Narayan is 3. He is an imitator. That is an understatement. He is a great imitator. Even before he was 2, right after he could walk, this is what he did. I was washing dishes and Kavitha was doing her home work at the kitchen table. I would interrupt once in a while, turn around and talk to Kavitha about her work. At times I have a habit of standing on my left leg and crossing the right leg over. After a couple of times of this routine, I notice a diminutive disturbance around the kitchen entrance which has no doors but just a wide partition wide enough to pass the widest of our relatives.
I turn my head around to register the view with attention. I see Narayan smiling and his lips quivering to stop an impending giggle. I have noticed his one hand rested on one side of the entrance while his body leaned away straight and supported by one leg. He is now working his other leg to get it crossed over. In a couple of tries he got that pat. He now says with the tone of a satisfied comedian "Whadu think!".
Now the other day, I was helping him with his dinner. With out supervision he would make the kitchen a war zone. So I make it a point to sit with him on an adjacent contraption (Usually this is a chair, but could vary to include any makeshift replacement, as he broke two of them already) and help him with his dinner. Having grown up with so very few chairs, I have a tendency to assume the lotus position when presented with a flat surface. If I can't turn both feet in, I will make do with one and assume "half a lotus" position. So there I was sitting half lotus and feeding him his dinner.
Through this I am watching him wiggle in his chair with one leg down and one leg up. I tell him "Narayan, stop the wiggles and eat your dinner." It occurs to me barely after that he is trying to imitate me in his chair. Soon after he says "I am sitting like you.." obviously admonishing a clueless grownup. I change my position. He changes his and asking me again if he was sitting like me. Having explored this imitation until I am fully tired, he turns his attention to his next curiosity. He seem to be preoccupied with the "genesis" of all ideas. He has to know where things came from. For instance in this case he asks "Dad, who learned me this!". He is yet to distinguish between "learn" and "teach" otherwise the sentence is perfectly formed. Nevertheless I tell myself the established equivalence of "learn" and "teach" is profound.
Got to be quite frustrating to his sister that he won't leave her for anything. When her friends see him approaching they all yell "Oh, No!". Anyway he went to a neighbor's house the other day to spend a couple of hours. He came back with lots of stories and how he and another boy stole their marbles and "Raned out fast" before they could catch them. He didn't say "runned out..". So as early as 3 they already distinguish the idea of tense and the disonance of a regular verb and the need for an irregular verb.
Recently he has been introduced to the saltiness of boiled peanuts. Both Kavitha and him love to chew (if not eat) on these peanuts. They consume a few cans every week. It wasn't hard for us to run out of these. The other day he wanted peanuts. I told him we ran out. "Ahan! I see them.." he says. He goes and grabs a can of Kidney beans, and walks out "Here they are".
"Narayan, they are kidney beans, they are not peanuts!"
"What are they? Kidnapped beans! I love kidnapped beans. They make me strong.."
The lazy bone
Getting him dressed after a shower is a daily ritual. First of all he wants me to carry upside down from down stairs to upstairs. He is mildly (I think and I hope) obsessive. So this routine is a must. While upside down he would try to capture whatever objects he could capture and carry them to the shower. These objects included clothes, a rubic cube, a number of abandonded dinosaurs on the floor etc. After the shower he has a specific way for me to carry him to the bed and so on and so forth.
For a few months now, he wants to pick the clothes himself. And he doesn't want to wear any night clothes. He dresses himself in jeans and proper shirt. I let him do it, and most of the days he ends up going to the day care in the same clothes. Bystanders think that I could do better. I am not so sure.
Last night, he is in a relaxing mood. He said he wanted me to pick the clothes. I get him his jeans. He didn't like the particular jeans I have picked. He didn't want them. I said very nicely, in a non-threatning way, "Narayan, then get up from the bed and pick your own clothes". He looked at me a couple of times, weighed the situation that would require him to get off the bed and pick his clothes. He said "Ok give those jeans, I will put them on.".