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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Butterfly Kisses

“Nobody can ever love you as much as I do.” Sid said to me on our wedding night. He was right. Until today.
Today, somebody proved him wrong.
Today, Ranbir gave me my first kiss.
It is often said that the first kiss – the romantic one – is the most unforgettable one.  Very, very true. But having just experienced this one, I gotta tell you, it comes pretty close. I feel like I have just died and gone to heaven.
I’ve asked for kisses before, many times. I’ve asked for them ever since Ranbir started responding to being kissed. Whenever he seems in the mood, I start with his cheeks, planting big loud kisses on both sides and then, I bury my whole face into his neck, kissing him under his ears and below his chin, making him squeal with toothless baby giggles that I just can’t seem to get enough of. And then I ask him hopefully – “mama kissy?”
But I never get one. Until today, that is.
Ranbir is an affectionate child. He loves baby cuddles, wrapping his arms tightly around my neck, rubbing his head against my face. He loves sitting on my lap, while we play “tuk tuk horsey,” turning back to look at me every now and again with his big brown eyes, just to make sure I'm still there. He loves being held in my arms as I put on some music and dance all around the room with him. But he hasn’t been one to kiss.
I figured that either he didn’t know how to physically do it, or he didn’t understand what I wanted or perhaps he was just plain shy, not interested in such a palpable gesture of affection.
Sometimes, when I put my face right up against his little mouth, he opens it as if to eat my cheek, making it not much different to any other object that comes near his mouth – toys, my mobile phone, his toes. Special? Not really.
But today? Today is different. He is sitting quietly in his rocker, watching me as I read the newspaper. I steal a quick glance at him and, he looks back, steadily holding my gaze. When he sees me look at him, he breaks into the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen. On a whim, I get up and crouch down on the floor, beside him, put my face next to his and ask – “mama kissy?”
And there it is. Looking straight into my eyes, my little baby turns his face to mine, and gives me a kiss, right there in the middle of my cheek. It isn’t an attempt to eat me, it isn’t a slobbery lick, it is a proper kiss. A baby kiss.
It feels soft, gentle – like a whisper on my skin. A Butterfly Kiss. And I sit there, motionless, on my haunches, too moved to do anything. There are some moments in life when words fail us. This is one of them.
He, on the other hand, knows exactly what he’s done; the significance of this precious gift he’s given me. He’s sitting waggling his fat legs, looking delighted with himself.
When I regain my wits, I need to leave the room for a second, close the door, savour the private glow within me, just by myself.  I come back and stare at him, this child, who is part Sid and part me. I can’t yet find the words for the feelings his kiss evoked. But this is 100%, without a shadow of a doubt, one of those moments that make it all worth it.
I have had Ranbir for only 8 months now, but it’s hard to imagine life without him. The beginning was hard, but it passed. Quickly. And among all the glorious milestones in between those first 12 weeks and today, the marvellous unfolding of new discoveries – this one is my favourite.
I wonder if Ranbir will ever know how he made me feel today.
So, this is for him. It has honey for its exquisite sweetness, pecans for the hint of surprise, oats for the crumbly, crusty play of textures, vanilla for that gentle, whispering touch of flavour and raspberries for that final burst of pleasure.
Put it all together, and you get: Butterfly Kisses
Here’s how you do it:
Raspberry Filling
- 2-½ cups raspberries
- 1 tablespoon corn starch (optional)
- 1/2 cups sugar (less if you prefer your dessert tart)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cups honey
- 1/3 cups oats
- 1/4 cups pecans, chopped
- ½ cup butter
- Dash of salt

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
In a medium bowl, combine raspberries, corn starch, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir and set aside. Adding cornstarch gives berries body, as berries often have a tendency to get soggy while cooking. I personally use a little less sugar than the 1/2 cup written here - but I love the balance of the tart raspberries with the sweet, crispy topping; it's personal preference really, so go ahead and try what works best for you.

In a separate bowl (or directly in a food processor) combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar, brown sugar, oats, pecans, dash of salt, and butter pieces. Pulse in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the berry mixture to a small baking dish. Sprinkle topping mixture all over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

Allow to sit for ten minutes before serving. Scoop out with a spoon and top with vanilla ice cream.

There you have it: A crispy, crumbly, golden brown topping sitting atop warm, gooey, zingy berries, spreading a delicious warmth across your mouth that will make you tingle.

I waited 8 months for my baby to give me a Butterfly Kiss – It was his language of love.
Warm, zingy, sweet, fruity, crisp, and miraculous – This is mine.

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