The morning hours are quiet and enable me to get some work done - whether it's working on a consulting assignment or a new book. Happy to announce that two book drafts have been created this year (more on them in the next post).
But in the afternoon, it's as if a hurricane is approaching. You can hear the screams from the time that they are fifty feet away - they could be squeals of terror as they pretend that they're being chased home by a rabid dog; screams of delight as they each rush to tell me about some fascinating new development of the day; or just howls about a fight in the bus wherein one of them attempted to deprive the other of a grubby biscuit or something.
Papad waltzes into the room first 'Hello Mumma!' He says cheerfully 'Do you know? I didn't fuss today at all!''
Recalling full well the struggle to get him to wear matching socks in the morning, I swallow and say ''That's great!'' He rushes up and hugs me and then tries to sneakily press a button on my laptop, immediately pissing me off.
Peanut comes in, all officious, and reports ''Hello Mama. Do you know, Papad cried all the way in the bus home because first he ate his lollipop and then wanted to have Pickle's and then Pickle didn't share because you said that we are supposed to eat sweets only on Saturday-Sunday and so then he....''
''Peanut, calm down, take a breath.'' I turn to sullen Papad. ''Papad, did you do that? I've told you not to eat sweets during the week, they're not good for your teeth...''
''But I shared with everyone on the bus.'' Papad retorts defensively.
Peanut nods sagely ''Yes, Mama, he let everyone have a lick from his lollipop and then he ate the rest himself...''
''That's...'I can't find the words.''Ewwwww....'' I glare at my son, aghast. ''Don't ever do that again.''
''Okay.'' he agrees and then says ''But Pickle wasn't sharing me, I shared everybody and...''
The wails from the third child are louder. He has apparently been so upset that he insisted on being carried home all the way from the bus stop. He walks into my room, mouth open so wide that I feel like I am Ma Yashodha and might actually see the whole world in there, but there's nothing apart from a pink tongue and little teeth. His fat cheeks are glistening with tears and he comes up and puts his arms around me, sobbing 'Papad hitted me.''
''You hit him?'' I am very angry at Papad now. I turn to the older sister, always a reliable witness ''You didn't tell me that, Peanut.''
''Ya I was going to tell you but then you interrupted me and started talking to Papad, I was saying that he wanted Pickle's lollipop after eating his own but Pickle was being a good boy and saying that we are not to open the sweets and then Papad hit him on the head with his bottle...''
Pickle, who always stops crying to listen when Peanut relates events in order to make sure that she's getting it right, now pipes up ''No, he hitted me with MY bottle.''
''Ya ya that's what I said that he hit him with his bottle''
''NO! MY BOTTLE!!'' Pickle holds out a fist at his sister and then struggles to reach out and hit her. I restrain him.
''Pickle!''I scold ''We are not supposed to hit each other right?''
''Ya.'' says Papad piously.''Ma'am says Keep yore hands to yore self.''
''You're one to talk.'' I snap at him. ''You hit him. You're not supposed to do that. Now say sorry.''
''Solly.'' Papad says to the wall.
''Say it to Pickle and hug him.'' I order. I have also read enough articles about how forcing apologies isn't the best way of resolving a fight, but I suspect the author didn't have twins and so disregard the advice.
Papad tries to reach out and hug Pickle who shoves him away and buries his face into my neck. Since Pickle is a bit of a less demonstrative child, I secretly enjoy the closeness and continue to hug him while Peanut tells me about seventeen different things at the same time about what happened today in school.
I've read that children become less communicative as they grow and soon there will come a time when I will ask ''So what did you do at school today'' and all I'll get is a sullen ''Nothing.''
So for now, the loudest, most hurricane-like moment of the day when the three burst into the house is a highly treasured moment for me, no matter what it's interrupting.
I know I won't be around at this time of the day for long, so allow me to prepare for the storm now. As long as the screams start up in an hour or so and don't indicate any broken bones, I'll know - life goes on... and life is good.
This post is dedicated to Sindhoora Marru, who emailed me in response to a post on my Facebook page wherein I asked for volunteers to beta-read the first few chapters of my new book. She said in her email -
''Without sounding stalkery, i say i wait for your blog feed everyday. sometimes, i refresh many times a day. i read some of my favorites in ur old posts when i get annoyed waiting.''
Sindhoora, enjoy :) and thanks!