Last few days have been a little tough for Disha and me.
February was a month of travel and Disha took it very well. There were so many changes in her, which we like to think of as positive ones. So I thought it was time for another experiment. We came to Ghaziabad to stay with my mom’s sister for a month. This time without Karthik or Aditi (my sister). Just the two of us.
She was unbelievably home-sick. So much that even I started feeling the same. Such intense feeling of longing! It tugged my heart every time she asked for appa and maushi (aunt). I was regretting our trip right from the beginning- maybe it s a good idea to have some familiarity. And not a good idea to separate appa from paapa so soon!
Day 4 of our stay here, she is slowly getting back to being her usual cheerful self. Interspersed with bursts of “appa and paapa manee” (means- father and baby’s home). Today after our mid-morning-noon nap, she had her ragi (millet) porridge for lunch while running behind butterflies. Just outside my aunt’s home is a huge park with pretty flowers lining its boundaries. And we spotted two pale green-yellow ones fluttering away. Sitting on one flower at a time, long enough to drink in its nectar. Disha was so pleased to see these winged friends of her’s. She could not stop talking long after we lost sight of them.
Evening was even more fun, blowing soap bubbles all over the dining room. She spent more than a hour with my cousins blowing the bubbles and running, dancing around, bursting a few, watching others blow up. Such simple pleasures.
She even had dinner after a 3 day dinner strike! Phew.
Hope she stays this way and does not miss home too much.
Last evening Disha slept at 6:30- she was very irritable and tired. Infact the whole day she did not eat much, wanted me to be with her all the time. She was very upset when first her chittapa (uncle), ajji (grand aunt) and then our friends Tatha and Tej said their goodbyes to her. She does not like goodbyes. Her expressions seemed to say- why do they come and always have to leave without me? All this contributed to her sleeping off early.
I was prepared for a mid-night wake up call from Disha, saying that she was hungry. And there it was- at about 2:45 am, she got off our bed and announced that she had to use the bathroom. After which she was very happy to play for next 1.5 hrs. Finally, she relented to being led back into our bed and was nursing back to sleep. All of a sudden she said- “amma, dhan choo” ( amma, thank you) and went back to nursing.
We have never taught her “to say” thank you. When someone gives her something, we express our collective gratitude. We do not ask her to say anything since we believe that she will learn by example. Asking her to say something she does not want to say, but is saying because she was asked to, we believe will not help her learn.
So at night when she said those words, a warm glow spread over me. I felt that getting up in the middle of the night to stay up with my daughter was nothing, compared to those words she spoke.
Now, all morning, when she asked for something and I gave it, she said- dhan choo quite promptly. My face never failed to light up.
Disha definitely thinks that her body is a canvas. In fact she thinks everyone is one too. Mere paper does not suffice. She loves it when one of us draws stars on her hands or legs with a ball point pen. Then she takes over to do her art.
Yesterday she was eating poster colors, much to my alarm. I kept telling her that its not good to eat it, could be poisonous. Today somehow she changed her mind and painted on two sheets of paper. As usual, that did not satisfy her. She then started off painting on her legs, slowly moving up to her hands, then tummy and finally her neck. After she was through, she came to me looking for spaces to paint on.
At this point I very smartly (he, he!) suggested, she had had enough of painting. To my surprise, she agreed and we cleared up the mess really quickly and then ran into the bathroom.
She is all clean of her art now and is sitting next to me munching an apple. I had to write this right away!
1. Taking off my spectacles to wipe the glasses on her shirt.
2. Telling me which clothes belong to whom when we are hanging them together on the clothes line.
3. Asking for her cold medicine even if I forget to give it to her.
4. Massaging hair oil on her head.
5. Feeding stray dogs from our balcony
6. Feeding me all the food on her plate especially once she is done with it.
7. Applying everything edible on her hair.
8. Taking a Diwali clay lamp and pretending to apply vermillion on everyone’s head.
9. Crawling from the hall to kitchen and back, expecting me to do it too with her.
10. Sitting with her legs up on the petrol tank on Karthik’s motorbike, looking very comfortable.
11. Tiptoeing and throwing all used dishes into the kitchen sink with flourish.
12. Pointing out to the stars every night.
13. Wishing everybody a good night with a salute.
14. Sitting on her wooden horse and going peep-peep.
15. Picking up small pieces of dirt on the floor.
We have been traveling over weekends for the last 4 of them. Quite hectic, but so much fun! Disha gets to meet so many different people every weekend, that it has transformed her fear of new people and she has become more accepting and friendly. She has learnt many more words and songs. New sights, smells, people, tongues and food.
She wants to say hello to every child she meets but doesn’t like it if the other kid is bolder or friendlier than her.
She loves traveling by trains. Our travel to Bombay and back was 24 hrs in train each way. She made friends with other kids and had a great time climbing up and down the upper berth. Other times she was running along the compartment, dancing or sleeping.
This was the first time she felt bad when she left a place and she was missing our friends for quite a while after that. Even after 10 days she keeps asking for them every once in a while and wants to see their pictures.
Now that we are back, she insists on visiting our neighbors everyday and spends most of her day in their homes. Its again a first, she doesn’t need me to be around. She’s perfectly happy playing with the other children- who are either a few months older or younger than her. Right now they don’t have too many fights and are occupied with playing with dolls or dancing to music. Today she and her friend Ashu painted using lady’s finger stubs.
Now we are getting ready for our next excursion. Delhi- here we come!
Disha used her index finger to indicate that she wanted more of something before her tatha (grandpa) taught her the number two. She is so fond of two now, that everything she notices somehow becomes two aani (elephant), two brushee, two mummum (food).
She noticed an octopus in one of her books and counted its limbs as 2, 2, 2, 2 and finally pronounced that it had 2 legs or taal (as she says it).
Exactly, three days back, she picked up 3. From where she got it, we don’t really know. Now her counting goes 2, 3, 2. As a dear friend observed, Disha’s counting system is a way of saying “one more” or “another”. So the words two or three for Disha is a means of saying just that and probably does not mean counting the number of things as we know it.