mia and Partner were sitting in the bed, playing. They both grinned at me and just as they did, I noticed a pile of Partner’s clothes lying next to the bed. I let lose. I pointed a finger in righteous anger: I asked if there any more clothes! What the hell are those? Just because I am at home do you think all I want to do everybloodyday is run after socks? And wash them? And dry them? And then put them away? And do the wholedamnthing again? Partner stopped smiling, Mia started grinning and did some bhangra, yay, action. I stomped out of the room and went into the toilet.

Later Partner announced we were going out. I didn’t argue because I couldn’t trust myself to say a word. We drove up to Newport and Partner pulled over outside a café. Just as I was about to declare that I really didn’t want another coffee and maybe he should’ve asked me what I wanted, he pointed and said, “You are booked in there baba, happy Mother’s Day.” I looked. It was a spa. I got a foot massage, a full body massage and a head massage*. All the things I absolutely love.

I haven’t felt that good, physically, in ages. As I walked towards Mia and Partner waiting for me outside the café, I felt strange. He was smiling at me, expectantly, hesitantly. I could see the question on his face – Did she like the massage? Mia was sitting in the café high chair, her cheeks rosy from the cold but she was happily eating her biscuit. She saw me and her eyes lit up. Bub-bubbbbb! I felt like a total heel, an absolute arsehole. I felt I didn’t deserve them. “That was absolutely brilliant, thankyou. I am such a bitch. I am sorry,” I said in a single breath. “I am glad you liked it. It’s all right,” Partner said, picking up our stuff and walking towards the car.

Why had I been acting like a jerk? Because somewhere I felt I could get away with it.

I remembered what my mother told me when we were returning from India (March 2011). “You’ve had a lot of things happen to you. You’ve known unhappiness, loneliness. Now finally you have everything you wished for. He has made it happen. Don’t take him for granted.” I remembered what my boss – one of the best boss’s I’ve worked with – said the night of our farewell party in India (June 2008) – “JB, bahut ho gaya, make this work.” I felt I had let them down, let Partner down.

As we went to bed that night and Partner pulled me closer and cuddled me, I asked, “Am I bitch?” I didn’t explain, he didn’t need to ask.
“Are you sure?”
(Laughter) “Yes. But then, you are a funny creature.”

I have written umpteen posts on men who don’t treat women right. At 32 I’ve learned that I can be as nasty as those men. I’ve also written strongly about how you shouldn’t let yourself be taken for granted. At 32 I’ve learned that I can take people – particularly those who love me most – for granted as well. At 32 I have learned that there are times when I am self-centered, rude, hurtful, aggressive and generally not a nice person… It’s not a nice feeling. How do I change that?

PS: *had the massage at the Indera Day Spa. Awesome massage, very good staff, highly recommend it.


arundati said...

happy belated birthday JB... am glad you got pampered...there's a lesson in this post for all of us

jogibose said...

My dearest Papu,
This is probably a great virtue in you that you realise your mistake quickly and don't lose time to admit it openly.Removing negative thoughts can help you avoid such situations. It should also help, for me to assure you that your Partner is probably much better than most guys you would have come across.Thank heavens , he is not an egoistic person.Lots of love to all of you. Papa

JB said...

@ Arundati: thank-you so much. I really did enjoy the pampering, guilty feeling and all. I don't know about a lesson for everyone...but I felt I needed to share. was definitely not feeling high and mighty or anything. Thanks for reading.

@ Papa: thank-you for that. Partner is definitely not egotistic and is often more patient than I deserve. But I've learnt and shall remember.

JB said...

And yes folks, that's my dad. He's reading.

the cowlick said...

Don't be too hard on yourself, JB. Taking care of a baby and the house (I hear ya about the goddamn clothes - I feel the same way about the dishwasher).. it can all get too much. It's also the everyday routine of it and nothingmuchelse that can get to you. There are days when I do nothing "substantial" and yet feel exhausted at the end of the day.. Happy belated birthday, btw

Sree said...

I have thought about this, women who get too comfortable in a loving relationship.I seriously will not call a man loving for no reason. I can talk about two couples I know.
Couple no1: He fell in love with her many years ago when they were in college. He proposed to her and accoring to her she felt that "he's an okay guy" and said yes.She has a temper which i have not seen in many. As a friend i ahve experienced it too. The guy smiles it all off just because he is madly in love with her.
Couple no2: The man is a stay at home dad.She publicly calls for him as if he did some mistake by not attending to the child if their child would need parental help or attention. Her words, i feel, are always sharp and enough to hurt a man especially when he is among his buddies. But he doesnt mind at all and I'm sure she dont realise her tone and her words. All of them are comfortable in their relationships. I wish that these women realise it and treat their man a little better.They absolutely deserve it.

You missie, next time you must shout "I really feel like shouting at you now...but i will not". hehe There is no point in making people love you and then saying that i dont deserve it etc.duh?

JB said...

@ Cowlick: Thanks for that N. Yes perhaps its the monotony of things. Perhaps I miss the action and routine of an office. But god knows I really don't want to go back to an office, though I like the idea of working. Let's see how things go. How's your little one? Isn't he approaching his first birthday (unless I've missed it already)? Thanks for reading.

@ Sree: My dear friend who never minces her words. I hear you and much as I don't like it, I understand, agree and will try my verydarnedbest to heed you as well. I appreciate Partner for all he is, does for us and especially the smile he never loses while doing it. Having said that please dont assume that he lets me get away with anything . He does not and knows exactly how to put me in my place. Just that writing about it way too embarrassing. :D Thanks for reading...as always. How's pretty M? Still dancing?

Sree said...

oh shoot, wish i had put a word on smoking as well there to let you try your verydarnbest.
Thanks for askng, yes she is still dancing :) and wants to join art class, violin and ballet.I wish I could soon!

the cowlick said...

JB: Mine is younger than yours.. he's just going on 9 months, and down with a viral :(

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