My nephew was hardly ready to come out or so it seemed to me. But seeing his picture, I feel he looks as healthy as a full term neonate. Well formed fingers and toes, tall for his age and with a face that is a replica of his sister's when she was born and was brought of the OT by the nurse. To spare me the desperate urge to see my lil child, my sister proclaimed that if you've seen Ananya when she was born, you've seen Advait; they're identical. Which means, I've seen him. So has my Dad.
My brother-in-law excitedly narrated over the phone about his first interaction with his son. Apparently when N went into the NICU to check on our lil baby (I say our as I consider them my children too), he was asking the nurse about the baby... and the lil one opened his eyes to the familiar voice and was desperately trying to form a facial structure for this voice he so often heard when he was in a warmer darker maternal environment. N was super excited and proud. As proud as he was when he first saw and held Ananya - that was one of the few times I've seen N go quiet. :) My dad was really amused - he missed the moment of holding his newborn, both times.
...Which brings me to another anecdote. When Ananya was born, N, Dad and I were excitedly waiting outside the OR in the morning. Around an hour after R was wheeled in, the nurse came out with a bundle and proclaimed a girl. While N took the baby in his arms and admired her in complete awe and amazement, Anan opened her button like eyes filled with worry at the sudden change in environment - from a dark world to a really bright one. She kept shaking her head in utter disbelief as her dad and nurse took her to the NICU. When my sister (groggy with anaesthesia and writhing in pain as the anaesthetic wore off) came to her room, Anan was brought in. N's aunt, R and I were in the room - very quiet as we admired this lil addition to our family. And R tried to turn to her baby and said softly, "Hi baby!". Anan who was lying awake supine, suddenly grew aware of what seemed a really familiar sound and tried to tilt her head to this voice that she'd heard so often since her senses came alive, a voice that comforted her and nourished her, a voice that she'd soon call Amma. R held Anan's tiny but long (contradictory I know) fingers and mom and daughter held each in one of the longest glances I've seen.
As an aunt I can never forget my niece's first discovery. As a sister, I can never forget the look of amazement and pride and love on my sister's face. As a mother, some day I hope I cradle my baby similarly in a loving glance.
My niece Ananya has taken to the role of the elder sibling very well and infact R says that they've already forged a strong bond. Apparently if he's awake when she's in the room, he always opens his eyes if anyone calls out to Anan. She cradles him in her lil lap and doesn't let anyone come near him. Fiercely protective is how she feels towards him. Ananya and Advait - both mean "unique"... it's so cute! Of course, they're going to pull each other's hair (or want to do it atleast) and slap each other sometime in the next decade, but once they outgrow that phase, the bond that they've forged in the past week will hold them together for an entire lifetime. Even if they run away from it, they can't. I know from experience, neither can and neither wants to let go. It's what Dumbledore called ... "Love".