Tag Archives: pre-schoolers


There were clothes to be washed today, which meant I’d have to pick up day before yesterday’s wash from the line. Everything had dried, of course, probably the same day it was washed, but I’m lazy about picking up the laundry. Actually, that’s not entirely true – I’m lazy about just about everything that doesn’t directly involve food (see previous post).


So anyway, I went out to pick up the laundry and the kids, of course, went out with me. So I put them to work picking up the clothes, which they did with enthusiasm, wrenching off the clothes pins and flinging the clean clothes in the general direction of the dining table so that several items landed on the not-so-clean floor of the dining room.

As I folded the larger items, the girls folded their frocks. Then I took one load and went into our bedroom to put it away. Mrini came with me, Tara didn’t. After a couple of moments, I went to see. The kids’ clothes had disappeared from the dining table. Tara was in their bedroom. She had pulled open the lowest drawer of the cupboard (not the new wardrobe, mind you, which is still missing its drawers), which would normally have held shoes. The shoes have been taken out in the recent past and replaced with a thick blanket, folded up. She stood on the soft pile of blanket and reached for the handle that opened the main compartment of the cupboard. Then she got off the blanket, picked up the clothes that she had folded and placed on the bed, and threw them into the roughly appropriate part of the cupboard. Then she got down, closed the cupboard and pushed the drawer back in.

Then she dusted off her hands and came to me and said,”I do other clothes.”

She went running to fetch the laundry bag, opened the washing machine and loaded it, meticulously separating Amit’s shirts and handing them to me so I could put Cuffs ‘n Collars on them. After everything had gone in, she went to the bathroom and stood on the stool to reach the cabinet where the detergent is kept, and tried to get it down. It was still too high for her, so I helped her. She would have poured out the detergent, had I let her, but in that matter I prevailed on her to let her elders and betters do their bit. Then she slammed the washing machine door shut and turned on the power.

So: laundry assistant socked in. Shaba-Aunty has one chore less, lucky her.

I also have two coffee-makers-in-waiting. They’ve watched me make coffee and toast enough times to know how to do it themselves. I only have to wait till they figure out the gas stove. Oh, and how to transfer coffee powder from jar to cup without scattering it all over the floor. Shaba-Aunty has a second round of sweeping to do, poor thing.

One activity that has lately been keeping them occupied for half an hour at a time, is the task of giving their panda and teddy bear lunch. This highly absorbing and elaborate ritual combines real and make-believe elements in a manner akin to some exotic religious ritual. The spoons are real (though plastic), and so is one plate and both bibs. There’s a red plastic box that a long, long time ago contained a goodly amount of some delicious ice cream, but now, sadly, contains only imaginary dal-chawal – or sabzi as the occasion demands. The lid of the box serves as a second plate. There’s a Play-Doh container that is put to use as a carton of imaginary curd (yogurt).

The panda and teddy bear are seated ceremoniously side-by-side in the high chairs, and industriously strapped in. (I’m not sure whether they are the high priests or the sacrificial victims.) The bibs are too small for their fat necks, so I am roped in to force the necks into the bibs. Two dining table chairs are pulled up side-by-side and facing the high chairs. Then the meal begins, with the girls making frequent forays into the kitchen for toast, or mango. I also noticed that several bites of the panda or teddy bear’s imaginary lunch find their way into the kids’ mouths. Now where did they get that idea from, I wonder.

After the meal, the panda and teddy bear are taken down, made to wash their hands and face (with imaginary water) and tenderly put to bed. Must be the priests, then. (Unless the process of putting their bibs on strangulated them, in which case they are the sacrificial victims.)

Whew! I wonder if Mrini-Tara find it as much as a relief as I do, once their darlings are peacefully in bed. Of course, they don’t have so much to do in terms of tidying up – imaginary food doesn’t make much of a mess. However, Tara does take the used bibs, fold them, pull the dining table chair across the floor to the cupboard (rendering me in complete agony due to the screeching sound), stand up on it, and fling the bibs on to the top of the cupboard, where they (more or less) should be.

No wonder they say that if you’re having another child, wait till the older one(s) is about three. It seems that they’ll happily do all the work when they reach that age. Wonder how long this will last, though.

Meanwhile, two new words have emerged:

“Mama, monkey toes biting,” says Mrini.
Really? Monkey? Where? Tara doesn’t seem to be biting anybody’s toes.
“Monkeytoes,” says Mrini, pointing to the air.
Oh, right. Mosquitos. Yes, they’re biting.

“Mama, fatter day?” says Mrini.
Fatter day? I hope not! But if it must be a fatter day, is there also a thinner day to look forward to?
“Mama, Sunday?”
No, it’s… oh, I get it. It’s Saturday! That’s a relief.


Twinnings and More

Lots has been happening, but I’ve been too busy to blog about it.

The twins have started to talk, they answer questions promptly, and can sustain a back-and-forth exchange to about 4 or 5 rallies. They find novel ways to say things. Once I asked Tara if she was sleepy, she rubbed her eye and said “eye so sad,” which I took to mean yes.

They’ve become more active, both at home and in the park. They were gifted a couple of hockey sticks and balls, and I’ve mostly had to lock up the sticks because of their propensity to swing them around without a care for what (or who) is in the way. Yesterday the actually got into the Frangipani tree in the park, got out of it the other side, giggled wildly, rinse and repeat. So far they have loved being lifted into it and sat in its branches, but it’s good to see them start climbing trees, something I loved to do and had plenty of opportunity to do at just the right time of my childhood years.

They have started to enjoy jigsaw and shape-sorter type of puzzles now, as also play-doh and crayons. I thought they weren’t interested in scribbling on the walls – they’d only done it once, the rest of the time they used paper, their picture books, the floor, the bedcover, and their own bodies (with sketchpens that was, and they made such a godawful mess of their legs that they haven’t had sketch pens since) – but it appears it was only a question of opportunity.

I normally give them crayons when I’m sitting nearby keeping an eye on them, and take them away when they’re done with them; so it’s not as if they have crayons easily accessible at all times. But usually when I pack up the crayons, I can’t find quite as many as there were when they started. I’ve never bothered about this too much, they’ll turn up eventually, and if they don’t, that is also in the nature of such things.

So yesterday Mrini found one of the unclaimed, missing crayons. I was busy and turned my back to her for a couple of minutes… And that’s all she needed. Our bedroom walls became the canvas for her creativity, much to my disgust and irritation. I’ll have to keep an eye on those unclaimed crayons in future, I guess.

Meanwhile, the break from school doesn’t seem to have done them any harm. Yesterday they went back to school after a three week break, and they don’t seem to have forgotten it, they went happily and came back in high spirits. I think they now know the entire set of nursery rhymes that they hear in playschool. They surprised us by singing “God’s love wonderful” (in a somewhat garbled version) and asking for Jingle Bells (a few days after Christmas) – both songs they had not heard at home. What’s more Tara (and Mrini to a lesser extent) can tell the story of Aladdin, with a little prompting from me. It goes like this:

Me: Aladdin was a
T: Young boy
Me: And he went into a
T: Big cave
Me: And it was all
T: Dark, dark
Me: But Aladdin was
T: Very good (followed, after a pause, by) not scared
Me: He had a
T: Big torch
Me: And he went into the big cave and what did he find there? Lots of
T: Jewels
Me: And lots of
T: Camels (sometimes, rarely, it’s gold)
Me (carrying on, regardless): And a
T: Magic lamp
Me: And he gave it to his
T: Mama
Me: And she was
T: Rubbing it
Me: And
T: Polishing it
Me: And then what happened?
T: Whooooo… genie came!
Me: And genie said, Aladdin, I will give you
T: Two fishes (an interesting variation on three wishes)
Me: And the genie gave Aladdin lots of
T: Jewels
Me: And lots of
T: Camels
Me: And he made him
T: Very rich
Me: Then Aladdin went to meet the
T: Sultan daughter
Me: And he went on a
T: White horse
Me: And he fell in love with the
T: Princess (or sometimes the prince!)
Me (ignoring the gay tendency for now): And they got
T: Married
Me: And they lived
T: Happilygiligili

In other fascinating news, this morning they got up, took down their pajamas, took off their (sodden) diapers, pulled up their pants, took their diapers to the kitchen, and threw them in the dustbin!

Last week, when we returned from the park with S&P and their one-year-old daughter, p, the twins shocked all of us by happily going home with S&P, without so much as a single backward glance! (S&P luckily stay in the same building.) When Amit went to pick them up 15 minutes later, they didn’t seem very inclined to come home, and I believe Tara gave a determined no in reply to the question of whether she would like to go home.

What’s more, they repeated the act a couple of days ago, and they seem quite eager to make it a daily occurrence, without a thought for S&P’s convenience. Of course p loves the company, who’s bothered about the adults anyway?

So, given this happy independence, Amit and I decided it was high time that we adopted a baby-sitter strategy. We checked with the cook, who agreed to baby-sit one evening a week, provided we got back around 10 or, at the latest, dropped her home by 11. Considering we’ve had only two evenings out sans kids in the last 1+ year (thanks to S&S and Anjalimasi for their unpaid baby-sitting services), it sounds like a good deal. Our first date is tomorrow, and I have to say it feels a bit strange. I know we’ll both spend most of the time (we’re giving it 90 minutes for our first time out) thinking/worrying/talking about how the kids are doing without either of us around.

Big school starts in June and I think it’s going to be from 8.30 till 12.30 once they get past the settling in period. That means that, if Amit drops them, I’ll have an empty nest from 8 till 12 (when I’ll probably have to leave to pick them up). An older and wiser friend warns that I’ll miss them like crazy, but right now I can hardly wait. I always thought that when we had kids I’d like to be a SAHM for some time, but I never attempted to define the time. Now that I’ve done it for almost a year-and-a-half, I think the time to go back to work is, oh, let’s see, right about now, actually. Of course, it has to be just when there is a global recession on and there are no jobs to be had.

In my eagerness to start work, I took up a freelance writing assignment which turned out to be really, really (and I mean REALLY) boring. The sheer boredom of it almost killed me. I have never struggled so hard to finish a task in the agreed time in my entire professional life – and believe me, I’ve fought some tough battles in my day.

And finally, adoption update: We’ve been hearing for a month or so that we’d be meeting the District Magistrate any time soon, as the last step towards getting a birth certificate for the twins. It was supposed to be yesterday, then it got pushed to tomorrow, and now it stands set for Monday. Or Tuesday. Let’s hope it happens some time next week, it would be good to get those birth certificates in hand, it’s going on
for eighteen months since the twins came home.