It’s great to see the twins growing up. To me, it seems that they have already become taller in the three weeks that they’ve been with us. Mrini is now walking with great flair – and falling, frequently, with almost as much flair. She doesn’t seem to mind the falling. She loves to walk off the mattress – which is on the floor, luckily – without realizing that there’s a step involved, so she just walks straight off it and inevitably lands on all fours. The problem is that she tries to do this with the steps in the park as well, and those are quite high, not to mention the stone ground below.
Tara is still not walking – she totters around if somebody’s holding her by both hands. She’s not developed as much of a will of her own as Mrini has either – Mrini, by the second or third day of walking, was not content to allow me to lead her this way or that, she had a clear and certain idea of where she wanted to go and she would lead me.
That said, though, Mrini remains the one who is more keen for parental attention and approval – she consciously avoids actions that will get her into serious trouble, and often stops what she’s doing and goes looking for mama. Tara, on the other hand, doesn’t seem disturbed by the prospect of upsetting the parents, and doesn’t bother if nobody is around to pay her attention – she will sit for hours (well, large fractions of an hour, at any rate) with some particularly fascinating object and babble happily to it without needing any further stimulation, approbation or attention of any sort.
It’s great to watch them when either one has discovered some new item to play with – it could be a pen, a dish from the kitchen cabinet, or an insect on the floor. One, say Tara, will get hold of it and explore it thoroughly, while the other watches with envy. Then comes the first attempt to grab the object. If Mrini is grabbing, she sometimes scores on her first attempt, but Tara, being the politer of the two, rarely does. Tara does often manage to defy Mrini’s first attempt to gain possession of the treasure – she screams and turns away, moving it out of reach. Tara being smaller and unable to stand unaided, has to concede certain advantages to Mrini and usually the object will not stay long in her hands. Once Mrini has the object, Tara might just watch for a few minutes before trying to get it back. Her attempt to get it back might meet with success if Mrini has had enough time to explore it thoroughly; sometimes Mrini goes so far as it hand it back to her, surprising all of us. Sometimes, Tara just loses interest – or pretends to – and goes off to find other items of interes.
The other day, I was in the kitchen in the morning, and all was silent in the dining room. I was beginning to get suspicious when the doorbell rang. Answering, I found our downstairs neighbour, holding two of the twins’ toys in her hand. They’d found out that they could have great fun by tossing their toys through the railings of the balcony!
A few things I have managed to teach them already. They know that all their toys are in the toy box and sometimes, if I ask them nicely, they will go and fetch one particular item from the box and hand it to me. They know the car, the ball, and the picture book by name. I have had some success in teaching them, once they have pulled all the toys out of the box, to put them back in. Mrini has even managed a transfer of technology to putting her shoes back in the plastic bag they belong in, and sometimes putting newspapers strewn all over the living room, back on the surface they ought to be on. The one thing they won’t put back yet, though, is all the kitchen dishes that they pull very noisily out of the kitchen cabinets about half a dozen times a day. I don’t really complain – it keeps them safely occupied for half an hour at a stretch, and it only takes me a couple of minutes to put it right.
Mrini, who is very proud of being able to walk, diligently practices walking indoors every morning. Around 9.30, with breakfast safely tucked away and bath time yet to come, she walks several times from the living room window, all the way to the washing machine, or to her room, and back, usually without falling down. Lately, she has realized that grown up people walk with shoes on, so once she’s done a few rounds bare foot, she pulls her favourite pink shoes out of the plastic bag and waves it around and yells at me to put it on. Then, she practices walking with one shoe. After a while, it’ll strike her that perhaps her other foot deserves a shoe as well, and she’ll promptly come and demand it – she’s apparently particular that only the matching shoe be put on the other foot. Unlike Tara, who is forever worming her foot out of her shoes, Mrini rarely takes off her shoes once I put them on her.
Mrini has also discovered the game of fetch. It’s almost the same as it is with dogs: the adult throws a ball (or a dinky car) and Mrini goes and fetches it, so that the adult can throw it again. Tara, who is the epitome of laziness, watches it and laughs and thinks, if Mrini is going to do all that work, why on earth should I make any effort at all?
Mrini has developed a few fears in the past three weeks. First, she displayed a mild but typical case of separation anxiety, being quite uncomfortable if I left the house even though Amit was around. Then, she developed a fear of the sound of planes flying over our flat – which occurs with such boring regularity that a genuine phobia of it would make life altogether unbearable for her and everyone else around. That fear extended to motorcycles being started in the parking lot below, then it suddenly faded and disappeared.
Amit had bought the twins a colouring book and some crayons, but all the twins wanted to do was to eat the crayons, so I put them away in a safe place and just entertained them with the black-n-white pictures in the colouring book instead. Mostly it was pictures of cartoon people, but there was one picture of a cartoon cat as well. I called it Pat’s Cat (it was a Postman Pat colouring book) and showed it to the twins a couple of times along with other pictures in the book. All of a sudden last night, Mrini saw the cat and started making very alarmed half-shrieking sounds. If we took the book away, she stopped, but then she would fetch the book out, find the cat picture and start making the alarmed sounds again. We watched her with amusement for a while, then distracted her with other toys. After a solid five minutes of distraction, she went to the toy box, pulled out that book, opened it to the cat page and started getting all agitated again.
Anyway, we put them to bed eventually, though I half expected her to wake up at night yelling due to disturbing dreams of Pat’s Cat. She didn’t, thankfully, but what she did was to wake up in the morning, go straight to the toy box, pull out the book, find Pat’s Cat and start shrieking all over again. Is that some memory or what? Strangely enough, by the time she had got breakfast down the hatch, she hadn’t forgotten the cat, but was finding it less scary already.
And so it goes – never a dull moment.