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Toddlers can be real entertainers at most times. They can also tie you up in knots and make you question everything you thought until now.
Toddlers and their idiosyncrasies tickle your funny bones as much as they confront you with situations that are quite typical for them alone.
Last evening when my daughter Anshika was back with her papa from the mall, perhaps she had been “trained” to refrain from divulging the fact that she had enjoyed an ice cream (which is quite a taboo when Maa is around). However the moment her mommy opens the door she enacts as if she had been fed the dessert quite against her will! Well, you can guess papa’s reaction!
A toddler whose vocabulary is none but an uphill task is more dangerous than a blender with a missing top, hear this out-when Maa instructs Anshika to tread carefully on a wet bathroom floor for she might “slip”, she confuses it with “sleep” and asks mommy to demonstrate, which in either case is difficult and ridiculous!
A toddler can come of age, mentally alone (for physically, they are usually that cute yet pint sized dynamite that can explode any instant) as per their convenience-for instance, you assign them a task as nominal as possible they become “mall” (Anshika’s version of “small”) but when they want something that’s specifically for adults, they abruptly gain maturity. This sudden, incredible and phenomenal virtual transformation is stereotypical of none but toddlers!
This afternoon while fiddling with my tattoo, Anshika expressed her desire to have one etched exactly where I have; when questioned what she wants to write, she immediately retorted with her twinkling eyes, “Maa”!
We all know the significance of this word but I truly felt as being reborn as one!
When I was already overwhelmed with such waves of emotions, my little one nailed it yet again by saying that she loves her parents, grandparents and all at home (I had to customarily assign each one’s name exactly as how Anshika addresses them) as much as the sky, by raising her tiny hands and trying to gauge the entire universe in her cute little being!
Few weeks back when Anshika had buckets of unexplained tears, as parents, both Maa and Pappa (yes, that’s how she addresses her dad) wished and prayed she should grow up to understand and explain as to what’s bothering her, so that we could come to her rescue accordingly. And now that she begins her “proper school” (that’s how colloquially a play school and an institution is demarcated by laymen like us) from tomorrow, it seems God answered our prayers too early.
The fact that she gets clothed in school uniform, adorned in meticulously done up hair, polished shoes, carries a “Spider-Man” school bag+water bottle+tiffin box+pencil box (yes she worships super heroes or precisely, “SPIDER-MAN”) is already creating butterflies in my stomach. When did this little one grow up so soon? Where did so many years of cuddling, hugging, sometimes whining, but mostly laced in laughters go?
Though Anshika’s been a pro at the play school, since she’s started it at the tender age of 2, I still feel pangs of anxiety when she graduates to nursery tomorrow morning! This is yet another milestone that as parents we venture into. And this, does not come at a lesser cost-getting your little one finish her/his lunchbox is still a Herculean task (though that’s the first thing which is highlighted in BOLD on Anshika’s bucket list) as it is to make them hold a pencil and inscribe the first alphabet or numerical successfully!
You know you have a toddler when your internet history is all about baby spider man, 5 little monkeys, Martha and the bear and similar stuffs, this means your home wifi also gets drained completely. Most of the time I struggle to send or receive mails/chats/IMs because Anshika literally consumes a humongous portion of our monthly data coverage!
Toddlers are perhaps the only creations who have no idea what embarrassment is – which is actually good, or, not so good in situations like when you are trying hard to potty train your little one, who after several rounds of refusal suddenly retorts, “Tumi dekhiye dao” (You show it!) to their innocent bids of “Please try baby”! I could hardly control that grin to escape my otherwise embarrassed state of mind.
These little imps can surpass Einstein’s IQ sometimes when they make remarks like “Maa, luv u jinddgi pant”, comparing your stylishly, meticulously torn jeans to Alia Bhatt’s, wearing which she toppled off her bicycle in ‘Dear Zindagi’.
Having taught Anshika that daal and vegetables are essential for her to become strong like Chota Bheem or even Mighty Raju, it seems I have invited for some serious trouble for myself because, after each mouthful she wants me to enact how she can beat up the baddies exactly how they do on screen, and remember, each of my moves need to be different!
Teaching right and left can be quite an exasperation when a toddler is your trainee for they believe right is right or left is left even when these come on the opposite sides while traveling to and fro through the same lane. How do you explain this one now?
Being the mother of a toddler I sometimes suspect my slight medical knowledge (read, all Bengalis are half doctors, thanks to our incessant cases of gastric troubles and acidities which surely stems from our extremely adventurous gastronomic fares) when my little one first complains of a tummy ache and immediately resolves it herself by smugly stating, “popcorn khele thik hobe” (popcorn would cure it)! Can you beat that?!
For over a fortnight now Anshika’s been using a fragmented sentence with overtly idiosyncratic words such as “punckan” which reportedly she had eaten some time back at some place where they had also played “kana kana mana” (read, with all due respect, “Jana Gana Mana”). A sign of warning here, for all those either having toddlers around them or planning their way to parenthood, the phase between 1.5-perhaps 3.5 years, these little dynamites pick up really raw vocabulary, because each normal sounding words can be turned into the most queer ones! Coming back to Anshika’s story, with all my efforts I couldn’t fathom the meaning of what she was trying to imply using those obnoxious fragments when her dad came to my rescue (because by now I had earned tremendous wrath from her due to my inability to comprehend her words) and explained that she had eaten popcorn (“punckan”) during one of her movies with us (later she sang and told me it was “love you jindgii”) and that the national anthem was played too!
It is often said that these little ones will never hear their names being called out but will hear a bag of chips being opened through three walls and a thunderstorm! For instance, the other day when I almost burst out my lungs while calling Anshika, she came to me only after I had mentioned that I was giving her, her favorite candy!
Sometimes these little ones may have severe number fixations such as Anshika wants everything in 10 pieces alone (so things that can’t be given in larger quantity I am compelled to make minuscule parts!). These days, both Anshika and her papa play a game wherein they jump into bed after a count of 1-6 (I mean, we all have learnt to initiate anything, be it a race or some game, at the count of 3, but it’s not so for her).
Even though pint sized, they aspire to handle situations (read, things) independently. They pride in re opening a refrigerator door which has been closed by an adult (read, their virtual opponents) and closing it back; they give a Diwali rocket a run for its money when the door bell rings and they intend to open it.
These toddlers irrespective of their behavior/attitude/whirlwind-like attributes can brighten up anyone’s day-even the not so seemingly pleasant personalities. For instance, these little ones are the most unpredictable creature that God could think of; for when you crave for a hug they box the day lights out of you; when you least expect a cuddle they pounce on you and smother you with their kisses and smooches. And in my case, if by mistake Anshika manages to hurt me, she softly kisses me and assures me in her baby language,”Ebar thik hoye jabe” (that now it would be fine)!
Sometimes their silence can be the best example of “the lull before the storm”, because it is believed that when your toddlers are silent, parents need to be quite suspicious (in such similar scenarios I have found my mirror smothered in baby cream, the refrigerator door practically given a bath, the walls though spared my white couch adorned in scribbles). Sometimes as my MIL says these little ones should be spared, which I think is right, unless they cause some self-inflicting damage or even disrespecting someone.
Even though I struggle to keep my cool (or at times when I lose it) most of the time, I would surely miss these days which is slipping out of my hands no matter how hard I am trying to hold on to them.