It's funny how a three year old can sing a song perfectly and mangle it into bits the very next year and giggle at how he doesn't 'know' the song. When I say it's funny I don't mean I am laughing. I mean I am wondering what I ever did to deserve this.
Rahul's report card arrived the other day. His school assures me he can recognise his alphabets and connect them to their phonetic sounds. The homicidal feeling started to grow in me, like it can only in mothers who have patiently repeated "R for Rahul, see, R says RRR for Rahul" only for him to look blankly and call R an O three seconds later. When I reached the bit about him counting quantities and keeping his teacher happy with his pattern-writing -- seriously, writing? writing?? -- I decided that what my son and I needed was even less involvement with his education from my end. He, clearly, lives up to my uncle's explanation of finding it quite unnecessary to display school knowledge at home.
There are moments when I have a horrific vision of being mum to a twenty year old who can't spell his own name far less out of school but come, at least he has the sense to be fascinated by tweetle beetles. A chap who knows his tweetle beetles from the dead spiders under the dustbin who curl up like crabs and ostensibly scuttle sideways cannot be considered entirely ignorant.
He makes up words all day long now. He puns and twists his sentences and every time I swell with pride, dammit, he sings nonsense words for every song and every rhyme and insists he doesn't know any better. A big favourit du jour is Puff the Magic Dragon. He is mangling the song now as I write, putting in great effort with the "OH!" and balancing a multitude of things on his pirate ship. No wonder none of his toys survive his love. I just found a new helicopter in the dustbin although I have not yet been able to ascertain just what it did to earn his wrath.
I seem to be absolutely useless when it comes to teaching him his letters and numbers, so I restrict myself to teaching him to sing, cook and sew. He has a useful voice although it seems to lack power like Vicky's, so I occasionally try to get some actual tunes out of him. He is a nuisance in the kitchen but helps me sort rice and dals, mix batters, beat eggs, pour out pancakes, that sort of thing. It is, of course, not safe letting him grate the cheese. He hasn't tried to lick the grater yet but it's only a matter of time. In the meanwhile alarming amounts of cheese disappear if he is 'helping' me in the kitchen. And, of course, if I am working with dough it is taken for granted that he gets his 'hafta'. He used to make me tiny parathas and rotis which I fried and roasted, but nowadays he makes snakes and dragons.
I once rashly promised him his own sewing getup because he was constantly getting among my sewing supplies. He kept reminding me about it (no problems with the old memory there) so I eventually gave him a wool needle threaded with a length of blue wool and let him 'sew' the plastic mesh dishcover. The beginning was not promising but who knows, I may yet have a grateful daughter-in-law come thank me one day for creating a man who knew how to do the useful things.
Unlike a certain Mr Niyogy whose skill tends towards things like making arrows. Seriously, arrows. He ordered bamboo from Guwahati. Spends his days sanding and painting and tying on feathers and shaping arrowheads. Arrows. Because, you know, they come in so useful in the average household. Excuse me while I go wonder what I was thinking taking him to Shillong. Next vacation will see us firmly established in Digha (or Puri) like every self-respecting young Bengali family.
The boy just interrupted to show me a scratch on a pencil that is apparently "E for Bheblu". Don't tell me Bheblu has an 'e' in its middle. Not unless you want an arrow through yours.