Watch What You Say

The twins are almost entirely toilet trained and have been for months. When they started school, Tara had about three toileting accidents a week for the first three weeks or so; Mrini had none. I asked the teacher why, and her answer was that Tara just seemed to be too engrossed in whatever she was doing. But soon after that, things must have settled down, because recently neither of them has had to utilize the change of clothes that I always send with them.

They still use diapers at night, and they clearly still need them, but during their afternoon naps I stopped putting diapers on them months ago. Occasionally, if she’s had a lot of water just before lunch, or if she naps for exceptionally long, Tara has an accident. Mrini seems to have figured out how to wake herself up when her bladder is full. Tara’s accidents are quite infrequent, so I haven’t done anything about them, I’m just hoping they’ll eventually stop on their own.

I was talking to my mother recently, and, after discussing many mundane and meaningless things, the conversation somehow turned to changing bedsheets; the frequency of changing bedsheets, to be specific.

Mother: I change them about once a month, I think. How often do you do yours?
Me: I change them whenever the kids pee on them.
Mother: Gosh, I hope that’s not too often.
Me: You’d better hope it’s often enough.
Mother (in a rather satisfied tone): Gosh, I’ve brought you up abominably.
Then, the other day, I was playing my violin. The twins were playing together nearby. As I reached the end of a piece, Tara came to me and said, authoritatively: “Put your violin down.”

I did – I didn’t have a choice under her unflinching gaze. “But why?” I asked.

“Come,” she said.

“Where?” I asked.

“I want to do sussu (pee).”

“Then go to the bathroom,” I said. At home, they’ve been able to manage without help for ages.

“You come and turn on light,” she said.

I went with her and saw the light was already on, and told her so.

“Ok, you go,” says she, regally. “You go play.”
On another occasion, Mrini wanted to talk.

Mrini: Mama, let’s talk.
Me: Ok. How are you?
Mrini (outraged): No! That comes later! First, what’s your name?

Right. Got to remember etiquette: exchange names first.
Since Amit’s Honda Civic, which we bought last year, is the Newcar-Newcar, my battered (literally) old Wagon-R is now known as the Oldcar. (But this is about to change.)

While driving them to school today, the car went over a rather bad patch of road. Mrini didn’t like it.

Mrini: Mama, what Oldcar doing?
Me: Oldcar is driving.
Mrini: No! Oldcar not driving. Mama is driving. What Oldcar doing?
Me: Oh, sorry, you’re right. I’m driving. Oldcar is being driven.

Just what I was trying to avoid – passive voice. They’re not even three! Looks like I have to brush up on my language skills, or my daughters will be giving me grammar lessons before long!
Amit (scolding Mrini): Don’t do that! You’re a bad girl!
Mrini (promptly): No, I not a bad girl!

Talking back? To Father?! Of course, I did a lot of that as a child (I’ve improved a bit now, or so I think), but I’m sure I didn’t start this early!


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