Officially Naughty

Recently, the kids were paid the highest compliment by their class teacher.

Those who’ve followed this blog for an extremely long time know that we adopted the twins in September 2007, when they were just over a year old. When we brought them home from Pondicherry in a taxi, and for many weeks and months following that, they were meek, quiet, scared little girls. They each had a spark of mischief in them, but fear, apparently of punishment, and timidness were by far the predominant characteristics. I look at the very earliest photographs that we took of them and I see two rather miserable and distinctly scared little girls.

We must have done some things right in the past couple of years, because now there’s not a trace of fear or apprehension about them that I can see. Quite the opposite, in fact. Even when I scold them severely, they just laugh at me.

So in a way, though keeping them busy at home is not that easy, I’ve also been enjoying the swine-flu-enforced holiday. Not only do I get to not drive, I get to not experience the sheer madness of picking them up from school too. The last couple of times that I went to pick them up from school, I found myself wishing for an extra pair of arms… And legs. Most parents have to manage just one child, and appear to do so with elan. I, on the other hand, am clearly frazzled, outnumbered, and outsmarted by my kids, and rapidly end up completely losing my temper or my footing, to the endless amusement of about a million onlookers.

As soon as the girls are let out of class, they run to me and grab my legs. That’s the good part. After about four microseconds, they run off, and the mayhem begins. Naturally, they run in opposite directions, and finally converge on the slide in the sandpit. Here they climb the steps, and stop before they reach the top. That way, as long as they refuse to slide down, or sit on the top, I can’t get to them. After infuriating me for a while, one of them proceeds to slide down and quickly scamper around to climb the steps again. If I manage to catch her before she reaches the steps again, which I usually do, then the other girl manages to slide down and run around. Running to catch her means letting go of the first, who then runs off to some other corner of the sandpit. By the time I’ve rounded them both up, one wrapping her legs around me like a coconut tapper climbing a tree, the other dangling by one arm like a rag doll and almost yanking my arm out of its socket, my shoes are filled with sand – a highly irritating sensation.

Completely fed up, I try and drag both of them to the bathroom, and, immediately, I’m plunged into another prolonged skirmish. Many admonitions of “go to that cubicle, it’s clean and dry,” “hold your frock up” “front and back” “flush” “don’t play with water” “don’t step in that” and “put on your panties/pants/skirt” later, we emerge, exasperated, only to have them run off in opposite directions again, while I struggle to get their shoes and bags on them.

The whole thing is 15 minutes of absolute chaos which starts with amused indulgence on my part and ends with me ready to tear my hair out – and not necessarily just my own hair, either. On one occasion, as I ran after Mrini, I lunged for her collar so furiously that I succeeded in knocking her down. She sprawled full length, bawling hopefully, as I ignored the horrified glares coming my way, dragged her up and marched off with her, mumbling vicious threats as we went.

Just the other day, when Mrini succeeded in knocking my glasses off and tearing out one of her earrings in one single swipe, I lost my temper, gave her a spank on her bottom and a severe dressing down in full sight of her teachers, akka, and classmates. I don’t know what they all thought of that little exhibition, but I was SO past giving a fig by then.

It was, of course, abundantly clear in many ways by now, that the two timid little creatures we’d brought home two years ago had blossomed into full-fledged, maniacal brats.

So, it actually came as no surprise when their teacher smilingly, almost approvingly, told me last week that they’d suddenly become very naughty in class. “They climb everywhere, they never do what they’re told, and they don’t listen to anyone,” she said. I took it as it was intended – as a compliment, and told her, “I’m surprised it took them this long.”

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