Saturday, October 6, 2012

What does Lanco do anyway?

A few months ago, we were driving on the highway, headed towards Delhi. Vir was staring out of the window at cars with the same interest and intensity that he has been displaying for the last 5+ years that I've known him. I've never had a day of trouble with him in the car - he is happy to look out of the window quietly all the way from here to Dehradun, which is about 7-8 hours away, spend about 30 minutes in my mom's house and start asking for another drive in the car! And he's completely quiet in the car. Or at least he used to be - things are a little trickier now because when we're all in the car, he has to choose between staring at cars outside and making Tara cry. Its a really tough choice because they're both so . much . fun!

Anyway, on that particular day, all was quiet in the car, when suddenly Vir spoke up.

"Lanco," he said.
"What's that, Vir?"
"Lanco - it's written right there on that building...see?"

Sure enough, a big sign on one of the buildings read "Lanco." Vijay and I just stared at each other. It was like magic. Our little boy was now making meaning out of symbols! Putting together sounds to make words! Reading! By himself! Now, I know everything your first child does for the first time is always a big deal (sorry, Tara), but come on - the ability to read independently is really truly a huge deal. Its way up there with sleeping through the night, going to pee by yourself, and learning to blow your nose independently, which are milestones every parent dreams about in those early years.

I don't even know how and when it happened...somewhere along the way all the reading of bed time stories and all the stuff they do at school came together to produce that one word - Lanco! The magic of the word lies, of course, in the fact that my son can read it and not in the quality of the product or service that company provides.

We've come a long way since that one word. He's making his way through book after book these days. I couldn't be happier. Of course, it doesn't stop at books. He's reading road signs, newspaper ads, stuff online when he's sitting with me, and TV subtitles. Those are the scariest...especially because I love watching "How I Met Your Mother" and he still finds three letter words the easiest to read.

The only problem? English doesn't always follow logic and I can see he's not happy about that. Every time I correct his pronunciation of a word that defies its spelling, he pauses for a minute, tries to work out why he was wrong, shakes his little head, and moves on a tad philosophically. Maybe he thinks there's hidden wisdom regarding this that will come to him as he becomes a grown up. He came up to me recently with a frown and said, "Mamma....yeh C jo hai na? mujhe bilkul samajh nahin aata - sometimes it sounds like s and sometimes like k. What can I do?"

Hmm...what can we do? Just shrug and keep going, Vir. It's a bit of a wonky language, but there's a tonne of magic hidden in there - you'll see!

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