Tara has learnt to jump. She jumps three clear inches off the ground several times before falling down splat. Mrini still can’t jump. She thinks this is something she’d rather not broadcast too widely, so when Tara is showing off her jumping skills, Mrini attempts one or two jumps, then changes the subject by starting something she can do, such as round-and-round, which, as the name implies, involves spinning around like a top till she topples over.
Another recently-acquired skill is walking on tippy-toes, which both can now do at will. Both also like to stand butt-side up with their heads touching the ground, but it was Tara who managed – accidentally, I believe – to turn a somersault the other day.
Meanwhile, her kissing spree proceeds apace; she kisses me about 45 times a day, Amit 15 times, Mrini 18 times, her books 25 times, her doggies and other stuffed toys a total of 35 times, and any other passing animate or inanimate object about 10047 times (all figures are approximate).
Both girls are showing bookworm tendencies, slightly more pronounced in Tara. Around 9.30 a.m. she grabs me by the arm shouting “bukku-bukku-bukku” and heads off determinedly towards the cupboard. In the cupboard, well out of reach, are stored the delicate paper books (as opposed to the more rugged board books, good for chewing) which I take down and “read” to them from time to time. One particular book of nursery rhymes, huge and fat and full of colourful illustrations, is the current favourite. As soon as I take this book out, both of them hop excitedly around me, waiting for me to take my customary position at the edge of the bed (mattress-on-the-floor). Then Mrini heads over to the other end of the bed, picks up the pillow, hoists it on to her head, carries it over and places it carefully behind my back. This accomplished, they both sit down next to me and start very earnestly leafing through the book, which keeps them occupied for the next 30-40 minutes! They don’t wait for me to read out any of the rhymes, but just keep flipping through looking at all their favourite pictures. Due to this daily textbook session, Mrini has now acquired the following vocabulary on cue:
- doggie? bowbowbowbowbow
- pussycat? meow-meow
- cow? momomomo
- piggy? oiy-oiy
Soon I’ll have a walking-talking menagerie on my hands.
Another of their latest antics is even more entertaining. First, they empty all the toys out of the laundry basket which is their home (the toys’ home, that is), by the simple expedient of upturning the basket above their heads. Then, Tara will take my hand and drag me to the laundry basket. The reason? She needs a helping hand in order to climb over the edge and get into the basket.
Once in, she promptly sits down and looks at Mrini expectantly. Mrini then struggles to overcome the forces of inertia and friction, but once she gets that basket moving there’s no stopping her. She drives it all over the house, steering a course around (most) obstacles and even managing to execute a complete U-turn. When Mrini is tired, Tara works her way out of the basket, usually toppling it in the process, but escaping unhurt and happy.
Today, when Tara thought it was time to climb out of the basket, Mrini contradicted her, holding her firmly with both hands around her waist and telling her “bai-tho” (sit) until Tara complied. Later, when Tara finally managed to get out of the basket, Mrini got in and Tara tried pushing her, but it didn’t work. Tara, apparently, didn’t get the hang of pushing, and Mrini found the passenger’s seat scary.
It’s nice that the kids have taken to their daily schedule. They know that after breakfast is “bukku” time, after lunch is “dagi” (dahi = curd) time, after their afternoon milk is “paka” (park) time and an hour after dinner is bed time. And, most importantly, they know that afternoons are “don’t bug mama” time. Of course, the methods they choose for this last-mentioned time are arguably not the best: opening forbidden cabinets and playing with forbidden objects. Of late they’ve taken to throwing every last one of their toys over the childproof gate and into the study where I sit. Luckily they can’t quite manage to bean me with one of these flying objects yet, but I’m sure they will soon. Sigh – the things one has to put up with…