Thursday, 7 May 2009

Maya the Observer

When I told Maya that she wasn't going to nursery for a while, she seemed quite happy about this new state of affairs. But when I told her that Deepa would be looking after her for a little while in the mornings because 'Mummy is working', she cast me a highly suspicious look.

'Working?' she asked incredulously.

'Yes, Maya. Working.'

She didn't seem convinced. 'What's your doing?'

Good question Maya, one that I regularly ask myself. I didn't think there was much point explaining to her that her daddy has demanded that one day I 'keep him' so he can be an artist, and in order to be able to do that I write a best-selling novel....(I've told Andy in the past that the average salary for a successful, published writer is circa £14,500 but I don't think he believes me, so we keep up the charade that one day I shall be rich, just for the fun of it!).

Anyway, the little lady has now had a few mornings at home with Lily and Deepa and whilst I tappety-tap away on the laptop I can hear a few things going on next door. She's playing lots with Lily now, which is great. She's also incredibly bossy - 'Lily, stop it!', 'Lily, give me that', 'No, Lily!' ,'Lily, stop your doing that, now!' These are some of the common refrains - poor Lily! But Maya's sister is a feisty little lady in her own right and I have no doubt she'll be able to hold her own.

Lily is very much Maya's 'baby'. She calls her 'my baby' the whole time and on the few occasions I've gently suggested Lily is her sister and I am her mummy, she juts out her lower lip and hurrumphs. This belief was taken pretty far at one stage: when Lily was just a small baby, a few months old, I found Maya sitting on our bed with her t-shirt hitched up and Lily stretched out on her lap. It took a few moments for me to realise that Maya was actually trying to feed her - classic!

But I suppose it's not that strange when I think that children watch their parents the entire time and copy them, both in words and deeds. And Maya is most definitely an observer. It's so interesting to see this trait develop in her. She often likes to be quiet and she watches and watches with such an intensity that you can almost see the cogs turning in her head. This makes it all the more interesting to wonder how she is really filtering certain experiences here in Bangalore. For example, when we stop at traffic lights and a beggar comes up to us carrying a tiny baby, gesturing towards their mouths that they are hungry. Or when we walk past a tiny shack with a large family living in it. I tell her that this is their home, then think little more about it. But Maya stares and stares. She really sees and experiences something at times like these. Now that I'm writing this down, I'm thinking that I should use these times as opportunities to explain to her, in a gentle way of course because she's only little, about how people live so differently.And I have no doubt that when she becomes more articulate, such occasions will resurface for discussion.


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