The warning signs would have been obvious to any normal parent. I was absent mindedly scanning our kitchen while cooking. I could see some bread crumbs near the toaster which needed clearing up. The kettle needed to be descaled. I could see annoying stiletto heel marks on our new oak floors — I’d just have to get used to them.
I could see a two-year old walking around the kitchen with a permanent black marker in his hand. I could see the picture on wall was slightly crooked but there was no one to straighten it while I watched to make sure it had been squared. Roughly 2 minutes after seeing Kourosh with the magic marker, a few warning lights went off in my head. This, I should have known, was a nightmare waiting to happen. Instead, I turned back to the marrow fritters I was cooking and carefully turned them over one by one.
What happened next took my breath away. Kourosh, marker in hand, was making large squiggles on our new oak kitchen floor. Siavash, his twin brother was watching him thoughtfully.
“Naaaaaaa!” I bellowed.
They both took a step back. K was still holding the marker in his fist.
“Give it to daddy Baba jan.” I pleaded
“Please?” I took a step towards him.
As I did they both turned and ran out of the kitchen. I gave chase and in three strides had gripped the guilty monkey by the same arm holding the pen.
“Let it go Baba Jan!”
“Noooooooooooo!” He was screaming and laughing.
As I struggled to free the marker from his grip he did something amazing. He passed it to his brother who grabbed it and ran back into the kitchen, again, screaming and laughing.
For the first time in their short lives, they had demonstrated their ability to organise themselves and outsmart me. I simply hadn’t expected this behaviour and it made me wonder what they would be capable of doing next.
At 23 months, Siavash and Kourosh are as mischievous as two spider monkeys. When in Portugal a few weeks ago, Varinder (my wife) kept warning me.
“Siamack please stay close to them…”
“Why? I’ll wait for them to get past that point and then I’ll get up and bring them back.”
“But by then you’ll have to run. I don’t want to see you run. In fact, I don’t think any one on this beach wants to see you being out run by a couple of two-year olds.”
She had a point. What if they did out ran me and my 120kg bulk?
So we took it turns keeping close to them. Not quite knowing what they would get up to next.
Despite the relentless monitoring, Portugal was wonderful and the natives friendly. Even when I found the boys taking single bites and discarding various fruit from the grocery section of the supermarket, other shoppers smiled.
We had a wonderful time and now, two months later, it feels like two years ago.
How time flies when you have kids.
Siamack Salari is CEO of Everyday Lives, recording human behavior for commercial marketing.