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Our trip to Lakshadweep in December last year apparently was quite a hit with the girls, especially Mrini. She loves to talk about “boat” “ship” “island” “Lakshadweep” and especially “so many fishy-fishy”. The ride in the glass-bottomed boat clearly made a lasting impression on her. I remember how she sat and watched enthralled, as tiny, multi-coloured “fishy-fishy” glided around in the crystal clear waters under the boat.
On our recent few trips to the swimming pool nearby, Mrini has sat for an incredibly long time on the edge of the pool, feet dangling in the water, occasionally dipping her hands into the water and splashing gently, waiting and watching for the fishy-fishy to appear. For several days, she didn’t venture into the water, but eventually she did, and even managed to hold on to me or the railing with both hands and attempt to kick her legs out behind her. Still, despite recent successes, she has spent most of her time at the pool sitting on the edge and looking for fishy-fishy.
Tara has interpreted the whole water experience in a different way – she’s decided she IS the fishy-fishy. The very first day at the pool, she gamely came into the water, clinging on to me like a monkey and enjoying the bouyancy. Since then, she practically cannot be kept out of the water, even when she starts mildly shivering with cold. Pretty soon, she had started to hold on to my two outstretched hands and float there, almost as if she were floating without support. She did have some of her weight on my hands, but it looks like it’s only going to be a matter of time – and not too much time, at that – before she realizes that she can float on her own. What’s more, she has walked off the deep end already once – well, not quite deep, but by pre-schooler standards, water up to your nose is deep enough that you shouldn’t just stroll off the edge of the pool and into the water without warning.
Tara’s intrepid attitude is the cause of much parental concern for Amit and me. She seems to have no fear and no sense. While Mrini understands the problems of heights, depths, and water, Tara stops at almost nothing. She’s going to get into so much trouble, that girl. Mrini, on the other hand, is endearing – she shows that she’s scared, but slowly and bravely, and no doubt partly inspired by Tara, she tests the waters and tries to overcome her fear.
On an aside, if only nature and nurture contribute to personality, how can indentical twins, whose genetic makeup is identical and whose upbringing has been so similar, have such totally different personalities from such an early age?
Since the twins love their bath and really enjoy splashing around in their tiny bathtub, I’d been dying to up the stakes and put them in a swimming pool. Amit and I both love to swim, though we haven’t done much of it in recent years. I took to swimming straight after I almost drowned (or thought I did) way back when I was about three. That was in a fantastic L-shaped pool where the deep end was 12 ft deep.
Anyway, we don’t have such luck any more, but we do have a swimming pool nearby which, modest as it is, will do very nicely for the kids for a few years. So last Sunday afternoon, when we at last had a sunny day after two weeks of rain, we took the kids to the pool and dunked them in.
Well, actually, I got in first, then Mrini tentatively followed. Tara resisted for a while, then gradually allowed herself to be persuaded. There were a huge number of other – much older – children around, which usually intimidates the twins a little, but they didn’t seem to mind too much. They took to the idea of being in a pool full of water quite well, actually. After a few minutes, they began splashing in the water, and Tara even put her face down and blew bubbles in the water. She must have swallowed some… and they were in “swim-proof nappies” (“specially designed to prevent accidents in the swimming pool”) but I don’t know what “accidents” other kids may have had… best not to think too much about that.
After a good 20 minutes, they began to feel cold, and by the time I got them both out, they were shivering. I thought they might catch a cold, but, thank goodness, they didn’t.
Overall it was quite a success. We definitely need to repeat the experience sometime soon. The sooner they get used to the swimming pool, the better, if you ask me.