The child watched her mother expertly mix the baby food in the boiled and cooled water. The baby was already whimpering in impatience in her cradle.
I am coming.. I am coming… the mother said in a sing song voice, hurrying over with the bowl of baby food.
The child skipped along.
The baby gurgled in delight when she saw the mother.
Cootchie cootchie coo, she said to the baby.
Cootchie cootchie coo, trilled the child, imitating her mother.
The mother started feeding the baby spoonfuls of sweet baby food as the older child watched.
The baby relishing the baby food turned to her elder sister and made conversation with tiny cooing noises of her own.
The child felt happy. Baby likes me, she told her mother.
Of course baby likes you, their mother said indulgently. You are her older sister.
You will both be friends and share everything too, the mother added smiling.
The child remembered the time she had snatched her toy off the baby’s hand because the baby had been chewing on it. She had wanted her mother to reprimand the baby. But mother had told her gently, that the baby was too young and as the older one she had to be patient and guide her. The baby would learn by and by. The child had listened with a growing sense of importance, absorbing what her mother had to say.
Will she share her baby-food with me too?? She now blurted in innocence.
The child was too intent watching the baby that she missed seeing the quick knowing smile on her mother’s face that threatened to erupt into good-natured laughter.
Of course she will, as soon as she has her fill, answered the mother equably
The child nodded. She wished the baby would hurry up.
She patted the baby’s tummy to check. It was plump and smooth to her touch.
Amma, I think the baby’s tummy is full, she said in all earnestness.
Hmmm… maybe there is space for a little more. Shall we see?? The mother asked the child, trying not to giggle.
Reluctantly the child agreed and went back to waiting patiently.
The baby sprayed food all over her mother and older sister.
Naughty girl, said the mother in mock anger to the baby. The baby paused to look at her intently making little mewing noises, waving tiny hands and feet.
Naughty girl, said the child to the baby, just like her, making the mother smile.
More food was sprayed. The baby was in a playful mood. The mother tried to coax the baby to have some more. But the baby continued going ffffffrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. She had found something more interesting to do with food than eat it, now that her hunger was satiated.
The child eyed the flying debris of perfectly tasty baby food and was disappointed that it was going to waste.
Amma, baby’s tummy is full, she insisted, trying to convince her mother.
Oh yes, I think she is full, replied her mother, playfully pretending not to notice the inherent request in the statement.
The child stood looking at her expectantly, eyes wide in anticipation.
Here, you can have the rest of the baby food, said the mother, feeling sorry. But you must promise to finish your rice, lentils and veggies later on!
The child’s face lit up.
Yes Amma, I will, she made a quick promise.
She ran out clutching her precious bowl of booty, to savor it, before her mother changed her mind.
The words this week: clutch, delight, happy