“All right, I am telling you now: take all the toys with you that you need. I am going to take a long relaxing bath. Do you hear me? Take all the toys you need because I have absolutely no desire to hear you yell from downstairs because you forgot something.”

“Yeheees!” I responded.

“I want to enjoy this bath and I do not want to get out of it just because you want some toy you forgot to take down.”

“I get it.”

“Are you sure? Do you have your elastic with you?”

“No. I will not use the elastic.”

“Take the elastic with you! I am not getting out of the bath for it later.”

“No, mom. I do not need the elastic today. I have my skipping rope with me. There is no other kid outside so I do not need the elastic.”

“Do you have your crayons?”

“Oh, my crayons! Where are they?”

“How should I know? How about your dolls?”

“Yes! Got them.”

“Are you ready? Look again: do you have everything you need?”

“Yes!!! I dohooo!!”- she was getting annoying…. as if I did not know what I wanted, duh!

“Ok, I am now locking the door so you cannot come in. Also I do not want to hear you for the next half an hour, got it?”

“Okay, mom. Okay!”

So I started jumping down the stairs from our apartment on the second floor to go outside in the yard.

I was feeling happy, as most of the times. It was a real warm summer noon and I had all the day for me outside, playing and waiting till the other kids showed up.

I was alone at first. It was no problem for me as I was always able to invent some cool dreamy play. I could be whoever I wanted to be and I had the whole yard for me to turn into my own private property.

Soon enough other kids began to show up, so we began playing together. Once we got bored of the toys we had on us, and there were also enough kids to play the elastic, that is what our next burning desire became: the elastic.

The only elastic we had on us was too thin and broke only after a few steps. The solution was inevitable.

I began the sing-sang I usually used when calling my mom. “A-nyu-ka” – the Hungarian word for “mom.”

The sound was very specific, joyful and carefully put together. It began with the music chord „D“ (for the syllable “A”), went up to “B” (for syllable “Nyu”) and landed on “C” (for the syllable”Ka”).

“A-nyu-ka” in D-B-C: like a birdy´s chirping of a chill sing-sang. The sound that usually got a “Tessék” (What is it) as a response from my mom. Only this was not a usual situation as I was very much aware of it: my mom was taking a bath and was not ready to play the maid game for her four year old.

No response. Waiting for a few seconds.

“A-nyu-ka” in D-B-C for the second time. This time with a hint of “you should by now start noticing me calling you.”

No response. Waiting for a few seconds.

And then a military “ANYUKA!!!” burst out of me for the third and final time. By this time I was annoyed that she was ignoring my call. So the last “Anyuka” came from the deepest anger of my soul right into the ears of my bathing mother.

“Az iskoláját a gyermekinek!”* My mom yelled from the bathroom of our apartment on the second floor, so that the whole neighborhood could clearly hear. She was pissed.

“Why on earth are you calling me? Didn’t I tell you not to call me for the next half an hour? You barely got down! What IS it that you want?”

“Throw down the elastic, please” I responded in a whiny little voice as if it would make up for the fact that I did exactly the opposite of what she told me.

* Annoyed exclamation expressing discontent with a child.