The Brat’s stubborn ways are by now well known. Tell him to do something and he won’t. Although the old trick of telling him to do it so that he doesn’t do it isn’t working either. He basically does what he wants to and thereafter the whole hassle of strategising, begging, pleading has to begin.
Now when the Brat was rather young the OA and I decided to speak to him in Hindi only since we live in the North and we wanted him to be fluent in it. Also we knew he’d be talking to the househelp, drivers, daycare, school teachers and wanted him to be comfortable conversing with them if we weren’t around.
So he was a good 2 years old before he began to speak English decently and that is also when he encountered full on Bengali. We got a Bengali maid by chance and since the OA and I fairly conversant in the language we didn’t mind. The poor old lady however had no idea what she was in for.
The moment she said her first few lines to the Brat he screamed at her in absolute disgust and ran. The thing with kids is that they need to understand you. If they don’t, it frustrates and upsets them. And for a two year old Brat with a new baby sister – this strange old woman speaking gibberish was his worst nightmare come true. ‘Tum chali jao,’ he yelled..’Tum gandi baat karti ho. Yeh achchi baat nahi hai.’ (Go away, you say bad things. These are not nice things to say.) He refused to have her anywhere near him and finally the OA and I had to ask her to leave because even after days of having her in the house he refused to make his peace with her. Having her around drove him nuts and defeated the purpose.
Of course she had other problems too because later on we got another maid who spoke Bengali and while that annoyed the Brat like hell, she won him over with her warmth.
Over the last year or so that she’s been with us she’s learnt to speak broken Hindi with the Brat and they get by. I’ve told her that she could speak to him in Bengali and teach him an extra language but she looks rather bashful and says she can’t because he refuses to respond and gets mad at her.
The OA and I tried to talk to him in Bengali but he glared at us and ignored us. And since we didn’t want to create an issue and make him to hate it – we let it alone. Speaking it daily was out of the question since neither of us are bong or particularly hysterical to hear him speaking it. Besides it really hampered communication to have to stop and think of the correct word or phrase. So we just let it be.
In effect, the only Bengali that the Brat heard was the OA and I speaking to the maid to give her instructions. Which made us believe that we had a safe third language to communicate in when we discussed our next evil parenting strategy.
Yesterday the Brat was painting and the maid walked in and I said to her in Bengali ‘Look at what your friend has done in my bathroom. He’s got red paint all over my walls.’
In a flash the Brat dropped his paintbrush and ran to my toilet. ‘Where mama?’ says he..’Where’s the red paint? I can’t see anything.’
I looked at him in absolute shock. The little swine understands perfectly. Right down to the names for various colours, and this without us having ever bothered to speak it to him proactively.
I have a sneaky little son…..