"Ayushi! Where are you? I can't see you?" Daksha called out to her daughter who was currently hiding behind the washing machine. She knew her daughter's favorite hiding spot where she hid all the time. "I don’t know where Ayushi is?" she said out loud.
Usual silent house was filled with sounds of laughter and giggles. It was not a common occurrence. Being a working mother Daksha could not always spend her time with her daughter. Working as a manager of a team did not get easier even after 7 years of experience in the field. From today that would change as she had taken a break from work. Looking at her daughter's feet that was poking out she repeated loudly "Where could she hide?". Then with voice filled with exaggerated defeat "I lost to Ayushi again!"
The 5 year old girl smiled at her mother's voice. With a shout of "Mom! I am here" she ran to her mother and hugged her stomach. Even after countless trials of the game she was as eager to play as the first game. She really missed playing with her mother.
"I won! I won!, you didn’t know where I was hiding right?"
"No! Where were you? Can you tell me where you hid?" despite her knowledge she indulged in her daughter.
"I won’t tell you." She said with a huff.
"Fine my little cop don't' tell me."
A small grumble interrupted her.
"Come on Let's have some food in this little stomach. Today it's your favorite food".
Hearing these words Ayushi ran to wash her hands. Her mother slowly followed her to the kitchen. The sound of little feet pattering through home would soon be joined by another set. Daksha was currently carrying another life within her. This was the main reason for the break.
Halfway through their dinner they heard the doorbell. Ayushi paused midway through her complaint about not wanting to eat vegetables when she heard the doorbell. She ran to open the door while shouting "I think its Dad!"
Dinesh had went out to get groceries as they were running short. Both worked in same company. The company held fond memories for both as they met and fell in love in this company. While Daksha is currently manager of her own team, Dinseh works as a business analyst.
"Wait, Ayushi finish your food. Don't run" Her words fell on deaf ears. Soon she heard the sound of door click and another set of feet entering the house. Accompanied by this was the familiar voice.
"Do I get to eat your favorite food?" Her husband's question was met with giggles.
"Yes. You" helping her husband put the groceries on the table "go wash your hands and join to eat before the food gets cold and you" looking at her daughter "sit and finish all of the vegetables that are in your plate".
"Ok Ma'am" giving her a salute he went to wash.
Dinner was a huge chaos in the house on any given day. Today was no different. Daksha was tired from the long day. The baby was moving and kicking more than any day making it hard to play with Ayushi. Making Ayushi sleep was the next big thing that would tire her more. Her husband was no help in this area. She would only get more excited and want to play with him all night. And he could never say no to her.
"Time to bed Ayushi and don't give me that look". Ayushi pouted and went to her bed. The couple had put Ayushi's bed in their room with her favorite teddy bear was nestled inside her blankets. After the baby's birth this room arrangement had to change.
Knowing her daughter she would not sleep just like that. Daksha went inside their shared room to find her daughter playing with her teddy bear. As soon as she saw her mother she hid her teddy behind her and pretended to sleep.
Smiling at her daughter's antics she went and hugged her. Hugging back Ayushi inquired about baby's well-being "Is the baby sleepy? Will it sleep with me?"
"Yes the baby is sleepy and wants to sleep with its sister. Will you help me?"
She loved helping her mother taking care of the baby. It was one of her favorite "job". She would listen to her mother if it helped the baby.
"I will." Her words were betrayed by the mischief gleam of her eyes. Pulling a picture book from the shelf she continued, "But first read me a story" "Of course there is a condition" Daksha thought to herself.
Ayushi loved stories of Panchatantra. It had various animals. She wanted to make friends with all the animals except fox. Fox was always cunning in the stories. She was sure that they would steal her cookies or worse her sibling. Despite this realization she enjoyed stories with cunning fox in it. When it is in story it will not hurt her. Right?
Eventually the story of The Tortoise and the Geese ended. Ayushi did not feel like sleeping. She wanted to hear another story.
One story was never enough. It had to be followed by another one.
"Mom, read me the story of Monkey and Crocodile next" Daksha had to put her feet down. Or else these request would never end. "No more stories. The baby wants to sleep right now. I though Ayushi wanted to sleep with baby?"
"But I am not sleepy"
"Then I should bring sleep fairies. Do you know how to bring them?"
"Sing a song. Sleep fairies love your songs. The baby also likes songs."
"Are you sure it's for baby not for you"?
"Yes." Putting her ear on her mother's stomach she asked "Baby you like songs right?." Without a pause she continued "Baby says it loves songs".
"OK. This is baby's favorite song"
The melody of the song slowly lulled Ayushi to sleep. Eventually the baby stopped tossing and turning inside her womb. Slowly getting up, she put teddy beside Ayushi and tucked blanket on both of them.
Looking at her daughter's sleep after the long day was rewarding in more than one way. "You must take rest" Her husband's voice broke the spell that surrounded the room.
He came there as soon as he heard her singing. Daksha's singing was not just famous with their children. It usually calmed him and relieved his stress. Taking care of a child, while balancing work was hard on both of them. Dinesh was well aware of additional stress that his wife had to go through. Hence he took care of her when she was busy with taking care of Ayushi and the still in womb baby. "Come on! Both babies are sleeping. It's time for this big baby to sleep."
"Oh yes. Like you are not a big baby yourself. Once this baby comes into this world, I need to take care of three kids". Their bantering went on till they slept.