A few of the many, many fun conversations with the twins.
Tara: Shall I tell you something?
Me: Yes, tell me something.
(Whispering): Ice cream is very cold!
Mrini and Amit watching Rafa play a match on TV. At the end of a point, Mrini turns to Amit and asks: Did Rafa win the point?
Mrini: I can’t sing One Prayer, I can only sing Twins Are In and Twins Are Marching and Deuces Are Wild and that other new song. (She meant Double Double Fun Fun; these are all songs from a new CD titled Twin Spin, very sweetly gifted to the twins by Double the Fun girls, Mel and Jess.)
Tara: I can’t sing aaaaaaanything.
Me: Tara, why can’t you sing anything?
Tara: I don’t want to sing.
The evening after the magic show.
Mrini: When the sun was shining when we were driving in the car, I was very hot, I was all sweaty-sweaty.
Me: Oh, were you hot?
Mrini: Yes, I was all sweaty-sweaty. (Pause) Shall I tell you another secret?
Me (all agog; I hadn’t even known the first one was a secret): Yes, tell me another secret.
Mrini: When the scary part came, then I was scared.
The next day in the morning.
Me: Girls, did you have fun at the magic show?
Tara: I want to go for magic show again.
Mrini: No. I got scared when the woman’s head came out. That was the scary part.
We figured out that it was the trick where the woman is put into a cupboard and then her arms and legs are pulled way far away and she’s “carved up” into separate pieces that she was referring to.
But what was more interesting for me was that, perhaps for the first time ever, she was verbalizing her fears. That’s a big thing, somehow.
These snippets of conversation are so illuminating. They speak volumes about the girls. It’s typical, for instance, that Mrini is the one who’s trying. She’s trying to sing, trying to make “adult” conversation (about tennis) and trying to communicate things that mean a lot to her. She’s more likely to be the one to ask serious questions about life, death, and other matters philosophical or worldly.
Tara is much more of a closed book. She always has been. On the surface, she’s very independent and carefree. She’s the clown, she’s frivolous. She rarely applies herself seriously to anything, though clandestinely she learns from whatever Mrini happens to be saying or doing. She does whatever comes easily and quickly loses patience with what doesn’t. She pretends as if she doesn’t need anybody, she’s happy to be doing her own thing. She won’t let you in easily, but then, sometimes, she just lets her guard down and becomes the small, anxious little girl she really is, and sometimes it really surprises us.
Mrini is all on the surface for everyone to see – she used to be all clingy and scared, but now she’s overcome that. When we go to new places, especially if there are toys or swings or small kids around, she’s the first to leave our sides and wander away. I see her in the playground amongst much bigger kids whom she doesn’t know and in circumstances where they’re not bounded by the rules of a school or a teacher. She’s unfazed. She wades into the fray and does her own thing without blinking. And it is in that sense unsurprising that, even though she was the more scared in the magic show, she opted to sit on her own and didn’t even want an arm around her.
Tara needs to warm up. In new situations, she watches from the sidelines, and if I’m there, she sits cuddled up with me and watches. She might go in eventually, and she is also apparently unfazed by other, bigger kids, but she just takes a while to get going.
Mrini has perseverance with a capital P and if she’s into something, she doesn’t want to be disturbed by anyone. She’ll work at something with dedication until she gets it. I remember watching her teach herself to stand and walk – she practiced for 45 minutes at a stretch and then she got it.
Tara only occasionally gets immersed in a task. She’s the one who can’t sit still and work on anything for two minutes at a stretch. She starts to clown around, disrupt Mrini’s work, or get frustrated and ruin her own work. But even though she can hardly sit still for a couple of minutes at a time, she is very capable of prolonged cuddling and sitting in the lap doing nothing, when she can get it. Mrini hardly needs that anymore, except when she wants to oust Tara (or, of course, if she’s hurt, sick, or upset).
Nowadays, Tara is spontaneously affectionate quite often, while Mrini seems to have outgrown that as well. Tara is a tease, and Mrini, naturally, is the teased, much to her dismay. Tara shares with a large heart, while Mrini shares tiny little bits and gets very worried if it looks like she’s going to lose a larger piece of food, or a prolonged period of time with a toy.
It’s too early to say what they will be like when they grow up; they’re not even four yet. But it’s always fun predicting – so that you look stupid when they turn out completely different from what you expect. So here goes: Tara will be irresponsible, brilliant, temperamental (does she have a temper already!) and will break many hearts; Mrini will be conscientious, hard working, loyal, sensible, and steady. Hopefully, both of them will rub off on each other a bit.