Saturday was the third anniversary of the kids’ home-coming day. We didn’t do anything really to mark the occasion. Luckily we went to S&S’s for dinner and they had ordered in a delicious white forest cake – not for us – that we all demolished with gusto.
It’s sad that we haven’t managed to create any ritual for the home-coming day anniversary. I’d like to do something small and significant but I just can’t think what. Going to a temple or something would be completely fake for a staunch atheist like Amit and a non-conformist believer like me. Donating to some charitable organization would be a better thing to do, but neither of us has the conviction to actually do anything about it. So we spend the day feeling profoundly thankful (like we do many days) without knowing how, exactly, to express our thanks.
The day before home-coming day, we got a courier from Pondicherry. It contained a photocopy of the adoption order. Finally, after three long years, we held the paper in our hands and read each line through twice. Apart from two very, very minor typos, it was ok. But it was only a photocopy. Now we have to wait for the original.
Meanwhile, four has already turned into an interesting year. One day a week or so ago, I went to daycare to pick up the girls as usual. Tara came to me, I picked her up, and she buried her face in my neck. Nice… but unusual. It became even more unusual as she stayed that way, refusing to look at me or talk. I began to wonder what was wrong. The assistant told me, sheepishly, that Tara was upset because she’d been given timeout. She was swinging too high on a swing and shouting too much, so the assistant, B, had made her sit on a small bench for a few minutes. That’s all. After that, Tara had gone and joined her friends in the sandpit, where she’d been playing when I came in.
Tara, meanwhile, still clung to me like a limpet, refusing to talk or look at anyone. After a good few minutes, tears slowly came. She deigned to look at me and nod or shake her head to my questions, but she refused to speak either to B or to anyone else at the daycare centre. It took a good 15 minutes of trying to get her out of my arms and standing on her own feet. She wasn’t crying by then, but she was still refusing to speak to anyone. B clearly felt terrible and tried to make it up to her, but Tara didn’t even look at her, despite B’s best efforts.
She continued to be quiet and sad in the car on the way home, and refused to talk to her beloved GP (my FIL) when we reached home, but after 15 minutes of play, she was almost back to normal. B, however, continued to feel terrible about it.
To be honest, I think we were all quite shocked by Tara’s reaction. I couldn’t be sure whether she was ashamed or whether she felt that the punishment was unfair, but she was clearly very, very upset about it. What was most surprising was how she’d kept it completely hidden until I showed up. My little girl is growing up!
While GP was here, Mrini became a bit unmanageable. She realized that there was one additional adult in the picture and that this changed (or so she thought) the balance of power. When I scolded her for anything, she immediately turned to him for support. Once, for instance, I scolded her for taking a slice of cucumber out of his plate without washing her hands and sitting down at the table for dinner. The rule is, eat at mealtimes, at the dining table, and eat only what’s on offer for you – not whenever you like, wherever you like, whatever you like (though at least in this instance it was something healthy, not a biscuit or chocolate).
I took the cucumber out of her hand and told her to go wash her hands. You know what she did? She promptly ran to GP and asked for another slice of cucumber!!!
Since I couldn’t exactly scold GP, I scolded her for that. He got the message.
But then, on Saturday Mrini was just amazing. Amit and I were at the dining table having breakfast when Amit idly said to her, “Go get me a glass of juice.” We didn’t expect her to do it, because they aren’t allowed to open the fridge. In fact we didn’t even think they could open the fridge because the handle is quite high and the door is quite difficult to open. Plus the whole getting-juice operation is quite complex, so it was really just an idle comment. But, you have to be careful what you wish for. This is what Mrini did:
1. Ran to the fridge, stood on tip-toe and yanked the door open.
2. Took out the juice and went to the kitchen.
3. Put the juice carton on the counter and took a washed glass (a glass glass) from the draining board and set it on the counter next to the juice carton.
4. Opened the juice carton and stood on tiptoe.
5. Poured the juice into the glass.
6. Covered the juice carton, took it to the fridge, yanked the door open and put the juice carton back in its own slot in the fridge.
7. Went back to the kitchen, got the glass and carried it carefully in both hands to where Amit was sitting.
8. Gave us a proud and pleased-as-punch look, while we looked at her in utter disbelief.
9. Asked Amit for juice!