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The joy of naughty kids
Kourosh and Siavash at 10 months

Siamack Salari
August 6, 2004

It was V's mum who cornered me as I was playing with my twin boys.

'What goes pedar sag mean?' she smiled.

I looked around the room for help. None came. V, my wife, who knew the meaning, rolled her eyes at me.

'It means your father is as dog,' I explained after a long and pregnant pause.

Her smile, in turn, wiped itself from her face as if someone had slapped her.

V immediately tried to rescue the situation.

'You mustn't translate it literally, mum.'

But V's mum already had and her expression remained transfixed to the floor.

There have been many cross cultural (V is Punjabi Sikh) shocks since our gorgeous twin boys entered the world just over 10 months ago. Since that exchange I have translated favourite daddy-to-twins expressions including:

-- boz ghaaleh - kid goat
-- gooz beh rish - fart on beard
-- lontor - not sure about the meaning but could mean ruffian
-- mooshi moosh moosh - little mouse
-- nee nee moochooloo - little baby said in a baby language
-- doodool talaa - golden willy
-- choochooloo moochooloo - tiny willy

'Choochoooloo mochooloo' was the source of another shock. I sing 'choochooloo coochooloo' and 'moochool choochooloo' when changing their nappies and in response to their miniature willies which look so cute (and uncircumcised because my mum and V vetoed the idea).

After V's mum heard me singing it she too began to sing it to them. Before long half of the unknowing Indian community were singing it to them at gatherings. Bottom line is they are my monkeys and I can call them anything I like. Soon they will no longer be monkeys, they will be toddlers and my goodness it is shocking how fast time has flown by since they were born ten months ago.

Being fraternal (not identical) twins means they look completely different down to their skin colour. Then we have their two completely different personalities. Kourosh, who was born a few minutes after Siavash, is a real 'vahshi'! He will scream if the time interval between mouthfuls of lunch is delayed slightly. He demands full concentration so that he always have something to chew when being fed. On first witnessing this behaviour, our German friend, Pitt, decided that he was in fact a werewolf >>> See photos

Another one of Kourosh's traits is to scream for no reason while making a very aggressive face with eye balls looking like they will pop out of his head. When his scream ends because he runs out of breath I usually grab his face and plant a firm kiss on which ever cheek I can pull over to me. I then call him a 'pedar sag' and say 'Jeegh nazan!'. He will then scream again in protest.

A recent habit which I need to do something about is as follows. Imagine you are holding Kourosh upright in your arms. You are both at eye level with each other. In an instant your world becomes blurred. Everything is inexplicably blurred and before you can think why you hear a metallic noise on the floor a few feet from you.

This is what happens when Kourosh decides to snatch my spectacles and see how far he can throw them. His reactions are too fast for me to anticipate although I have begun to detect a particular look in his eyes before he lunges at me. Siavash, on the other hand is our angel. He is calm, thoughtful, gentle and affectionate - until, that is, he is playing with his brother.

Siavash then becomes a loud, aggressive and inconsiderate chimp. He will steam through groups of babies and steal their toys/rattles. He will shout loudly - our nanny swears she can hear them from the house as she walks up the road every morning. He also take great offence if either V or I say 'no' to him. He is our sensitive baby in contrast to Kourosh and he will simply laugh off a command such as 'no' and carry on like 'goor-e khar-e abdulla khaan'.

When they first began to stand on their feet and move around V and I set about baby proofing the house. Picture frames, CD's, magazines and plants to mention a few every day items were all moved upstairs and out of reach. However they still managed to stand in front of our HiFi and turn the volume control to maximum.

V thought our two 100 watt speakers were going to blow her eardrums... and she was in the kitchen. The boys were standing next to the speakers. They were truly in shock by the time V reached the volume control. The look of stunned silence on their faces had V running after them for a few days after making noises to see if their hearing had been affected. We believe not.

Another behaviour typical of my SiaSia is the way he will gently stroke your eye lashes while you sleep. If you don't move his little hands away he will then try to peel your eyelids off - gently. All the while sucking on the two middle fingers of his free hand.

When our very good German friends (virtually family now) invited us to a villa in the old East German village of Dierhagen on the Baltic coast we spent a long time looking into flights. After much debate we decided the best way would not be to fly but to drive. This meant getting a car large enough to carry all that we needed. V gave me a budget - not quite big enough to get a Mercedes estate 320 CDI which I really wanted - but one which allowed us to buy a Saab 9-5 estate with every possible option you can imagine.

This car took V, Myself and the chimps in relative comfort through France, Brussels, The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and back to the UK through Brussels. The trip took a month including our 2 weeks in Germany. In total we covered 2,200 miles which by our standards was a very long way indeed. And all the while, the boys, entertained by their mummy in the back seat, behaved amazingly well.

During our month away, for reasons we are not sure of, the boys developed by leaps and bounds. They began for the first time to play together. They started to scream and laugh when V or I pretended to chase them. They would squeal with delight when ever we would cover their faces with a sheet or curtain and then suddenly pull it away. None of these things had happened before.

Perhaps the most astonishing development was the way they suddenly rejected baby food. The point of rejection was rather dramatic - Siavash pushed his bowl away and the following day Kourosh did the same. Suddenly they were eating toast, eggs, ham, cheeses and tomatoes - for breakfast.

Our routine in Germany was to try and eat together with the boys. We wouldn't put them in their chairs, instead they would sit under the table (they love crawling into tight spaces such as coffee tables or between sofas) while I passed pieces of buttered toast to Siavash. He tested all his food by first bringing it to his lips and blowing a very dribbly raspberry over it with his tongue touching the bread.

After a few blows and once the bread had been completely soaked he would throw it to the floor without taking a bite. Kourosh, sitting opposite him under the table, would proceed to use the soggy bread to wipe the floor between their legs. Once the piece of bread had enough dirt and hair stuck to it, he would cheerfully munch away. And so the bread eating production line would continue until Siavash too would eat some bread and they would both become full.

Their new behaviour and awareness inspired me to try new things on them. Wouldn't it be nice, I thought, if they could each have some kind of a comfort toy. Many babies and toddlers have comfort toys they take around with them but ours had nothing. V helped me choose two cute little teddy bears which were the perfect size for them to hold and to cuddle.

But our scheme went pear shaped the following day. I found them both with tufts of teddy fur around their mouths. With six milk teeth between them, they had succeeded in behaving like lion cubs around a fresh kill. Both teddies were removed and placed under protective custody.

We are back at home now and as I write this very line V has called to say that the little blisters we saw all over SiaSia's body this morning are, in fact, Chicken Pox. Which reminds me, not a week goes by without one of gorgeous twins doing himself a mischief and ending up at the clinic. Such is life with the naughty twins. And how joyful it is >>> See photos

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By Siamack Salari


Book of the day

Three volume box set of the Persian Book of Kings
Translated by Dick Davis

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