The Thirty-Fourth Chart (Spurts)

March 30, 2012

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last couple of weeks, readers!

One day I went to Three’s room to wake her up before school, and I found her sleeping in the baby pose.  Veteran parents, you know the one I’m talking about.  It’s when the baby has both arms above the head next to the ears, as if s/he had decided to jump for joy and fell asleep mid-jump.  It is, by far, one of my most favorite baby poses.

But I hadn’t walked into our bedroom and found myself standing at the foot of the crib.  I had walked into a separate bedroom and saw my three-year-old lying in her own bed.  And I suddenly felt time split for a second as I found myself transported back to when Three slept like that every day.  In the next second I went even further back as I thought about Five.  Even though they’re both relatively young, it takes me a couple of eye blinks before I can recall clearly how each of them looked in their various baby poses.

My babies are growing up.

***

Each Friday and Saturday the girls get their own slumber party.  They’re allowed to sleep in the same bed and spend a long time well past bedtime giggling and talking.  Eventually the high-pitched voices just stop, and either my husband or I will walk into the room they’ve chosen for the night, straighten out the blanket, and smile in amusement at their poses.  Clearly, we can tell, they have fallen asleep mid-chatter.

The girls really look forward to their weekly slumber party, often whining on Sunday night when we tell them they have to return to their respective rooms and sleep apart.  In addition to other things the girls do together, the slumber party certainly ranks high on the highlight list.  Three especially looks forward to them (although, ironically, she comes to our room about a third of the time when she’s had her fill of girl talk and asks to sleep in her own bed.)

On Tuesday my husband had to go out in the evening for work, so my father-in-law handled the bedtime routine on his own.  I stood at the kitchen sink washing the dinner dishes when I heard the small pounds of light feet coming down the stairs.  Turning around, I saw Three in her Minnie Mouse nightgown.  She stood with feet apart, planting both hands on her hips.

“Dadu and Di-Di are wrong,” she declared firmly.  “They say it’s Tuesday, but it’s Friday today.”

I knew the source of her indignation probably came from a discussion she might have had with her grandfather and older sister about whether the girls could sleep together.

“No, today is Tuesday,” I replied calmly.  “It’s not Friday.”

She turned on her heel and went back upstairs without another word, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  We had, for this time at least, averted disaster.

***

This week Five had to undergo standardized testing, her first time doing so and our first time as parents watching her.

On Monday my husband got to spend a little bit of time with the girls before they left for school.  Five mentioned the testing, and my husband asked her a little bit about it.  Because my husband went to school in India where the education system is different, every educational milestone with the kids is a new one and induces many questions from him.

Five explained how she and her classmates had undergone a practice test last week, and she talked about the process of filling in those multitudes of bubbles.

“It’s kind of boring,” she concluded, miming holding a pencil.  “All you do is fill in bubbles.”

I smiled broadly because I always felt the same way when I had to do the standardized testing myself.  As a child I used to dread testing week because I could feel the boredom stretch long and deep into those five days, even before the testing began.

In moments like these, finding my own thoughts and feelings reflected back at me can be quite entertaining.

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