Considering that until the night of 7th May I didn't even remember Mother's Day, it turned out to be one mother of a day.
It started just as a mother expects her Sunday to, i.e. exactly like every other wretched day. We were woken up at 7 a.m. by the well-aimed kicks of our younger son who, having slept soundly for the last three hours, was now ready to continue our never-ending meal together. By 8 o'clock, when he'd been nicely overfed and plonked in front of the TV and the driver had been despatched to Itwar Bazaar for groceries, I remarked to Azfar, "Chalo, not such a bad start, after all."
"Yes," he responded, bending to fix the feeding tray on the high-chair and instantly pulling a muscle in his back.
It was all kind of downhill from there. The maid, who was supposed to come back at 10 am after her day off, turned up at 6 pm. And I don't know which supra-muscle Azfar pulled but this one extended from the nape of his neck right down to the small of his back and halfway around his stomach (if a doctor or physio is reading this, do let me know whether you've ever come across this in a patient or if it is, as I suspect, a brand new medical discovery). So most of the day went by having conversations roughly in this vein:
Azfar: “Aaf, cream laga do.”
Me: “Okay. Let me leave Zain in the play pen.”
Me: “Solom, not now. Baba ko chot lagi hai.”
Me: “What? I haven't even touched your back yet!”
Me: “Solom. SHUT. UP.”
*sound of Zain crying from the other room because he's wondering where everyone is*
Azfar: “Aaaaahhhhhhhhh... a little higher.”
Me: “Where's the pain?”
Solom: “Garam dudooooooooo! GARAM DUDOOOOOO!!!!!!”
Me: “Ab Solom ki pitai ho gi!!!!”
Solom (lying down): “Baba chot lagi hai.”
*Zain hysterical in adjoining room, thinking he's been abandoned for life or, even worse, been left at home while his parents have gone out with his brother*
In the middle of all this, my mother called to tell me that her sister had received Mother's Day orchids from her two sons. Great.
By evening, Azfar had had another spasm in his back, this one even worse than before (if that was possible) and was now being pushed around the house on a swivel chair, if you please. Somewhere along the way, my mother’s other sister arrived like an angel from the skies - only better, because while an angel might have come bearing something annoying like good advice or a warning for the future, my khala came laden with potato salad, spaghetti and leftover chocolate cake. The night looked like it might still be salvageable. Except Solom consumed two Turkish delights and half the cake and then spent the next three hours giggling hysterically, jumping like a Jack in the Box, and nearly giving me and Azfar a heart attack by demonstrating that he could now straddle the railing of his crib. This obviously woke Zain up, who also got infected by Solom's sugar high and started thrashing around the bed, making at least seven attempts to roll off it. By this time I was so sleepy and pissed off that I dumped Zain in Solom's cot, where he proceeded to kick the crap out of his older brother, who then had to be rescued from his own bed.
I don't really know when it all ended. But when I awoke with a start at 3 am, both kids were asleep. Storing energy for the next round, no doubt.
In a way, it was a very mothery Mother's Day, because I spent the whole day caring for three incapacitated human beings. Yet, even in the midst of all this madness, my two boys gave me something to be proud of (N.B. Azfar and I have spent the last three minutes trying to think of what he might have done to make me proud but we’re drawing a blank). During the daytime, while Zain was ineffectively wriggling on his belly in pursuit of something or the other, he suddenly lifted himself into a proper crawling position and actually held it, grinning at me like a chubby kitten. Big “OMG!” moment.
And while Solom was watching Episode # 354,276 of Dora, I saw him do something he’d never done before: try to answer a question that he didn’t know the answer to. (This particular proud moment was short lived because when he got the answer wrong, he jumped on the sofa and stuffed the corner of my beautiful, white silk cushion in his spaghetti-stained mouth).
Anyway, the good news is that everything I’ve related above happened yesterday. There are already nearly 24 hours between me and Mother’s Day 2011. Azfar’s back has improved greatly, I’ve eaten three cookies and the electricity just came back. The bad news is that it’s nearly 7 pm and the kids are about to come home from the park.