“Akka, can you play blocks with me?” Laddu looks at Pattu with pleading eyes. Her Akka looks condescendingly at the magnetic blocks strewn at Laddu’s feet and walks away not deigning to respond.
“Akka, open your mouth, I will feed you the gummy vitamins,” Laddu is on tiptoe trying to reach Ammu’s mouth. Ammu’s lips are pursed even as she resolutely waits for Laddu to hand over her share of the vitamins.
Laddu’s plaintive cries make me want to storm to the scene of the altercation. It makes me want to force the Akka(s) to play nicely with their thangai. It takes all of my willpower not to respond.
Most evenings, our home resounds with the sounds of laughter as the girls chase each other. Most days, they play well, sharing toys, teasing each other and being sisterly.
Some days like it has been happening in the past couple of weeks I see episodes of mean girls in my home. The older two lock Laddu out of their play, their rooms, and their presence. They shove, ignore and treat her like she is a nuisance (she probably is).
I remember my little sister following me around. I do not remember how I reacted.
I sit with Pattu on the sofa asking her why she is being mean. I get silence. I change tacks and ask her if she loves Laddu. She replies saying she loves Ammu. I shrug and say what I have to say. I tell her that her little sister wants to emulate her. Laddu wants to be everything Ammu and Pattu are. As much as it seems like she is a bother right now, there will be a time when they will learn to look at that adulation differently. At least I hope so. It is more of a monologue and I walk away after a while. My attempt at a dialogue with Ammu does not go well either.
I am not sure how I should handle this. Mostly I end up playing with the little one. More often than not, Laddu is pushing me away, making a beeline for her sisters.
When Laddu was born, her sisters were over the moon. I watched eagle-eyed for any signs of jealousy only to be reassured by how nurturing the two of them were. Three years hence, I wonder what changed.
Any words of advice highly appreciated.