My living room has changed in character. For the last eight years or so, our living room seating arrangement has consisted entirely of mattresses on the floor, with a large number of cushions and bolsters providing moral and physical support – not to mention colour. We have always had one chair, but it was just that one.
When the twins arrived, one of the mattresses was lugged into the bedroom to serve as their bed. That left us seriously short of seating in the living room. The mattress that remained was rather narrow and not as comfortable as the one the twins had usurped. Thus far, we managed by sitting on a carpet, or, when all else failed, sitting on the floor. But clearly, something needed to be done.
With the impending visit of my parents, combined with a couple of slightly awkward visits from people not used to sitting on mattresses on the floor, for whom we’d had to draw up chairs from the dining room, I decided it was high time we got some “decent” living room furniture. Amit, predictably, was strongly resistant to the idea, but I prevailed. After all, I told him, if you don’t get a safe surface for the twins to clamber on to, they will clamber on to the dining table chairs, their stroller, or their high chairs, all of which are eminently unstable.
And so we have it – a large, rather plush, over-stuffed, tan-coloured, fake leather two-seater sits in pride of place. At either end, a rolled up mattress provides safe landing ground for the twins, should they choose to tumble off the sides. In front is the remains of the narrow mattress, covered by the carpet. Now our living room looks really strange – this is the sort of sofa that you expect to see in a set of 3+1+1 or at least 2+1+1, instead of coupled with an odd-looking teak wood arm chair – and our last mattress has disappeared. True, I wanted it; but now I’ve got it, I’m rather sorry to see the end of the old way. Hopefully, we will get around to buying another mattress, so that we will not be compelled to sit on furniture all the time.
Right now, I’m in the study working at my computer. The kids are up and about and very active as this is the time they usually go to the park. I should have taken them today as well, but I was feeling lazy and the weather was looking grey-ish (it’s cleared up now) and my parents are due to arrive this evening, sow I sort of decided to skip the park outing. Now the kids are sitting at the study door, which is ajar, and taking every opportunity to breach the invisible boundary between inside and outside the study. Inside is fascinating, because they’re rarely allowed in and because the room is full of breakable and destructible stuff like book cases with books and glass covers, a rocking chair they can sit in or get squashed under, two cameras they can pull down from my desk and smash, an enticing looking switch with which they can at one shot reboot my computer and result in this long blog entry getting deleted, and multifarious electrical devices which they can stick something into to find out what an electric shock is all about. Outside, by contrast, is unbearably dull, because there’s nobody around and it’s no fun doing forbidden stuff if there’s nobody around to yell at you to stop.
Now, since they’re not getting any attention from me, they figure the easiest way to do this is to either enter the room – I”m guaranteed to chase them out, which is fun for them – or to pick something off the floor and eat it or pretend to. Another strategy, devious and two-pronged, is to appear to be engrossed in playing with some toy. After a few minutes the toy rolls or is flung into the room. Then, the perpetrator struggles to reach the toy without actually entering the room. If this appears to work, the toy is carefully slid further into the room, till it is clearly out of reach. There follows a series of pleading squeaks and shrieks. If nothing distracts and mama is entirely immovable, then one foot appears slowly over the threshold, and the rest of the body inches forward in a creeping, sliding sort of motion. By this insidious process, almost half the child is in the room before incurring mama’s wrath, which is terrible to behold but extremely exciting for the other twin who is sitting all innocent just outside the door and watching her sister get it in style.
So, in short, I should stop, but before I do, I have to narrate one more small antic of the twins. In the afternoon, Mrini woke up for her nap and came looking for me. She sat with me for a while, then I realized that Tara had been asleep for two hours already, so I said to Mrini, “What shall we do? Should we go and wake her up?” Immediately, Mrini walked into their room, sat on the mattress next to Tara and thumped her vigorously on the butt. Tara showed no signs of life, so Mrini whacked her on the back. Tara turned over sleepily and refused to get up, so Mrini mounted an assault on her hair, before returning to spanking her on the butt. I thought I should lend a bit of a helping hand, so I called to Tara and thankfully she sat up and looked grumpy for a minute before giving a beatific smile. What a pair!