At the tender age of 16 months, one little girl’s world was rocked. Everything was hunky dory in her world one day, and the next day, the world was definitely greener. And we’re not talking about more trees here.
It all started when two giants and two normal people turned up at home one day with Daddy. She had never seen them before. They were kind of interesting. They had some big boxes with them. Everyone seemed kind of excited but that was lost on this little girl. She hid behind her Mama for a while but she soon lost her shyness and ventured to find out a bit more about the two normal people.
One of them was a little taller than her. She could not understand that this was a boy. And the other was a lot tinier than her, with big eyes. And a ready smile which immediately captivated her Mama and Ba (for the uninitiated, Ba is her nanny). This was ‘The Baby’. She ventured a conversation with The Baby and was immediately rewarded with some excited shouts which she found fascinating. She laughed in delight at The Baby, all the while unaware that the world as she knew it had changed. She was unhappy when Mama dragged her to bed. She kept wanting to know where The Baby was. She dosed off dreaming about The Baby. And woke up to a different kind of morning.
The little girl was the first one up the next morning. Ba went through the morning ritual with her, all the while explaining the importance of being quiet so that The Baby wouldn’t wake up. When Mama managed to pull her eyes open, she was wisely advised ‘Shhhh, Baby’. Mama was clearly meant to understand that she had to be quiet or else The Baby would wake up. In the meantime, dark clouds were gathering on the horizon.
The Baby woke up but her Mama was still asleep. So, Ba went and picked her up and brought her out to play. This was great because the little girl wanted to play with The Baby. The morning progressed smoothly. Mama had the day off and so it was a special day. The other normal person also woke up and soon it became apparent to the little girl that The Boy was equally interesting. As he came up with crazy ideas, she realized she could have fun playing with him as well.
Except her attention kept getting distracted by what The Baby was up to. The Baby seemed be fascinated with the little girl’s things. And with things belonging to people who the little girl considered her own private property, like Mama and Ba. This was not right. What right did The Baby have to play with the deflated balloon? Full of righteous indignation she walked across to The Baby and admonished strongly, “Nooooooooooo”, and snatched the balloon away. Next The Baby went for the toy train. “No Touch”, screamed the little girl and took away the train. The Baby was bewildered. Why were these tempting things being snatched from her?
The Baby was not one to dwell over the past or such rude displays of temper. She merrily went about picking up toys and chewing on them enthusiastically, only to face the righteous indignation of the little girl. Mama and Ba kept telling the little girl to share with The Baby and told her not to be rude, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. Stronger action by either person was rewarded with big tantrums. Things came to the crunch when The Baby decided to chew on Ba’s slippers. This was the height of injustice. Ba’s slippers symbolized going down to the park. They were a symbol of freedom, playtime and going out. Taken beyond anger, she marched up to The Baby and snatched it away from her and looked at her angrily and mouthed incomprehensible words. The Baby’s face crumpled. And Mama scolded the little girl.
The little girl couldn’t get it. Why was everyone shouting at her when it was The Baby who deserved a licking? She liked The Baby. She really did. But she didn’t think it was very nice of The Baby to touch her toys. It’s not that she didn’t want to share; it was just that when The Baby started playing with any of her toys, she had an indescribably strong urge to play with it herself. She still liked hearing The Baby laugh. As long as she wasn’t being held by grandma. Most times she was even OK with Ba taking care of The Baby. But there were enough times when she was not OK with it. Life was so unfair. She expressed her frustration and anger and jealousy by whining, throwing tantrums and clinging to Mama. The world was definitely greener.
The verdict was out. The little girl was jealous. She was cheerfully and loudly declared as ‘High Maintenance’ by Mama and not so loudly by other more polite giants. Let’s pray that God gives Mama some extra reserves of patience and humour to deal with the little girl because The Baby is here for a week and the little girl has just got to deal with that.