SATURDAY, JUNE 10, 2006
.. So it’s finally happened. My 13 month old said his first few words. At first I was convinced that I was just a fond mother reading too much into gibberish. Till he did it again and again. We live on the third floor and our balcony overlooks one of the busiest roads in Delhi.
When he was an infant I would put him out on the balcony with his toys on a blanket and let the winter sun strengthen his little limbs…. And I would sit by chopping my veggies or editing copy. As he grew older it was where he took his first steps at ten months ( grist for another post!) and any visitor would be dragged out to sit with him and look at the traffic go by.
My dad visited and I remember him saying, “This bugger is going to say car before he says Mamma or Dadda.” I laughed it off till a couple of days back a bus honked at the traffic signal and my son screamed ‘bus, bus!!’ and charged out to the balcony as fast as his short little legs could take him.
A few days later the maid dropped a couple of utensils in the kitchen and my son was stacking rings. Without missing a beat he says “oh buggeh!”.. I swear it. I guess he picked up his grandfather’s favourite phrase when no one was listening. Yes, yes, it’s only funny right now and hopefully he will forget it before repeating it in public.
I have always maintained that I have no vices other than swearing like a truck driver. It has always shocked those who meet me for the first time to see me virtuously turn down a cigarette and a drink, sitting with my legs decorously crossed at the ankle only to let fly the choicest abuse when something doesn’t go my way. I figured we had a while before we minded our Ps and Qs and forks and spoons, but I guess it is finally time for me to give up my only indulgence( uh huh, I am going to be completely repressed now.)
The last straw was following the maid to the door on her way out, waving to her and calling out “bye, byeeee.”
Yes, it is official. My 13 month old has outgrown his parents and now no longer needs us. He has learned all the words he needs to get him through life. I mean what more do you need if you can hail a bus, vent your frustration with an ‘oh bugger’ and wave bye to people.
My mother loves telling people how I learned to walk at nine months and was talking full sentences at almost a year -wipe that look of disbelief off your face please, its rude! Well we didn’t believe her, particularly the Other Adult till he was shown albums of a pre first birthday me running around smashing cups and tripping over a little house coat!!
We also had evidence of my talking from a lot of other witnesses. My mother had my brother within 14 months of me and I was taken to the hospital with all the other relatives to see my new baby brother. A favourite Grand Aunt of mine used to exclaim “oh mother save us!” very often. As luck would have it, I was dressed up in my favourite little blue dress and was walking up the stairs when I fell in to a little rain water drain (you can have your laughs, but I spoke at 9 months!)and said “oh mother save us!” The teasing is yet to end. People constantly bring it up as an example of how I started talking early and didn’t stop after that.
Apparently I was also not used to sharing the attention and when we brought the new baby home I was busy telling my father a story of the smart fox and the greedy crow in Tamil (the nari and the kaka). Dad was getting my story on tape when the little fellow howled and mum got up to check on him. Irritated at losing my audience I yelled out, “Shut up Tambi, no one calling.” And of course the value of that tape went up exponentially. It was played for years to come to show visitors what a chatterbox and little jealous cat I was. The tape still exists but fortunately we no longer have a tape recorder, only a CD player – so I am safe.
Enough about me – I spend the last 10 days wondering whether it was a fond mother’s imagination or if my son really says a few words. And he does. He waves ‘byeee’ to the mailman, milkman, maid, his father and anyone else who heads to the door. He drops all else to rush to the balcony and scream ‘bus’ when he hears it honk. And of course every time there is a bit of a to do he will look up seriously and say, ‘oh buggeh’…..