Specially when she demonstrates how to sit, you know, just in case I didn’t understand what she demanded out of me. On the floor behind the couch with our legs spread out; in front of the huge windows through which you can see the neighbourhood park playing peekaboo among lush green treetops. Having made sure I am sitting she runs around the couch muttering “Kot… Kot… Kot…” which is my cue to keep asking “Tanvi kot? Tanvi kot?” (Where’s Tanvi?) She then shows her face from the edge of the couch at which point I exclaim “Eiya!” (Here she is!) and she runs to me and hugs me. I ask her for a kiss and she comes closer as if she is going to kiss me, only to turn away at the last moment which is when I am to say “Please?” and only then do I get the kiss. She then pulls my face to reach the other cheek and gives me a quick kiss there. Off she runs again around the couch saying “Kot…”
We played this “game” for half an hour. I tried getting up three times and each time she’d push me and say “Sit!” So sit I did. It was one of the rare Singapore afternoons that wasn’t stifling hot, the breeze was refreshing and the view from my windows was quite pleasant. I didn’t have much to do anyway, so I gladly obliged.
But then again, she does run a pretty tight ship around here. I know the exact moment I realised that my 17 month old *has* become the boss of me. Well, more prominently, and not in implication. It was during one of those stifling hot afternoons, when I thought I could sneak in a few moments of rest lying on the bed in her playroom while she entertained herself with her toys. She looked up at me, gave a long scream and said “Utha!” (Get up!) I apologetically surrendered the comfort of the bed and obediently sat down next to her. She gave an approving nod and handed me a spoon with a huff, saying “Omelet” which I translated to “This is what you are to do when you are with me, Mamma; play pretend cooking and not slack off and lie on the bed”
Of course the reign of her Highness doesn’t end with her asking me to sit when she demands and get up when she wants me to. She’s also very good at shoving food in my mouth going “Khuwa!” (Eat!) sometimes adding a “Please?” for effect. She doesn’t want anyone else touching her Mamma so will scream until the other person lets go of me. She’ll sit on my tummy every morning and say “Up! Up!” and tug at my tee until I give up and get up. She’ll keep yelling “Spoon! Spoon!” when I try to feed her, refusing to open her mouth until I give her a spoon to fiddle with. Showers are a struggle in itself, with her wanting to do everything by herself, always punctuating requests with “Please?” and then saying “Done done! Finish! Hoi gol!” to let me know she’s had enough of the shower. I can’t open the fridge without her squeezing herself past my legs and yelling “Strawberry! Blueberry! Um um um” until I relent and give her one. And well, if I think I can restrain her in the baby carrier when we are out and about, apparently, I’ve got another think coming. She’ll keep pulling away saying “Walk, walk?” until I let her go, or distract her with birds. When shopping, she insists on pushing the trolley, gently (and sometimes not so gently) removing my hand from the handle so she’s the only one controlling it. And let’s not even go to the subject of phones. Nowadays when my husband and I talk about it, we refer to it as the mobile, never daring to say the phone word.
Tanvi the tyrant. That’s what she is. But then again, she kinda rules over my heart. Specially when she invents a game where all she does is run to her crib turned day bed, sit on it and say “Hi” and then run to me to give me a long hug and run back to the crib. Or when she’d suddenly get up from playing with a toy, run to me and say “Sleepy… Sleepy!” and hold me so I can pick her up and put her to sleep. Or when she’d come to me with a book in her hand and sit on my lap waiting for me to read it to her. She particularly melts me when she comes up from behind me when I am sitting, puts her head on my back and holds me as tight as she can. Each time she clings on to me and lets me know I am the one person she needs for everything, I kinda feel complete.
Who knew I would so happily be enslaved by my little girl?