You used to be on all fours as you climbed up stairs; now you copy us, with only your hand on the wall for extra support. You used to be happy opening your mouth as we fed you; now you want your own bowl and spoon, else you refuse to open your mouth. You used to cry and walk circles around me till I gave you whatever it was you wanted from a drawer; now you push a chair, climb up and take out what you wish.
To me, all these changes have been seamless. If anyone were to ask me when you stopped doing this or started doing that, my answer would be yesterday. You are changing so much, so quickly that I don’t even realize when you leave something behind and start on something new. May be it is a simple fact of split focus between Didi and you, or that there is just so much going on that a lot of these things don’t register, or that you are so focused on doing all things your Didi does that you are indeed picking new things faster than I can keep track of. The only thing that keeps re-iterating itself is your stubbornness.
I catch you multiple times halfway through your fall from the dinning chair and sometimes I don’t even get there on time and yet after the required tears is done, you are standing on the same chair and smiling. You pull the chair and bring it to the slab as I cook. No matter how many times I move that chair away, because I am scared that you will burn yourself, you pull it right back and stand on it next to me. The only thing I can do is ensure that you are on the other side of the gas and I stand between the gas and you. As I make Rotis, no matter how many times I say no, you want to make holes in the dough. I see your fingers coming for the dough, I say no, you move your hands back, I turn my head to roll the roti and there your fingers are again. We go through this over and over again till I am done. I almost marvel over the fact that the rotis actually get made (albeit a bit charred).
If something has been done a certain way once, it has to be done that way – every single time. There is no rest for anyone in the house otherwise. You have to stand just so before you eat. You have to have a jacket on before we step out of the house. You have to wear only that pair of shoes. You have to have your stroller straps just this way. You have to brush your teeth (chew on the toothbrush) when Didi brushes her teeth and no one dare touch it or try to help you. You have to have your blanket draped all the way up to your shoulder before you even pretend to sleep. You have to hold my hand as you sleep and I can’t move it (irrespective of my aching shoulder) till you are in deep sleep. Any change in schedule and things are thrown around in a fit of frustration, after which you are seen head on the floor, crying as if your heart is breaking.
On the other hand, no one can make you do anything you don’t want to do. You are very swift in moving your head in the negative motion and saying, ‘unh’. ‘Bugz clean up’, ‘Bugz get down from there’, ‘Bugz give it back to Didi’, ‘Bugz where is your nose’ – all have the exact same reaction. You don’t want to do it and you won’t. You don’t talk much. Sorry an exaggeration! You don’t talk at all, pointing gets you everything. ‘Buzz what does sheep/dog/cat/cow say’. No response! Then you see a dog, point to it and say ‘Bhaao Bhaao’. Or sit in the corner with your animal sound toy, play every sound and try to imitate it, as you laugh gleefully. Suddenly Cow does not go Moo, rather goes Aaawww. Horse does not go Neigh, rather goes Eeeehhhhh. Lion does not go Roar, rather goes Oooooo. Real recorded sounds in a child’s toy vs. animal sounds as we say them out. And there is no use telling it to you. ‘Buzz say Mama/Papa’ and you refuse point blank as your parents get disheartened. Then randomly, when you really want something, you come up to me and very sweetly say, ‘Maamaamaaammaaa’.
As your Didi has her bath in the evening, you scream and shout to get out of your clothes. I refuse and stand strong. You throw a fit and I don’t budge. You run up to the tub and I pick you up and bring you back. You give up and start playing around the bathroom after a while. Then on random days, the one second I take my eyes off you, I hear your Didi scream, ‘Mumma, Bugz!’. And there you are, sitting in the bath tub besides your Didi, clothes and all, smiling your big smile at me, having slid in on your stomach.
My stubborn, stubborn little thing, I have said this before and I will say this again – I foresee many a locked horn fights between us – but for now we are testing each other’s boundaries. And for now you make up for it all with your smiles, belly laughs, the way you nestle up in my lap and hold on tight. I love you sweetheart and I am sure we will get through all our difference. Till the time for our next disagreement – you keep growing, keep learning, keep figuring things out.
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay you!