I am singing 'Edelweiss' to Ri; trying to get him to sleep.
Ri: Eta bhalo gaan noy. Onno gaan gao. (This is not a nice song, sing another one.)
Mama: Umm… Lakdi ki kaathi?
Mama: Tahale konta? (Then, which one?)
Ri: Ota. (That one)
Mama: Konta? (Which?)
Ri: 'Challenge nibi na sala'.
Ri and I are drawing
Ri: Mama aeroplane banao. (Mama, draw an airplane)
I draw something that looks nothing like an airplane. It looks more like a dolphin with wings. I show it to him
Mama: Dekho. Is it okay?
So now, I draw a stick figure boy on top of the airplane; just a stick figure without the eyes and mouth on the face. I show it to Ri.
Mama: Theek achche? (Is this okay?)
Ri looks at it for a moment.
Ri: Dnunka kothay? (Where is the penis?)
(Ri calls his penis dnunka. Don't ask why. The 'D' in dnunka is silent.)
Ri, of late has started revolting to anything we say (The expected 'terrible twos'). So his grandmother, whom he calls Thammi, started telling him stories that have a moral.
Thammi: Ekta raja chilo; ekto rani chilo; oder ekta choto chele chilo. (There was a king; there was a queen and they had a little son.)
Thammi: Chele theek kore kheto na; sabai ke maarto; school jeto na. (The boy wouldn’t eat properly; he would hit everyone; he would refuse to go to school.)
Thammi: Ar tar pore…. (And then one day….)
The ending of the stories would differ everyday, but would always end in a moral that boys should not be fussy and good things happen to boys who listen.
Not that it was bringing any difference in Ri's behaviour.
One night while in bed as I was about to tell Ri a bedtime story, he came up with a different thought.
Ri: Mama, ami ekta golpo shonabo. (Mama, let me tell you a story)
Ri: Ekta raja chilo; ekta rani chilo; oder ekta chele chilo. (There was a king; there was a queen and they had a little son.)
Mama: achcha, then? (Now, it seems like Ri has started relating to the stories. I am glad. I smile)
Ri: Chele khub badmaish chilo. Kotha shunto na (The boy was a naughty one and wouldn’t listen to anyone)
Mama: Tai, tarpore ki holo? (Is it? What happened next?) (I am excited; all those stories by Thammi are finally working)
Ri: Mama, ota rajar chele chilo, ota Ri chilo na... Ri kalke school jaabe na. (Mama, the boy was the king’s son. That wasn’t Ri... Ri will not go to school tomorrow.)
Ps: I did sing 'challenge nibi na sala'.I did draw the penis.
We stopped telling him the ‘Raja Rani’ stories.