1) Spelling:The grandmother takes some time every day to read through one or the other of Prita's books, spelling and sounding out all the English words. Often, this starts with a barked, "You: come!", followed by her making space on the couch for me to come coach her through the longer words and those that make no phonetic sense. Prita generally just hangs out next to us while this is going on, taking a moment to snatch the book out of her grandmothers' hands every so often, and crying--nay, screaming--when she realizes that she doesn't have all the books in the house in her pile. Two-year olds. Sheesh.
As a result of all of this reading-practice, Prita has started spelling things on her own. It goes something like this:
Me: What's this a picture of?
Prita: D-O-E dog!
Me: D-O-G, but yeah! Good job! Now, what's this?
Prita: G-O-E girl!
Me: Girl is right...
Prita: E-O-E ellyphant!!!!!!!!!
Me: . . . .
She gets the first letter right most of the time, although sometimes she only recognizes letters that come later in the words. Like, she always spells fox "X-O-E." She also makes up letters, as in, "SNA-O-E" snake!"
2) The Three-Egg Diet: My very own soon-to-be-patented miracle plan. See, you just go work for a family that eats lots of hard-boiled egg whites, but never the yolks. These folks should also feel a little bad about wasting any food and be very anxious to see that everything gets eaten and that nothing goes to waste. Let it be known that you don't hate the yolks, in general. Before you know it, you will have an eighty-year-old Indian woman practically force-feeding you three plain hard boiled egg yolks every day. And don't you dare try to sneak one into the trash or the garbage disposal; you're being watched too carefully for such high-jinks. While you will often feel like vomiting halfway through the second yolk (don't do it), this diet will do wonders for your skin and hair. If you can manage to have the same eighty-year-old spoon-feeding you the skins off of the top of a pot of boiled milk, all the better.
3) "Healthy. Healthy Food." Speaking of food and controlling Indian grandmothers, the last week, I had my lunch prepared for me. Generally, the grandmother will pull a box of rice and a few leftover curries out of the fridge and leave me to it. Well, leave me to it as she hovers somewhere over my right shoulder, telling me to take more and looking really confused when I don't. This week, however, she plated my food for me. Monday, it wasn't too bad. They were running short on leftovers, so we both got reasonable portions. (Of course, she did "encourage" me to eat two very soft apples as a snack later in the day. Gross.) Tuesday, she made my lunch the same was she normally makes hers: two curries mixed in a bowl, topped with a couple handfuls of chickpeas, fresh diced onions, and a sprinkling of lemon juice. Nothing earth-shattering, but edible. After that was finished, she made up a bowl of yogurt and rice for me. As I was standing in the kitchen finishing that, she walked up to me, put her hand on my shoulder, and said with very careful diction: "This. Healthy. Healthy food. Yogurt. Dal curry. Healthy." Thursday was the worst. We had, apparently, left all concern about healthy food behind, as she completely filled my full-sized dinner plate, half with white rice, half with some spiced rice pilaf-y dish. Mounded. Spilling over the sides. Rice. And then, she gave me more rice so that I would have enough for with my after-lunch yogurt.
4) More Indian TV: Despite my employeress' strictures regarding any TV viewing while her daughter is around, the grandmother continues her soap opera habit. At least naps have been reinstated, so Prita and I can retreat to the bedroom while Granny vegges out. However, her favorite show starts approximately 20 minutes before nap time begins, so I still get to see some of it. And--oh my goodness--it is indescribable. That won't stop me from trying. Imagine a show that seems to be entirely built around 4 characters: (1) the screaming damsel in distress, either standing slump-shouldered and sobbing or laying on the bed or floor, sobbing; (2) the fleshy-cheeked villain whose entire M.O. seems to be to taunt said damsel in the most annoying voice imaginable while bobbing his head smugly; (3) some random crazy-eyed man dressed all in white who is constantly carrying around a bloody knife or machete; and (4) a thicker, tougher, older woman who always seems to be coming to the damsel's rescue, sometimes with the assistance of the crazy man, sometimes without. Now imagine all of this presented in a highly repetitious manner, with exceedingly overwrought background music and quick, zooming camera moves. I really feel like I'm not missing much, not understanding the dialogue. The visuals are story enough.