In many parts of India, there is a rite of passage for babies. It comes at about six months and it is called "annaprashan" in our neck of the woods. This is a celebration of the first time the baby eats solids. For Bengalis, the initiation is via kheer, which is rice pudding. We feed the baby a tiny bit to signify her progression to an infant who is ready to leap beyond milk.
Last weekend, we did our grandbaby's annaprashan with family and friends who understand our customs or who have seen her dad go through the same rite of passage. Needless to say, the sugar-laden kheer was an instant hit. On the first spoon, she pursed her lips. On the second one, she leaned forward and opened her mouth wide with a what’s-taking-you-so-long look.
After the adults in the immediate family fed her kheer, we moved on to the funnest part of the event.
On a plate, we offered the baby symbols of various professions. The idea was to see what object she would grab to predict what she might grow up to be. In full disclosure, Neil and Josh picked up a pen and book and neither is an author or a voracious consumer of anything beyond medical content and Harry Potter.
So much for predictability!
Anyhow, we weren't going to let reality intervene with fun.
Her favorite "toy" is a red solo cup. I wanted to put that on the plate until Josh reminded me that it…uh…represents underage drinking!
Better sense prevailed and we offered the baby symbols of intellectual pursuits (pen and book), farming (rice and grass), entrepreneurship (dollar bill), strategy (a queen from our chess set) and medicine (Dermabond skin glue because we have a trainee surgeon in the family who keeps random stuff like this in his backpack).
What was the baby's reaction when confronted with the momentous decision to “declare” her profession?
Total analysis paralysis!
She refused to pick up anything. She put her hands behind her head, tugged at her hair, and stared at everyone with her eyes screaming, "ARE YOU MAD?!" After much coaxing and cajoling, she finally grabbed the queen.
This means she is going to outfox us at every step of the way, be severely commitment-phobic or plain lazy. Take your pick.
As for me, I am going to spin the tale of the six-month old who grows up and kicks butt. Hell yeah.