I always feel terribly guilty for subjecting the kids to long drives in the car. Being cooped up in the car seat is not much fun. If I give them any toys, they fling them down in the first five minutes and spend the rest of the drive demanding that we retrieve them. If I give them books, they fight over them and begin to shred them after about ten minutes. So I don’t give them anything. Then they shred their car seats, chew the straps, and suck their thumbs – for all of which, they receive severe scoldings and threats of dire consequences.
So what else can they do? They can talk.
And when I say they can talk, I mean, they really, really can talk!
I’m no laggard at talking myself, and most of the time I quite enjoy talking to the twins, but when you have seven hours to spend in a car and nothing else to do? It does wear you down, just a little. So once we’d done a fair bit of conversation and run through our current selection of Billy Joel songs, I needed something to engage their attention and – how can I say this? – just keep them quiet for a bit. Following a suggestion from Sadia, I’d hunted online and downloaded (bought, I mean) Peter and the Wolf before we started the long drive to Pondicherry last week. So in all innocence, I turned it on. It was the first time the girls had heard anything like it. They were entranced… but… if I’d thought it would shut them up, I soon discovered exactly how wrong I could be.
Mama, what’s that?
Is that the fox?
Where’s the fox?
Who is Peter?
Is that a crow?
What did the duck say?
Who is grandpa?
Was that the fox?
What did Peter do?
Where’s the birdie?
How did he tie up the fox?
On and on and on they went – scarcely stopping to draw a breath. How they could listen and talk at the same time, I really don’t know. But I didn’t have answers to most of their questions because I couldn’t hear the blessed story (and I haven’t ever heard it before either). The only thing I kept saying, again and again, was: It’s not a fox, it’s a wolf. But they had already made up their minds – this was the story of Peter and the Fox… and after a while they introduced a rabbit into the storyline as well (which I didn’t hear mention of in the original version).
“I read on Sadia’s blog recently that statistics show that four-year-olds ask 400 questions a day,” I muttered to Amit while I tried to catch my breath.
“The statistics are wrong,” said Amit grimly. “They ask a thousand questions a day!”