My littlest son, Papad, is one of my favourite children, aside from Peanut and Pickle. He was born a minute after Pickle, but is the baby of the family to all of us. A tryst with a Tarot reader at a school fair once enlightened me to the fact that he is in fact the incarnate of one of my wise ancestors, and that he is very Buddha-like and therefore, I would do well to listen to his advice as he grows up.
Papad is a particularly cheerful little child, and rather fond of me. He's the one that gives me the tightest and most frequent hugs, and often says 'I lowe you Mummy', arms wrapped around me and kissing my tummy, which he's already tall enough to reach (he's already got about an inch's height advantage over his older twin brother). Needless to say, such displays of affection melt my heart and I nurse a special soft corner for this child.
So when Vijay looks at him and says 'Yeh toh Budhhu hai hamara', my natural reaction is to rise up in his defense. ''Not at all! He's also very smart...do you know what he did yesterday?...' and I launch into some story of his genius that Vijay immediately tunes out on.
Vijay's philosophy has something to do with how we needn't save for our children - I forget the exact phrase but it goes something like - if your offspring is good, why save for them? If your offspring is bad, why save for them.
He often examines little Papad trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle, and the slightest hesitation on the poor child's part results in Vijay remarking out loud ''But for a little buddhu, we must leave a little money behind.''
I bristle at this and try to tell him that as parents, we must not seed such thoughts in our children's head - it can affect their confidence, self-esteem and god-knows-what-else. We must in fact reinforce the positives.
So he turns towards Peanut, who is blissfully absorbed in a book, and says ''Peanut. You read so much. You'll do very well.'' He then adds innocently. ''Just give some of your money to Papad, okay?''
Peanut nods without looking up, and I glare at Vijay who studiously avoids my eye for as long as he can.
I was reading a book to both Pickle and Papad yesterday - it's a night-time ritual, they both choose one of the many books that Peanut has collected over the last 3 years and bring it to me for a quiet snuggle and read. I noticed that Papad had brought an activity book - Baby Mickey, Donald, etc.
I opened the first page, and there sat Baby Donald surrounded by some toys. ''Can you identify the toys that begin with D?'' I asked my children, as per the instruction. I prompted further ''The Duhh sound''
Papad immediately pointed to a car, and said ''Duh-Car!''
I said 'Er, no, Papad. Try again...look...'
He scanned the page while Pickle looked on indulgently. Papad then offered ''Duh-Ball!''
'Papad! It's not D-car and D-ball. Look!' I pointed in frustration at the doll, and said 'What is this?'
The light of recognition shone from his scrubbed face as he said triumphantly ''Duh-Barbie-Doll!!''
Giving up, I asked Pickle ''Pickle, can you try.''
''Dlums, Doggy, Doll.'' Came the solemn reply.
Papad then threw a hissy fit, insisting that this was a story book and not an activity book and that ''You're cheating, Mama!'' I had to hastily convert the exercise into a really disjointed story based on the pictures on subsequent pages ( And then Goofy told his friends a story and then they heard Pluto digging for a bone and then Mini splashed about in her pool and then....). Pickle listened a little dubiously to the tale, but Papad concluded ''Such a nice story.'' when I finished.
Overall, I was Duh-feated. My littlest baby was being a Duh. The Little Buddha is sometimes a little Buddhu.
However, I've decided that it really duh-sn't matter all that much. He's a happy child, affectionate, loving and definitely has his bright moments. He's got a very sweet personality too (apart from when you try to make him wear socks, but that's another story). And plus, he's got a smile like no other, he'll be able to charm his way out of anything.
So what if he takes slightly longer than the others to come up to speed? It's time to drop the comparison that comes so naturally, especially when you've got twins. So what, I say! If he learns to read and use the computer later than the others, it just means that I can let this particular post stay up that much longer on this damning blog of mine!
Rock on, L'il Man!