At the dinner table.
Smaller conversations between silences as each of us dig into mamidikaya pappu (Mango daal) and rice with a raw plantain fry. Munchkin’s sitting across me and is pushing her rice all around the bowl. I tell her twice to hurry up, or we’d all be done and she’d still be sitting and mostly, alone.
She makes a huge drama out of eating quick, but the morsels are going nowhere.
Husband, daughter and I are talking about a school event, when suddenly we hear munchkin in a very serious tone and oblivious to all around her, is looking intently at her bowl and talking thus:
“You. You just sit here. In the corner. On the top here” She digs up a fairly large mango piece and places it firmly on the rim. She then pushes her pudgy fingers into the rice and exclaims
“Oh no, you again? You come here. You the baby. Go sit with your mommy. Right here. Yes. next to her, and don’t move!”
Her eyes rolled and her face determined, she continues to pull out every imaginable small mashed piece of mango that her fingers can feel and places them next to the grand thick slice.
Along with the pieces, a fair amount of rice has found its way to the rim.
Feeling accomplished, she now looks at me with glee and says “Look Mommy, this is a family of mukkas.” (mukka = pieces in telugu) Then making her eyes go rounder, she smiles impishly and challenges me “Want to race? I can beat ya?!”