Chotto-ma, you’re four years old. We know, that’s onetwothreefour fingers of your hand. On your birthday, you woke up a little disappointed that you were the same size as the night before. But like you like to say, “Never mind”.
You look like me, you sit like Ba. And you’re nice. A really nice person. Like Ba. That’s what I love most about you.
You’re very independent, always have been. You dress yourself, tidy up your bed when you wake up, you like your own company. Of course, there’s independence, and then there are cuddles. Thankfully, you like lots of both. Only we don’t call it cuddles, we call it chotku.
The one thing that you do more of than anything else is draw. You draw, all the time. You record everything you see, everything you think. And I’m running out of paper.
This was your birthday dress this year, gifted by Mamma and Dada, chosen by you. My usual anti-pretty stance didn’t stand a chance.
This was your cake, because you have itchy feet. Just like us.
This was your card from Ba and me, because you like to see everything upsidedown. Who’d have thought a card company would know that?
‘My pencil’s become a bird’. That’s what you said today when you needed a sharpener.
This is your room now. You sleep under the stars.
This is the book on your bedside table now.
This is your handwriting. You love to write. Head bent low. Careful concentration.
The other day, you remembered something that made you sad, and large teardrops rolled down your eyes. You came and sat down on my lap for a more comfortable cry. Then suddenly, you looked up and said, “Look Ma, my tears watered your shirt and made flowers grow”. This is what I was wearing.
You love school. And this is how you usually get there every morning. The only child in the city with an Indian Perch.
You can hardly wait for it to be December, because that’s when you’re going to go to Kolkata. Your itinerary is uncomplicated – See Mamma Dada. Eat shondesh.
You’re very clear about things that are ‘real’, and things that are ‘pretend’. Magic is pretend. Rainbows are real. Unicorns are pretend, horses are real. “Ghosts and monsters are pretend”, we often hear you tell your friends. You’ve already asked us if Jesus Christ’s real or pretend – that talk took a while. I’m worried for Santa this year.
These are your shoes. Feet size 7.
Our favourite part of the day with you is when we wake up in the morning. We know you’re already awake, and waiting in your room. You’re always up first. Sometimes you sing us a ‘lullaby’ softly from your room. Sometimes you talk in whispers with Teddy. You always wait for us to call you. As soon as we do, you call out “Ashchhi Ma, ashchhi Ba!“, (Coming Ma, coming Ba!). You pitter-patter in with a big smile and slip in between us. The perfect sandwich under the duvet. And the filling’s the best bit.
We love you even more at four.