The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Oct 30, 2007

Of the Boy

A couple of months before the boy turned two, his play-school offered to promote him from the toddler room to the preschool section. He was possibly the oldest among the toddlers, enthusiastic and boisterous, and the girls who watched him were very likely wilting under the strain of his energy. We, classic desi parents and looking for any opportunity to give the boy a boost in life, leaped at the chance.

Partly, our intent was occasioned by a tinge of anxiety. As the wise man said, to be a parent is to worry, constantly and heedlessly. Younger children than the boy were uttering intelligible words whereas our son was still only babbling and giggling. His motor skills were fairly advanced (he had started walking at eight months), so why not his verbal development?

The boy was quite unconcerned, of course. He was a ring-leader of a bunch of vandals who wouldn't sit still during story-time and occasionally ran around the room tearing down artwork from the walls and scribbling suggestive grafitti in its place. He combined insouciance with an impish good humour, and the only way the exhausted caregivers could deflect him was to take him to the garden and let him rampage there with his cohorts.

These days, the boy looks forward to going to the nursery. He is ratty and clingy if he can't go. In the new room, the boy has a new bunch of friends he calls Ana and Chas and Iya. Playing and talking with these older and more articulate kids helps improve his speech. When they are not charging up and down the corridors, they are playing in the garden or singing or finger painting or pigging out on pita and hummus. The boy knows the words for triangles and squares now, which is always reassuring to a math geek like his father.

And yet, there's always subliminal worry. The persistent and slightly hysterical coverage of children's development issues and of kids who, once they begin to lag, get left further and further behind, isn't exactly reassuring. My thoughts perpetually revolve around the boy, littlest among the preschoolers. He is a bright, engaging fellow, happiest in company, chatty and affectionate. Would that his life is bright and happy as well, filled with humour and achievement.

Meanwhile, on someone's birthday, when everybody gathers around the cake, the boy is perhaps standing up in front or perhaps on tiptoe bouncing about the periphery. As they all burst into the celebratory song, the boy, full of hope and energy, joins in. He sings lustily, joyously, his unruly hair falling over his eyes.

"Attabatty toochoo."


Anonymous said...

nice to know that angus is running wild in school... i hear his vocabulary is making his mothers skin crawl... when i met him this May i was surprised he couldnt talk... being an experienced father rearing 3 kids i realised that angus was as sharp as a knife and considering growing up cloistered with just parents he was very friendly to me...a stranger.. on our trip into london he was quiet happy being pushed around by me and being entertained by me on the tube ride back... giving the harrased nina a break! to me he appeared to be a highly intelligent kid who instantly knew that considering i was invited to his house it must be ok being my friend!
With regard to his speaking late its because of YOU!! (maybe!?)
My second son vishnu, 13, 5'8", 102 kgs (12kgs heavier than me!! poor chap) ...when he was 90kgs lighter and 11 years younger had the same problem... he was a late talker... the reason i was told was confusion... too many languages flying around... my mom insisted in talking in malayalam, monika and me in english and his maid talked to him in tamil... poor chap didnt know what all the various noices were and kept quiet... when maya said that angad doesnt speak as yet for a 2 yr old...i wondered till i heard YOU speak to him in hindi and it all fell into place!!
Now your task will be how to keep him quiet!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Muralibhai!
Hope you have made recordings of 'attabatty choo choo' and other blabberings! Once he starts speaking clearly, you will miss the gibberish. So enjoy it while it lasts!

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