The Two-Minute Wait
The twins were over eighteen months, and one-word or two-word conversations jerked along in English, Spanish, and Hindi. One day, Miraaya, the younger of the twins, wanted something, and she wanted it right now. She was getting impatient and I saw a tantrum coming up.
In an effort to stall it, I lifted my hand and patted the air gently and said, “Wait, wait,” and then, holding up two fingers, I continued, “Two minutes.” And I repeated that to make sure she got it.
“Two minutes?” she asked holding up two fingers.
“Yes, baby, please wait for two minutes,” I said emphasizing ‘wait.’
“Wait,” she echoed, patting the air gently the same way she had seen me do. I smiled in answer.
Whatever it was that had to get done, I forget what now, took longer than two minutes, but it didn’t bother me because Mia certainly wouldn’t know how long two minutes was. Well, that’s what I assumed.
The next morning, she woke up early and I went to her cot to greet her. She looked like a sleepy, disheveled cherub.
“Good morning, my little birdie. Morning, morning!” I said cheerily. She didn’t give the usual response. So I bent to hug her.
“Wait, wait,” she said patting the air with her little hand, “two minutes?”
“Ok.” What now, I wondered highly amused.
Then, laboriously, she hauled herself up and lifting her arms high demanded, “Dodi.”
She wanted me to carry her and used the Hindi word ‘godi’, pronouncing it her way. I lifted her out of the cot and put her down.
She took a leisurely walk around the house and came and stood in front of me.
“Morning, morning!” she smiled.
I had waited for more than two minutes! Was she telling me something?!
THE TWO-MINUTE ARGUMENT
Amaara, the older twin can be quite assertive, most times, especially when she thinks she is right. Not one to give up without an argument or demonstration of some kind when vocabulary fails, she engaged me in an argument one day.
They were watching one of their TV shows and “The wheels of the bus” rhyme came up. She looked at it and knit her brows. The nanny had put on a different channel and the presentation wasn’t the same. The bus looked more like a van.
“Car,” she announced, pointing to the TV.
“Oh no, that’s a bus,” I said, deliberately baiting her.
“Car,” she insisted.
“Bus,” I stressed keeping a straight face, which was hard as suppressed laughter threatened to break free. She had taken the bait.
We bandied our opinions for a while until she lost her cool.
She drew her chubby little face closer to mine and in a loud voice and no-nonsense tone declared with finality, “Car!”
Unflinchingly, I brought my face close to hers and said firmly, but in a lower tone, “Bus!”
A staring match ensued. She was the first to turn away. Her little face showed confusion. She didn’t know how to react. She opted for diversion.
“Papa?” she asked.
“Office,” came my quick response.
“At office, too.”
She repeated these questions a couple of times more. Then paused for a second or two. She had come to some conclusion. She leaned towards me again.
“Bus,” she said and smiled. I was surprised at how she resolved the whole thing. Small as she was, she acted like an adult!
I laughed and cuddled my little teddy bear.
SLIP OF THE TONGUE AND GENTLE CORRECTION
We, the twins and I, were watching Gazoon, a cartoon featuring animals. It doesn’t have any dialogues or songs, so I had to do a running commentary and add tones, inflections, and drama to the whole show verbally.
One evening, while the girls were having their dinner, Gazoon was on and I was going full swing with my narrative.
“Hisssss...there comes the snake… he’s scary…oooh oh!”
“Scary…oooh,” and Miraaya brought up her clenched fists under her chin and faked a shiver!”
“Stomp…stomp…stomp…here comes the Elephant and there’s Cock-a-doodle-doo sitting on his head! Hahaha! So funny.”
“Cockadoo…doo, so funny,” they chorused and laughed.
“And what’s this? Someone’s coloring the clouds! Look, it’s a zebra…he’s painting the clouds.”
“Sky,” Miraaya quietly corrected me. She didn’t know what clouds were, she only knew ‘sky.’ So in her mind, I had made a mistake. I thought I’d show her clouds later and continued.
“Okay, sky,” I picked up from where I’d left off.
I looked at Miraaya, she seemed quite chuffed. I continued…
“Yes, and the giraffe is coloring the sky…” I got no further.
“Zebra,” Amaara quipped confidently. She knew she was right and her expression said it all. No scope for argument here.
“What?” I ask distracted. “Oh, yes, it is a zebra!” I laughed and they joined me.
I knew why I was laughing, I suspect they knew too! They’d won a point without any counter-arguments.