Two Wonderful Girls. One Day At A Time…

Archive for December, 2005

Once In A Lifetime Moments

I recently had one of the greatest days of my life. Now most who know me know that I am not prone to hyperbole, so obviously this was a big deal for me. What could be so great? Well, as you likely saw in Cherise’s previous entry, my family was in town. Having my brother, aunt and uncle in town to spend time with Iris was wonderful. However, nothing was like the moment my dad first laid eyes on his grandaughter. Seeing my father meet Iris may have been the single most wonderful moment of my life.

I suppose the best way to explain the magnitude of the event is for me to share the epiphany I had a matter of minutes after Iris was born. You see, in the final weeks of the pregnancy, I was imagining what my thoughts would be when I would hold Iris in my arms for the first time. I had this romantic vision of seeing our future race before my eyes–all those typical fatherly things like getting her to say her first word (I’m rooting for "Dada" or "McNair"), teaching her how to ride a bike, treating her skinned knees, and getting cute little father’s day gifts. When Iris was born, it turns out I was right and I did see all of those things. The difference was I saw it all as flashbacks with me and my father. My dad has defined my image of fatherhood and he set the bar high. I guess I always knew what he did for me and  certainly knew how much he loved me (just like my mother), but I never really understood why he made those sacrifices–that is until Iris was in my arms. As I looked at this tiny being, I realized this was exactly what my dad saw 34 years ago (when I say exactly, I mean exactly–everyone says she looks like me :-> ). It’s about more than just loving this creature more than life itself. It’s all about patience and sacrifices and this eternal obligation that never goes away and yet never seems like a chore. While the enormity of my own newfound fatherhood wasn’t lost on me, I seemed to be more struck by a greater appreciation for everything my father ever did for me.

When I finally left the hospital room after Iris’ birth, I quickly got on my cell phone to call my father. A tear rolled down my face as he picked up the phone and I uttered those words that I will certainly never forget: "hello grandpa". It felt like the ultimate gift I could grant him, but perhaps more importantly, I felt more connected to him that ever before–even though he was 3000 miles away. It’s as if the unspoken bond between us now has a new undertone: "I get it, dad. I finally get it.". As I would say to him on a phone call a month later, "Dad, I just want to say I’m sorry". He asked, "for what?", to which I responded "Everything!"…

Needless to say, seeing them together last week was something I will take with me for the rest of my life. Three generations of Khaund under one roof. And wouldn’t you know it–he was a natural with Iris. Every time she became cranky, my dad’s voice raised an octave and he calmly soothed her troubles away. I laughed every time I heard it because it was exactly what he used to do with me. Being a granddad (or "Koka") really suits him and he is having fun with it. Clearly, the rewards of fatherhood extend beyond my relationship with Iris.  Who knew?

Iris' First Assamese Lesson

This week Sandy’s dad, brother, aunt, and uncle came to visit, and Iris learned a lot about her Assamese heritage!

She began with the smells and flavors of Aunt Bunoo’s fabulous Indian food cooking.  Yum!  She watched carefully, so I’m hoping she can coach me on how to cook it later on.
 
Next she learned the Assamese words for her relatives, which is actually quite complicated.  Unlike our generic “aunt" or "uncle”, in Assam you call people different names depending on how they’re related to you specifically.  Here is a quick lesson:
 

Father’s side:

deuta (dita)

 

 

Husband

Wife

Younger Brother:

Khura

Khuri

Older Brother:

Bor-Dita

Bor-Ma

Parent:

Koka

Aita

Younger Sister:

Pehi

Peha

Older Sister:

Jetahi

Jeth-Peha

Grand Parent:

Aju-Koka

Aju-Aita

 

 

 

Mother’s side:

ma

 

 

Husband

Wife

Younger Brother:

Mama

Mami

Older Brother:

Bor-Mama

Bor-Mami

Parent:

Koka

Aita

Younger Sister:

Mahi

Moha

Older Sister:

Jetahi

Jeth-Peha

Grand Parent:

Aju-Koka

Aju-Aita

 
So, here is how Iris will refer to the relatives she is meeting this December:
  • Sandy’s dad Robin: Koka
  • Sandy’s Aunt Bunoo: Mami Aita
  • Sandy’s Uncle Bapu: Mama Koka
  • Sandy’s brother Razib: Ricky Bor-dita
  • Sandy’s cousin Barnali: Barna Pehi
  • Cherise’s mom Mary Kay: Aita
  • Cherise’s dad Bob: Koka
  • Cherise’s grandma Mary Alice: Aju-Aita
  • Cherise’s brother Sean: Sean Mama
  • Cherise’s uncle Tim: Mama Koka
  • Cherise’s aunt Lora: Mami Aita

So while Sandy’s side of the family has their names down pat, my side better study up to be ready for your visit next week!

Iris the Party Animal

In Iris’ most fussy period and after a virtually sleepless night at 4.5 weeks old, we went to the LEV holiday party with Iris, and it was her first big gathering.  We warned everyone that 5pm was near her “bewitching hour”, and I put her in the sling and waited for the screaming to start.  We thought we’d go for 15mins or ½ hour at the most.  Turns out, the bewitched child must like parties, since she was really good the whole time!  We stayed a few hours, even let other people hold her, and fed her partway through.  Where did the fussy baby go? 
 
A few days later I went to the First Weeks parent support group, where there were an unusually large number of people.  People were sitting in the middle of the floor, having taken up all the chairs in the room.  Really chaotic.  How was fussy Iris?  Completely silent, even though she was awake for much of the time.  I really think she liked the distractions!
 
For Thanksgiving, we joined Tammy’s family for a magnificent feast, with a group of 8 people and 2 large loud dogs, and she slept sweetly through the meal.  And she loved when Tammy rocked her in the rocking chair.   But, on the way home she began to cry, and I think I heard her say “why did we have to leave the party?  It was just getting started!”
 
And for just about every person who visits, she’s been the perfect angel.  So here’s the open invitation – come visit us and meet the happy baby!  We could use the peace and quiet.  (hmm… who wants to come at, say, 3am?)
 
Iris is going to love December, when her extended family will be visiting for most of the month. She’ll be the happiest baby on the block!

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