As we finalize our plans to move back to India next month, we go through our checklist of things to take care of here. There are so many things to do and soooooo many people to inform such as our landlord, our nanny, our bosses at work, our doctors, dentists, beauticians and obviously alllll our friends. The list just goes on and on. But amongst all of these, the person I was dreading the most to break the news to was our baby's nanny. After us mommy and daddy, our nanny is the next closest person that our baby is attached to. The lady has literally raised my DD since she was almost 2 months of age. Ever since DD turned 3 months, I have gone back to work full time and it was this woman who was nurturing her, feeding her, bathing her, teaching her how to play, how to walk, how to talk, taking her to walks around the block and then later to the park. Not that we were never there for DD but obviously given that we both had full time jobs as well, she was with the nanny for a major portion of each day. So in the past year or so, its like our family has not grown by 1 but 2 new members - our DD and our DN (Dear Nanny) whom we call Auntie out of love and respect.
There was another "Auntie" we had hired before her but she was such a huge contrast to this loving lady that she had us in bitter tears in less than 3 weeks after which we literally paid her to not show up at our place ever after. Anyways, our short lived experience with her is another story altogether and maybe some day a different post on the blog. But today, I just wanted to dedicate this entry to our dear Auntie who is as much of a mother to our baby as I am.
You know, I had recently read this book called The Perfect Stranger. It opened my eyes to how much we take for granted about these "strangers" who leave their own homes and loved ones every day to take care of ours and how they rejoice as much in each milestone of the baby as we do. And yet how soooo many times we take these wonderful people so much for granted and shrug it off saying its just their job. I am not saying that it isn't but there is also an emotional aspect involved here - the joy in watching their labor of love (the kid) growing up that most of us do not have in our typical jobs.
In any case, I digress. Let's get back to my story. So the other day we did gather up the courage to inform Auntie that we are leaving to go back to India in a month. At first she thought we are just going for a month to visit so she goes "ok". Then I had to clarify saying we are going back for good. That was when it struck her and she just broke down into tears! Not because she was going to have to find another job, not because she would miss us but because she was going to miss the little baby she raised so carefully and lovingly. She instantly hugged DD and said to me oh why are you all going...why don't u just let DH go...I will come and stay with you at nights...and so on. I couldn't help crying myself and my DH also felt so terrible for doing this to her. We obviously told her that we'll help her find a much better job and that it is all for the good. But in our hearts, at that moment, we did feel really bad.
So here's to the Dear Nanny (our Auntie) who has a heart of gold. Here's hoping she finds a family who is far more loving than us and they enjoy her services much longer than we could.
Anyways, I had started out this post with the intention of posting a few recipes that Auntie used to cook up for DD since she was 8-9 months old and was eating solids well. So here I go:
1). Churi with gud - this is a very yummy punjabi dish that my mom used to make when I was a kid. I just didn't know that it can be modified to make it suitable for babies too. Auntie basically makes a fresh chappati and minces it very well while it is hot. At the same time she adds ghee and ground gud (jaggery) or sugar to this minced mixture and either leaves it in that powdery form or gathers it like a soft laddu. This one is my personal favorite...I think I enjoyed eating the leftovers more than my DD did :-) And I thought this was the tastiest way to use up left over chappatis - so I'd make it for dinner sometimes for me and DH. (Obviously for DD it was always fresh chappatis and not leftovers).
2). Churi with sabzi - this is prepared in the same manner as above but the gud/sugar is replaced by any boiled sabzi (obviously without any masalas) that is prepared at home. This way the baby gets to eat roti sabzi at a very young age. The trick with both churis for babies is to mince it really really well which can only be done while the chappati is hot. So obviously, I could never get it to be like Auntie's.
3). Dal with Daliya - Take some ghee in a cooker, add some daliya (broken wheat) to it and seko it for a bit. Then add washed moong dal, water and some salt. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. The nutritious dal with daliya is ready.
4). Anda Kela (Eggs with Banana) - Mash a boiled egg with banana together so that it binds well. Auntie said this was easier and less messier to feed than feeding just the egg alone.
5). Dahi Kela (Yogurt with banana) - Mash a banana into a few spoonfuls of whole fat organic yogurt.