Kids! They drive you mad! For instance (and this conversation could happen with either child speaking any line and not necessarily in turn):
“I want the blue mat.”
“No I want the blue mat (It doesn’t matter that there are two blue mats; they will fight over one blue mat anyway, and outright reject the other.)”
“If you don’t give me the blue mat then I’ll be sad.”
“If you don’t give me the blue mat I’ll tell mama. Then mama will scold you.” (Truly terrifying, I don’t think.)
“No, if you don’t give me the blue mat, then I won’t give you chocolate. (Not that she has chocolate to give anyway.)”
And finally, the ultimate weapon…
“If you don’t give me the blue mat then I won’t be your friend!”
At this point, if nothing works, physical violence usually ensues, which usually requires some adult intervention. If my hands are full with food and dishes, as they usually are, my preferred strategy is to scream at the top of my voice, sending shivers down spines as far as 300 m away. Amit says all the kids within half a km radius of our house instantly stop whatever they are doing, even those who can’t actually hear me but just feel the shock waves. Maybe even some of the weaker adults freeze for a couple of minutes. Thankfully, it’s not completely ineffective at home either – maybe because I only do this when biting or other forms of grievous bodily injury are imminent. In any case, I always confiscate the blue mat – or whatever prized possession they happen to be fighting over.
The aggrieved parties retire, sobbing pitifully, and trying tearfully to convince me of their utter innocence, the justness of their cause, and the dastardliness of the acts committed upon them by the other.
One-and-a-half minutes later, resigned to using the red mats, they are best of friends again, sharing food, spilling milk, and bubbling over with mischievous (maddening) giggles. While I nurse a sore throat.
Then, on the other hand, they can be such fun…
I took them to the play area today. They don’t have any friends there – just a bunch of other kids who seem to change every day. That doesn’t bother them at all. The other day there were only three other kids in the play area. One kid had his dad hanging around them. A few minutes later, the boy was completely avoiding his dad and running around with Mrini and Tara like he’d known them all his life. He looked a little older than the girls, but was less used to the play area. The girls ran rings around him – especially since there were two of them to do the running, and he probably couldn’t keep trak of which one went where – but he did his best to tag along as fast as he could. It was entertaining and cute to the nth degree. By the time he got home that evening, he must have been exhausted!
Today, there were plenty of kids. The girls ran around doing their stuff. Then a somewhat older boy found a kite. He must have about 8 or 9. He didn’t have a reel for the kite, just a short string, which, in the inexorable wind that’s been blowing the last several days, was enough to get the kite up in the air, but not very high. Anyway, a girl went up to this boy and the boy ran away taking his kite with him. The girl chased him, making him run faster. The girl looked about 6 or so, and might have been a sibling. The two of them raced around the playground, up the steps, down the slides, around other kids and in and out of the octopus-like tentacles of the playscape. Naturally, this was irresistible. In seconds,Mrini and Tara joined the chase. I don’t think they knew that they were running after the kite. They were just running because the other two kids were running. But it was great to watch!
And they are just SO smart!
Tara: That is the train.
Tara: It’s moving slowly.
Tara: It has so many people.
Me: That’s right. In our car there’s only one person. (I don’t know why I said this; I wasn’t really concentrating on the conversation.)
Mrini (quickly): No, there’s three persons.
Me: That’s true. And when Baba is here, there are four of us.
Tara: Now what is the train doing?
Me: it’s going away.
Mrini: It will say, watch out everyone here I come.
(The train obligingly toots its horn.)
Tara: The train is at the station?
Me: It was at the station, now it’s leaving the station.
Mrini (knowledgeably): Because that is what trains do! Cars take people home because that is what cars do, and trains go to the station because that is what trains do.
Ok – so this is why I still want to drive them to school instead of putting them in the school van.
And then, they are just so forward! What is going to happen when they turn teenagers I shudder to think.
Mrini (coyly): I gave Navneet kissie today.
Me: Really!? Then what happened!?
Mrini: Then Navneet gave me kissie.
Groan! They are not even four years old yet! Granted “kissie” is not the same as “kiss” (hopefully!)– but still!
(At least she’s loyal – Navneet has been her “special” friend since she joined school a year ago.)