The week before my niece Nina’s birthday, I wanted to arouse interest in her gift and kept bringing up nursery rhymes during our conversations (read: playful banter which mostly involved Nina rolling on the floor giggling). Well, let me start at the beginning. This is what I bought for her.
During my visit, I asked Nina, “What is your favourite nursery rhyme?” She shrugged , ignored and went back to her “kitchen” and stirring her “pot” which to my eyes, it seemed very much like she was clasping air and rotating her wrist but Nina assured me she had a ladle in one hand and was holding her pot with the other. I figured Nina inherited another hidden super-power gene (from me , of course) and let it go. After half an hour, I got bored of kneading flour… or literally, beating the floor with my knuckles repeatedly, pretending I had a mixing bowl and I tried talking to her again. I almost cooed, “Do you like to read nursery rhymes?” Nina shrugged again, “Why aren’t you kneading the FLOUR? We need to make FOOD”. She was right- nursery rhymes aren’t supposed to be brought up when we have important pressing matters like unseen food to be brought to the table.
After ‘lunch’ I persisted and started to sing the rhyme. This , I thought , would definitely capture her attention . I started to tickle Nina while singing along Incy Wincy Spider. And I went like, “Incy Wincy Spider climbed the fire spout”.
It was that instant that everything stopped. My fingers stopped tickling her and Nina stopped laughing. For once she did NOT shrug and looked at me, “Fire spout?” .My face scrunched not unlike Moose from the Archies comics, I said “Yeah, what is a fire spout anyway? Stupid rhyme!” “It’s WATER spout”, said Nina.
This , my friends, is how you test whether a five year old is realllly listening . What with the constant shrugs they keep giving you, you probably wonder at times if you are speaking the same language. Just say it wrong! Or something they don’t expect. They’ll be glad to inform you what it really is.
Anyway, I then resumed my song; my fingers resumed their tickling “Incy Wincy Spider climbed the water spout Down came the rain and washed the spider out”
At this point I halted again and this time not only Nina but EVERYONE who was around turned up to look at me and that is when I realized that I had NO memory of what happened to Incy after that.
Now I couldn’t stop and lose face in front of a five year old so I continued nevertheless. “So Incy Wincy Spider was washed to the ground And that’s the story of how Incy Wincy drowned”.
The stares that were coming from everyone became more pronounced. I’m not sure if it was because they thought the rhyme was ‘wrong’ or because they didn’t think a rhyme should contain death-like, violent stories of how someone (even if the someone is an annoying bug) drowned.
Nina however was smirking. I quite think she liked it! I believe she will be disappointed to know when I give her, her present that the correct version after all IS how the silly spider climbs the water spout again. Or maybe she will be so excited about the pop up book and how the sun keeps coming in and out as we open and close the book that she wont have time to dwell on Aunt Aisha’s mistake.
Oh well, as long as she’s happy 😀 My next post is about how I wrapped her present. Stay tuned