Raising your own little human is hard work in general,
and it's magnified when you take that little human across the world with you.
Connor is becoming more and more of a toddler everyday. I love it. He is just the most precious little angel baby ever. He runs up to me and gives me hugs and kisses now and it melts my heart every time. But, let me tell you, a jet lagged toddler is nothing to mess around with. Luckily the people of Mysore have been nothing but supportive and kind during our family's journey.
Everyone in India loves babies. And I mean everyone. Men, women, and children all just absolutely adore them. They get so happy and excited when they encounter Connor. They pick him up, kiss him, take photos of him, pinch his cheeks, give him food, play little games with him, and just overall love on him like nothing I've ever seen before. The waitresses at restaurants take him back to the kitchen to do God knows what (one time I heard her utter the word "chocolates," another time he came back with a rubber ducky). This morning a random woman stopped us as we crossed paths on the street to kiss Connor's hands and show him photos of her cat.
Sometimes it's overwhelming, but in general, it's sweet and good natured.
As Connor really begins to embrace his new identity as a toddler, he no longer enjoys staying in one place for more than a couple seconds and he is the king of kings when it comes to making messes. In restaurants, he shakes salt and pepper everywhere, throws the silverware across the room, climbs on the tables, you name it. He's also decided India is a great place to take up temper tantrums. His face turns beet red as he kicks and screams, stomps his feet on the ground, collapses to the floor in anger. It's great fun.
Sometimes I'm very patient and relaxed about the situation, and other times I become self conscious about it. Like, that's my baby, what are other people in this restaurant thinking about us? Are they frustrated or annoyed? Do they think I'm a bad mom? A disrespectful customer?
One time, Connor insisted on playing with a bowl of dirt that was on the ground (I imagine at one point it had a plant in it). He threw the dirt all over the place, including in his hair and shirt, rubbed his feet in it and smeared it further into the floor. As his mother, I want Connor to be able to get dirty, to make messes, and just be a little boy. I think it's important. So I was there a second behind him, trying to sweep up the dirt with my hands and put it back in the bowl as he played, but it was hopeless. Dirt was everywhere and I was becoming flustered. A waitress walked by and saw the scene.
"We're making a huge mess over here, I'm sorry. If you just give me a broom..."
She rubbed Connor's head gently and giggled.
"It's okay, it's okay. He's just a baby. He doesn't know 'mess.'"
Suddenly I felt like I could breathe again. I felt like I was seen and forgiven as a mother. He is just an innocent little baby. Messes and temper tantrums are part of the package and that's okay. That's life.
And honestly, this trip would not be as fulfilling and heart warming if I didn't have my son with me. He lights my life, temper tantrums and all.
In Mysore, they see babies as a gift from God and a sign of good karma from past lives. The overall atmosphere is so relaxed and accepting of real life, the rawness of humanity and motherhood. There's no need for explanations or apologies. It's understood that parenthood is the most difficult yoga practice, and everybody chips in to take the load off of the parents.
Even at the yoga shala, we have a "Parent Pass," which basically means we skip all lines to get our practice in (and the lines get LONG, FAST) and if we can't get to the shala right at our allotted time, there are no real repercussions, scolding or what have you. We're pretty much under a "get here when you can," policy, which alleviates any potential stress on our part. And it's so appreciated. Although, admittedly, Sean and I have been rockstars when it comes to arriving on time to the yoga shala every morning.
So here's to Week Two of ashtanga yoga, seventh series, and all the delicious chai and dosa anyone could ever ask for. I am feeling oh, so very blessed.
For love, with love.