“Amma, they don’t know sowkyama, nanna irruken…”
“What is the word for kaaram?”
Laddu is in the backseat trying to convince me that her friends at school do not know Tamil. We have a conversation each morning on the way to her school. Some days she muses on the speed of my driving. Other days it is about the absence of geese in the pond. On particularly eloquent days, she notes that she and I share our skin color and hair color but not her sisters.
This week Laddu turns four. She spells every word she sees. Her fingers trace the lettering on my graphic tees each afternoon before we nap. She counts all the way to 29 and then says 20-10 and waits for me to correct her. The squiggles from six months back have given way to proper circles and lines. She makes stick figures and calls them by name. She can entertain herself for hours with a few spoons, a tumbler, and a masher. She loves to “cook” for me. She goes from dosai to soup and wraps it all with noodles and sevai.
She sits on the potty and urges me to read to her. For a child who had me despairing that she would ever be out of diapers, she decided one day that she was done with it and that was that. She has a best friend at school and when she tired of asking me for play dates, took matters into her little hands. She asked for and got the phone number from her friend’s mother.
Her vocabulary is impressive. She points to something made of glass and says “Amma, careful! it is fragile” I record her monologues and hear them late at night marveling at this child who sprung from me.
She is headstrong. She is adamant. She throws royal tantrums. She is spunky. She is my wild child. She adores her sisters. She puts up a mean fight when needed. She screams. She hugs. She waits at the door when they come back from school.
She is my doe-eyed beauty. She is my dusky princess. She is love personified. She is my sunshine. She is the sound of anklets. She is the smell of sandal. She is the reflection of my soul.
Happy birthday to my little darling!