When I recently went grocery shopping, I picked up a new toothbrush for the kiddo. I shunned fancy brushes with cartoon characters and glitter and what not, in favour of a very plain orange-coloured Johnson’s toothbrush that cost me INR 30.
I came back home and gave the little one the toothbrush, and discovered that she was super-duper excited to have it. She refused to let go of the toothbrush for two full days, holding it in her hands 24/7, even while bathing, changing clothes and sleeping! She kept saying ‘Ammu new brush’ and ‘Amma got it for me’.
I am touched. It takes a child to be excited and happy about the very little things in life. The little one never fails to teach me – lessons small and big – every single day.
The little one shuts her eyes tight and says ‘It is dark. There’s no light.’
And then, a moment later, she opens her eyes and says ‘The light has come.’
This is her latest antic, one that has us endlessly entertained. Apart from the cuteness factor, I find, in this little game of hers, the philosophy of life too.
…. and for no apparent reason, the little one has, occasionally, begun to call me ‘Ammi‘ and ‘Mummy’! I am pretty sure no one around us uses these words. How on earth did she learn then?
I cuddle, kiss, cajole, fight, threaten, bribe and try everything I can – for close to an hour – to change the little one’s dress. Nothing works. I am almost in tears and in visible distress when I give up.
Enter her daddy.
He just says, ‘Come, we’ll change your dress.’ And she stops her whining and goes all quiet and meek. And just like that, in ten seconds flat, the little one is all dressed up neatly, hair combed and smelling fresh and clean.
This is not the first time this has happened.
Why, babe, why?
The husband has been on the phone for a few minutes when the little one goes up to him and says ‘OK, Bye!’
Time to end the conversation, apparently.
‘Ammu, get down and walk. Don’t ask me to carry you all the time,’ I tell the little one.
‘Pavvale (parava ille/ it is okay)’ she replies.
‘Pavvale‘ is her response to most things I ask her to do. ‘Come let us go, the park is about to close’, ‘Eat your food, please!’, ‘Get down from the swing, we will go on the slide’ — most such requests are met with a ‘Pavvale‘.
Rather diplomatic, not to forget cute!
A gypsy woman selling porcelain dolls for golus, a pair of young men in a Maruti van dolled up with colourful bedsheets that they are selling, an old lady offering stainless steel vessels in exchange for human hair, a man selling a variety of greens out of a huge basket on his bicycle, a balloon man who sells cheap plastic and paper toys, a loud lady who sells the reddest of country tomatoes off a cart, a couple of Men with a drum and a trumpet and a . beautifully dressed up cow — just a small sample of the vendors the little one and I get to see, on a regular basis, while we chat and unwind on our balcony. Can’t say life from the balcony isn’t entertaining!
‘Ammu, what are you doing there, in the balcony?,’ I call out to the little one.
‘Veshamam (mischief),’ she replies.
She knows exactly what she is doing!
I spend just 10 minutes – barely 10 minutes – sending out an e-mail that has to be sent urgently, and the little comes running to me. She is well entertained, cared for by the husband or my parents, but still insists on rushing to me. She then proceeds to put her arms around me, taking my palms in hers, kissing my hands, and just generally turning me into mush. This continues till I shut down the system and go off to play with her.
This happens every single time I try to do some work, for about 10 minutes of time.
She knows exactly what buttons to push with me. Every single time.
While the little one is entirely Daddy’s girl during the day, she becomes a complete Momma’s baby in the nights. Through the night, she needs to snuggle up to me, hug my hands, and sleep with my hands and/or legs locked by hers, often a triple-lock system that I just cannot escape.
The husband often tells her, just before all of us are about to doze off – ‘Ammu, give me a hug, please? Come, I’ll tell you a story!’
And the little one is quick to respond – ‘Vendaam. Pavaale. Amma kitte. (No, I don’t want. It’s okay. I want to be with Amma!)’
And then, she promptly proceeds to cuddle up to me.
Ah, sweet revenge!