The little Peanut isn't really all that little anymore.
If any of you have read this blog before, or my first book, 'Just Married, Please Excuse', you'll know that we very imaginatively stuck with the name Peanut because that's what she looked like in the first ultrasound.
It's quite something how things have changed. Peanut is already a young lady of remarkable intelligence and compassion ( disclaimer: I'm the mom) - of course there are times when she regresses, especially when she's playing with her 3 year-old twin brothers - but for the most part, she's a first-grader with a mind of her own, nimble fingers that are learning to master the piano and a capacity to go through books like no other.
The latest book she's picked up is - wait for it - none other than the above mentioned 'Mama's book' by yours truly. She was very kicked by the back cover which announced the arrival of Baby Peanut - she kept on asking me 'Which chapter do I come in, Mama?' and I told her that I didn't remember exactly and she would just have to go through it and find it. She looked at me with her eyebrows raised and enquired 'Are you sure you wrote this?' She couldn't seem to digest the fact that I didn't know the chapter-wise contents by heart.
She giggled her way through the first few chapters although Vijay was suspicious about whether she was really understanding everything - after all, this isn't like a kid's story. On the other hand, it's not one that's very complicated, either, so she did seem to get the general gist of the events, even though she obviously didn't get the dry humour peppered all over the book. The problem arose when she reached the chapter 'Opposites Attack', where it goes something like this.
'You really don't want kids - ever?' Vijay was aghast...
...'They're icky, runny-nosed pests...' Y said 'Monsters!'
Peanut looked up at me, shocked 'You didn't want kids, Mama? You don't like kids?!'
'No, no' I was a little shocked myself 'That was...before you came along...and then I had my little angel Peanut' I put on an unusually sweet voice 'And everything was wonderful!'
She didn't seem too convinced. She muttered 'Monsters, you said...you said kids are monsters...' and then she proceeded to read the book, her brow furrowed.
My mind was racing. This was a little too much. I didn't expect her to be reading this book before she was seven - obviously, the sarcasm was lost on her and she wouldn't be able to take everything in the right spirit, straight-laced kid that she is. I suggested to her that she go to bed, but she ignored me and kept reading. A few more gentle suggestions later, I lost it and snapped that she better put the book away, and go to sleep - or else.
Immediately, her face crumpled. Putting the book aside, she turned to me once and said 'Mama - I think you still don't like kids!' And with that devastating comment, she turned her back to me and started to sob into her pillow.
It took a lot of cuddling and convincing to let my daughter know that indeed I do like children these days, especially my own. I'm just hoping no permanent damage is done. Of course, the very next day, she was bouncing around happily and back at the book, running to our old Kajal Didi and saying 'Aap bhi hai iss kitaab mein!' I found myself very glad that Kajal is unlikely to ever read the book and her role in it, although she and Peanut seemed equally kicked by the discovery of her role in it.
Aside from the reading, Peanut has been progressing well at her Piano - she started a year ago in February and is now reading music pretty well. We invested in a digital piano last June, and that's really helped her progress because she practices every day. I'm thinking of taking lessons myself now just to keep up with her, but am trying to plan life in such a way that it doesn't get too overloaded. But obviously, she's already way ahead of me - I took guitar lessons last year, and my ability to read music, practice on a regular basis and general willingness to learn does not compare with hers at all.
She managed a distinction on her Trinity Initial Grade piano exam, with a grade of 87 marks - which apparently is just the cut-off for distinction. Her erstwhile teacher, who had to leave was pretty happy with her achievement. Peanut herself beamed when I told her the news about her marks. She had been pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, and apparently I had managed to hide my own stress reasonably well (yeah, right); Peanut informed me that the lady taking her exam was very friendly and had red curly hair; she had then confided to me that in her own opinion, the lady was going to be a circus clown when she grew up due to that hair. Anyway, she seemed pretty kicked about her exam results because when we reached home after her class, she went straight to Papaji's room and shouted 'Papaji! I got a DICTATION!' - much to the mystification of my bemused father-in-law.
Peanut's a kid who's always full of surprises - for example, I was watching Tom and Jerry right now with the kids and enquired who was hiding inside the knight's armour waiting to axe Jerry ( dumb question, I know, but it was addressed to the little twins who were ignoring me completely). Peanut replied first, saying 'It's Thomas, I should think.'
Yeah, she could have just said Tom. I'm definitely raising a reader.
A couple of other examples of recent conversations with Peanut:
''Mama, do the numbers never end? Is that man who made the numbers in the beginning - is he still talking and saying them out loud?''
''...today in school we heard the story of how Guru Nanak asked a rich man and a poor man both to give him one roti...and then he squeezed the Rich man's roti and it was full of blood...yuck...what? Why, you ask? Oh...I think he had put his own blood in it...(thoughtfully) He probably didn't like Guru Nanak much, I should think...''
In short : Life gets more and more interesting.