‘Jab mein badi hoingi’*, you say every other minute. You will be allowed to cut onions using a knife, or drive the car or feed Bugz and endless other things you come up with. It all started when Bugz came in to our lives. As your Paa told me a few hours after Bugz was born, you grew at least a foot in height and a year in age in the span of half a day. You were our baby one day and the next you were the big sister and when compared to the little member of our family, you looked so big. You of course are tickled pink to be a grown up. ‘
‘Bugz to choti hei. Per mein to badi huin’**, is another favorite of yours. You have grown up and how. Your Maami pointed out that something was different about your voice when we were talking to her on Skype while in India. For a minute I was stumped and then it hit me, you had lost your baby voice. You had the sweetest baby voice and on top of that you spoke in a sing song manner. It was so different and cute that we all used to copy it. And then in a span of two weeks it was gone, taken over by a more mature voice.
You now have firm choices. You understand when something goes wrong. You know how to show affection, how to get your anger across and how to butter us up when you know you are in trouble. You ask for a hug after the punishment is done with,, as if to wipe the slate clean. You laugh with your eyes shining when given something you want. You remember things that happened months ago. You jump, you run, you talk. Oh how much you talk!
When you were a year old, you would play with the pots and pans while I worked in the kitchen. Slowly it morphed in to your version of helping me out, which meant you played with the spoons, moving them from one basket to the other as I emptied the dishwasher. And then there is now. I don’t know when things changed, but now there is no pretend help. You actually help me. In fact you have defined your part in everything that we do. You hand things to me that are not too heavy, to keep away, as we empty the dishwasher. If I try picking them up myself, I hear from you almost immediately. You just have to add that small pinch of salt or a dash of cilantro powder as I cook. Your Paa cannot make tea without you adding the tea leaves or the sugar. As I said you have marked certain tasks as yours and taking them from you means a full blown tantrum.
And then there is Bugz. You would take over and not let anyone else do anything for her if we would let you. You are fascinated with her diaper changes and massage and bath. You are amused because she has no teeth and you have so many. You lie with her in her play gym, giving her frequent kisses. The same play gym, mind you, that you found too boring when you were little because who would want to stay in one place when one could see the entire room by rolling around. You show her off like crazy when we come to pick you up from school. ‘My baby’, you say over and over away as you dance along. Every time she wears something or plays with something, you want to know if it was yours. ‘Jub Buzz choti thi, to Buzz bhi yeah pehenti thi?’***, you want to know. And every time I say yes, you laugh with glee. Did I not say, you are just too happy that you are a big girl?
There is a certain joy in you that I hope you keep for a long long time to come. It is so easy to make you laugh. A funny voice, stomach kisses, a fast push as you sit on a swing, a voice on the phone, a glass of juice, certain song, a sweater, balloons, cupcakes, blueberries, packed lunch, umbrella, stickers, candy (err your gummy bear vitamins), milk, parantha with butter, pasta, the sound of the garage door opening. The list is endless and so are your laughs.
As I make rotis and you roll one alongside with your roller, you tell me, ‘Jab mein badi hongi aur Mumma choti, to mein bhi aap ke liye khaana banaoingi’****. And I melt. (And no I don’t try and explain that I will not become small. A little too much to understand that). You have filled our lives with your laughter. You brighten our days with your smile. You entertain us endlessly with your non-stop chatter. You test our patience too but then that is part of being you. And your Paa and I love you for that and more. We love you for what you are now and what you will be when you grow up.
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay you. Always!
Loads of love,
*When I grow up
**Bugz is small. But I am big.
***When Buzz was small, Buzz also used to wear this?
***When I grow up and Mumma will become small, I will also make food for you.