Literally speaking..

“Meena!”, the Pattani calls out, tugging at the MIL’s saree pallu.
“Shhh – Pattani! You can’t call her by name. Paati nu koopdu”, I tell him firmly.
“Meena!” Yet again.
I just glare.
“Meena Paati?”, he tries, tentatively.
Not wanting to offer any leeway, I tell him firmly – “Onnum theva illa. Verum Paati nu koopdu, porum.”
He pretends like he hasn’t heard me and scampers off.
He returns to the kitchen exactly a minute later, runs up to her and confidently addresses her – “Verum Paati! Akkam venu.” <I want water.>

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When we watch nursery rhyme videos, we usually keep the Pattani involved in some chatter about what the mouse/cat/duck/anna in the rhyme is doing, so we can spin stories from those later on. ¬†Sometimes we do it just to hear him talk and gush over it. Yes, we are yet to reach the “Oh shut up already!” phase. ūüėÄ

Anyhow, there is this rhyme that goes

Little Jack Horner sat in a corner, eating his Christmas pie
He stuck in his thumb, and pulled out a plum, and said what a good boy I am!<Fat moral, but that’s not the point>

Pattani, anna enna ma saapadran ? (What is he eating?)
Cake!
Hmm.. ok. Anna cake lendhu enna eduthaan ? <What did he take out from the cake? >
Appalaam.
Whaaa !
Now read the rhyme again. Dang! A plum indeed!

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The Pattani’s assisted story telling of the lion and the mouse story :
Oru oorla ..
oyyu liyon (a lion)
lion was?
hungee (hungry)
so lion enna pannithu ?
Tacchu mammu chaaaptu, akkam kuchu, thooyi la taachu! <It ate curd rice, drank water and slept in its thooli>
Some quintessential tam-brahm lion this, huh?

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Of the sink, IVR akka and apucha.

Appa decides that the Pattani is old enough to run errands for him. The “kaal-pudichu-vidu” attempt backfired severely when Pattani discovered the great joys of making Appa lie on his tummy, make him a pretend-aanai and do the dhinka-chikkaa-dhinka-chikaa dance on top of him. Or at times, come running thothakaa bothakaa from the next room and crash land directly on the unsuspecting, nose-buried-in-football Appa.

Now, among the hundred odd words that he knows, is “sink”. The kitchen sink. That is where aani(rani-ma, the helper lady) “gooo” pannifies (washes/bathes) the “poon”(spoons). So, Appa slowly taught him by example, how coffee tumblers have to be left at the sink. One evening, he says – “Pattani, Appa ku oru help pannu. Indha tumbler a poi sink la pottudu”. Pattani sincerely picks it up, runs to the sink, and randomly drops it inside with a clang(it is way above his reach). Appa is elated. This is how you involve kids in everything you do, he beams.

And THEN the drama starts. Like everything else, Pattani thinks this is a game. He picks up everything that he can lay his hands on, runs off to the sink and drops it in, just to get startled by the clang! Washed and dried utensils, clothes, books, EVERYTHING land up in the kitchen sink once day or the other. Needless to say, aani is reeling under the paasa-mazhai. The latest list of wierd items fished out of the kitchen sink includes the FIL’s glucose tablets, the MIL’s wallet, the cordless phone, his own pull-along toys and what not!
Appa clearly needs to think through the repurcussions before trying to out-smart the bub !

And justtt, when we think so, he does something that only the innocence of a 1.3 year old can pull off:
Someday when he was toying around with the cordless phone(yes, that is what it has been reduced to), I suppose he pressed the call button after a few random numbers. The IVR voice promptly came up – “Neengal die-yal seidha yeNNai seri paarkavum. Pleeee-s check the number you have die-yalled. I was about to take the phone from him and put it away, when I noticed he was grinning widely. “Enna?” I ask. “Akkkkaaa !” he gushes. Sigh. IVR “akka” indeed. So this boy, who becomes extremely phone-shy when real people ring up and demand to talk to him, has found his phone-buddy. So, now when everytime one of us in the house speak over the phone, as soon as we hang up, we HAVE to dial “akka”‘s number and get her to talk to him. While he grins and gushes and goes – “akkkkaaa”! .
On that note, here are the Pattani’s relationship equations for non-relatives. He identifies his amma, appa, mama, thatha, paati, athai etc :
1. Anybody who is tinier than him = paapa (refers to himself as paapa too).
2. Everybody who is female = Akka¬†(from a 2 year old girl to Kareena Kapoor. Appa tried telling him that Kareena Kapoor is Paati in reality, but the Pattani roundly refused to agree and insists she is “akka”.
3. Kutti boys = Anna.
4. DhaDi maadu-like boys = mama.
5. White-haired men = Thatha
5. White haired women = Paati.
The last two are by far his most favorite category of people. Very sweetly go up to them, put on the cutest expression, pick up a cup, ask them for “apucha”*, make them melt, get a cupful of said apucha, throw it all over the place, and pick it from the floor and chomp away.

*apucha – norukku theeni, in his baashai. My mom goes “un payyan thaane! what else do you expect? ” I cannot disagree ūüėÄ

Pattani Peek – Some Random Snippets

The kkkkhhhh days are long gone. He can now comprehend everything you say(especially if it involves people making plans to go out) and speak quite a bit.

A(anybody in the house): Amma chellam yaaaruuu ?
Pattani : Naaanuu! (in mood-specific tonal variations)
A: Appa oda pattukutti yaaru ?
Pattani : Naaanuu !
A: Kutti pattani Yaaru ?
Pattani : Naaanuu.
Absolute fun. We shamelessly demand his allegiance a million times a day, and the poor baby obliges almost always(except when he is eyeing mamm-mamm).
Someday, Paati asks Pattani : Paati yaaru ma ?
And he promptly replies : Naanu !
We get the message. He only comprehends yaaru. What precedes that is irrelevant. ¬†Answer-inappropriate questions shalt not be asked henceforth. On that note, Mr. Pappu, do you know Pattani’s age? 14 months. Not 43.

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A: A for ?
Pattani: Aapooo (Apple. We taught him that.)
A: B for ?
Pattani : Bow- bow !
We are stunned, wondering how he managed to come up with that !
Very hopefully, we continue .. C for ?
Pat comes the reply – Chuchu !
#facepalm #PottyTrainingWoes

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The most fascinating in-house objects according to him : Tupperware dabbas(The bigger, the better). Stainless steel paathrams. Spoons. Plates. Just-folded and neatly stacked clothes. What he loves doing with the 2 huge baskets of the actual toys :
1. Wait till amma/appa painstakingly fish out every toy from under the sofas and corners of the house and put them back into the baskets.
2. Thothakaa bothakaa nu run to the basket with a great show of enthusiasm to play with the toys.
3. Diligently pull out EVERY single toy and throw it around randomly.
4. Run away to the kitchen to attack the utensils set. Sighs.
Some shots of Pattani in his domestic avtar :

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Err.. kindly excuse the poor quality of pictures. Bad lighting and angles. And these moments don’t last you know ? So yeah, you are not allowed to think ill of the photographer’s skills

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Dabbas can go find themselves some space. I want to sit on the kitchen shelf!

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Most fascinating creatures : Kaa-kaa and bow-bow(Bow-bow? My kid? Really? I wonder all the time!) Everybody, I mean EVERYBODY else can only compete for spot number 3. You can take him anywhere – be it the temple, or teru mona kadai or the beach or a mall. Once he is home, ask him what he saw – the answer is either kaka or bow-bow. The look of extreme excitement and sheer delight on his face when he spots either of them on the street – Paaah! Incomprehensible only. I dread at the thought of the day when he might just throw a big drama to get a pup for a pet and I may have to give in. No, THAT I will not. DOT.

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Me: Pattani, Thatha epdi ma pooja pannuvaa ?
Him: Holding out and shaking his hand, as if to aatify the mani.

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In a totally different context, Pattani running around in high spirits at 11 pm refusing to yield to my superhuman efforts to put him to sleep and a tired,sleepy me, desperate to hit the bed:
Me : Pattani, Yen paduthara? Toongu ma. Amma ku tookama vardhu. Mani enna terima ?
Pattani : Stops suddenly, looks and me and does the mani aatifying action.
I look confused, and burst out laughing.
#HowDoesOneExplainHomonymsToAOneYearOld. Well, on second thoughts, one year olds are way cuter not knowing!

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A shout-out to Umaachi!

This post is an entry by my eleven month old bub, Pattani for the Women’s Web contest – Your reason to pray hosted by Cycle Pure Agarbathies.

*Umaachi : God, in baby talk.

So last night Amma was telling Appa about some contest where you had to write about your reasons for praying to God. Now I thought this must be an easy one for Amma because she is generally a lot into prayers and even makes me say “Umaachi kaapathu”(Protect me, God!) and Govinda Govinda every time we are in the pooja room. She also regularly puts vibhuti on my forehead, so even when I go to malls and try to play it cool, I end up looking like THIS.

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I am personally more interested to pry open that almirah near the pooja shelf, though. Of course it is banned for me, like a hundred other things in the house.¬†Every time I try, somebody or the other comes screaming – He is opening the “frij“(that is what it sounds like), catch him! One day I will beat them to it, I will. I digress. They were talking some boring things about what they wished for, from umaachi. I was about to give up pretending, and actually go off to sleep, when suddenly Amma declared – “Apart from the routine things like good health and well being, my only wish that I desperately want fulfilled is to make that U-RO(Euro) trip and strike that item off my bucket list”. Yes, she did say bucket, though I don’t understand what her wish could possibly have to do with buckets. My only idea of a bucket is THIS.

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 Oh I love this! I badger Amma/Appa at bath time every single day, till they put me in there. How fun!

Anyway since Amma’s list for praying is so meager, I decided that I might as well use up her slots to slip in my own prayer applications to Umaachi. So here goes:

1. Umaachi, I want to grow tall, like immediately. I am sure you recognise and understand the glee one gets by simply pulling down everything that is within reach. The more breakable the object, more the glee. More the damage caused, more the glee. Remote controls, the Ipad, books, utensils, set-top boxes, bottles – I was totally having a go at them till these boring people played spoilsport and started putting EVERYTHING out of my reach. Apparently their reason for this is that I happened to break 2 remote controls.<What I was actually doing was ripping it into parts and exploring the capacitors inside. These people I tell you, they cannot spot a bright mind when they see one>. Thatha suggested that at this rate, we might as well add a remote control to the monthly grocery list. I thought this was sensible, but no one else agreed. So they just put everything at very high places. I can’t reach them now, even on my tiptoes. So please make me tall ok ?

2. If there is one thing I LOVE chewing on, it is paper. But like all good things I love, these people put paper as well out of my reach. Recently Amma got me some very colorful boardbooks. I heard her tell Appa that I would not be able to chew/eat them and it would put some love for books in me. Oh I love them alright, but Amma was way off about the chewing part. Now those books curiously resemble a cheese piece gnawed at by Jerry. I think Amma is slightly discouraged, but please Umaachi, make her get me lots of those books, ok? I love them, and I promise you I’ll read them too, once in a while(with a solemn face).

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3. Make me turn a year old Umaachi, please? I think Amma and appa are very confused about this. At times they say they are startled that I am already eleven months old and that I am growing up tooo fast, and at times they can’t wait for me to grow up. I am, however very clear that I want to turn a year old. Not too sure about the growing up part. This is the thing – these people in the house heap their plates with really delicious looking stuff – adais, crispy papads, sweets and what not! And all I get is a never-ending stream of bland-tasting veggie and fruit purees. I do get some occasional stealth bites of all banned items(mostly from paati and appa; they are all oh-so-yummy) but people are always going on and on about how I can eat all that stuff only after I turn one. One month more. As if it makes so much of a difference. Gah!

4. Lest you think I am all selfish and silly going on and on about my wants, I am going to make one last noble wish- for Amma this time. Looks like she is extremely worried about her hair loss. She keeps complaining to everybody who cares to hear that it has worsened ever since I came. So please stop her hairfall ok? I totally love grabbing her hair and pulling at it, especially when she is blissfully lying down, and every time I do that, she starts off her hair-fall rant. Maybe if you stop her hairfall, she wont mind me so much !

Also, since I am growing up and all that, it is maybe time for me to start doing proper poojas like Thatha does. Will the Lakshmi Pooja Pack help me learn that ? I am sure Amma will put the whole pack to good use, but I am looking forward to Arthi time, when I can happily rattle away the mani(bell). Also, I hear the pack comes with a CD for the full length of the pooja, so I am sure it is going to be interesting !

Ten. Almost..

Taa taa is the biggest obsession. I reckon he dreams of tata even in his sleep. He wakes up in the morning, you pleasantly coo a “Good Morning Pattani” to him, he gives you a wide smile and goes taaa taaa, with those hand movements(you get the picture?). Ditto behavior when both of us get back home after work. Appa and thatha are his standard tata-takers(?!). They only have to change to some decent t-shirt to activate his tata-radars. Irrespective of which corner of the house he is in, he crawls to them in top speed and lies right beneath their feet and looks up with those large, puppy eyes. Of course, the ONLY thing one can do is pick him up, cuddle him and take him out. For all this, one must think we take to to some fancy place each time, but no! His daily visitations extend to no further than the end of the street, but those HAVE TO HAPPEN, rain or shine, at least 5 times a day. Either that, or you can have your head eaten by taaa taaa taaa taa till you give in.(with those hand movements, of course. I admit he makes a damn cute sight when he does that.)

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Veshamam is his middle name. I cannot exactly recall when the tiny helpless tot turned into this tsunami that he is now. From rolling over, he proceeded to commando crawl, then sat up and quickly learnt to grab on the sofa to hoist himself up to stand. All of two feet that he is, the damage that he is capable of is about tenfold. At least five hundred times a day he HAS to:

  • Grab on to anything that he can lay his hands on(least affected by insignificant issues like his hold-object not being strong enough to actually support him) and stand up.
  • Pull down with a flourishing clash anything he can lay his hands on
  • Appear mildly startled if the subject in question breaks into pieces(like a forgotten teacup)
  • Act as if nothing happened exactly one second later and proceed to pull down the next available item.
  • Meanwhile, suddenly forget that he is still needs to hold on to support to remain standing, and flail hands wildly to reach out to some fascinating object beyond reach. Crash land. Look around to see if anybody gives terrified gasps or shrieks. If yes, howl loudly and bask in the pity and consequential cuddles. Else, ignore and stand up again.

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Remember how I said he takes to strangers pretty well? I think I spoke too soon. The size of the world population that is allowed to hold him stands at a grand total of 7. That includes me and K, both sets of grandparents and an uncle of ours(for the reason that he tirelessly takes him out for tata.) Everybody else, you may entertain Pattani from a distance, he will bestow upon you the most beatific of smiles. He will constantly keep checking if he has your attention for all his exploits. If you ignore him, he will draw your attention. You may talk to him all you want. But hold him, you cannot. I do not know why or when he developed such deep stranger anxiety, but it peaked during a recent family function that we attended where he absolutely refused to leave our side and created a massive scene if anybody tried to pry him away. Who am I kidding? Somewhere deep down, I felt like a million bucks. Who knows how long this phase is here to stay, and when it does, who wants to pass up the chance of being the most favored person to earth to Pattani ?

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His favorite toys are not the bagful of innovative stuff that loving friends of ours have bought him on their visits. Not the ones that we so carefully and thoughtfully picked out for him. What he loves playing with are our tupperware lunchboxes and other storage cans, laundry bags, preferably full of dirty clothes and Appa’s cherished xBox games(pull, bang,chew – what else qualifies as play? Huh ?). Oh, I forget paper. Some paper passion he has. A fond mother can only hope this obsession for eating paper will turn into a passion for books some day. Wondering what the connection is? I said fond mother,right? Other sly activities include pulling down the tomato/onion basket down and squashing tomatoes, spotting an extremely invisible grain of rice or urad dhal and stuffing it into his mouth.

Such is life now.

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