Today, I took a bus with the girls and the helper. Arielle was straddled onto me while Anya was minded by the Helper. I boarded the bus first and saw that there were no more empty seats for two side-by-side except for one. So I took one leftover seat behind the two empty seats so that the Helper and Anya can sit right in front of me. Beside me was a young lady in her twenties who was really sweet and shuffled even further into against the wall so that I could squeeze myself, Arielle and a huge tote bag in beside her. Now, for the ease of reading the rest of this post, let's call this stranger Miss. S.
As the bus moved off from our bus stop, Anya turned around to acknowledge me briefly. Then, her eyes rested on Miss. S next to me. For one good minute, my elder daughter, in all seriousness, stared very hard at Miss. S, seemingly sizing her up. I could tell from the movements beside me that Miss. S was squirming uncomfortably under my two-year-old's scrutiny and actually, I could not blame her.
I was making a mental note to tell Anya later on that it is rude to stare at people when she suddenly piped up, "Mommy, is this your friend?".
The Helper and I burst into peals of laughter. In between guffawing, I explained to her that I'm sitting beside this lady not because she is my friend but because I'm simply sharing a seat with her. From the corner of my eyes, could tell that Miss. S who was taking a call at the time, was trying to keep a straight face and not eavesdrop into our conversation while trying equally hard to concentrate on what her caller was saying.
By the time Miss. S ended her short phone call, Anya's attention was already off her and has moved onto pointing out random sight. A couple of minutes later, my daughter started singing. Too loudly. I tried telling her to keep it down but really, this child did not come with a volume control. I gave up, leaning back onto my seat and thought that I heard a stifled giggle coming from next to me but was not sure if Miss. S was really laughing although I could tell that she was looking at Anya.
A quick glance around the other passengers also confirmed my suspicion that we are inviting quite some attention.
Then, at one point, Anya started singing "Twinkle, twinkle, little stars".
Now, this song is special and frequently sang in our little household because this was one of the first favorites among both girls and it was the very first song (other than "Jesus loves me") that Anya could sing.
So back to our bus trip, the moment Anya started singing "Twinkle", Arielle raised both her hands and started to open and close her palms. Then, baby girl proceeded to jiggle her torso forward and backward to her big sister's rendition (quite a feat, considering she is secured snugly in the Baby Bjorn sling in front of me). And when Anya came to the last line "How I wonder what you are", she sang the " are" emphatically, dragging it longer than what was the usual way of singing because, well, that's how we sing it in our household. In response, baby girl did the required action for our version of "Twinkle" - which was to shake her head vehemently as she, too, emphatically sang "AAaaaaRRrRrrr.....!".
Miss. S, by now, has threw away all reservations and was openly gawking to and fro my elder daughter and my younger one. This time, it was unmistakeable that I heard soft laughter coming from her.
I like to say that the free entertainment that my offspring were giving out to our co-travelers stopped here, but no. For the rest of the bus trip (thankfully, only for another five minutes or so), my elder one continued to sing and twirl on her seat while Miss. S watched on with great amusement.
I think this will go down as a memorable bus trip for both Miss. S and I.
In any case, we finally took another family picture tonight and since I did not have any pictures of the whole funny-antics-on-the-bus incident, I shall post our family picture as ending off. :)
P.S. for those who are wondering how we have been: Thanks. We have since recovered fully from the mild but still nasty HFMD. For the past one week, we have going catching up on our social lives with a vengeance, and thus this space continues to be neglected. :P