I've walked 10 blocks to my office from her pre-school. It’s been a long day at work not from a number of hours perspective, but more from the mental strain. After hours of brainstorming, data analysis and proposal creation, my brain was dead on me and the only thing I felt I was left capable of doing was some linear and mechanical job. Like packing my bag and walking back those ten blocks back to pick my daughter and take her to her gymnastics class.
And it’s a shame I can’t kick myself in the back (why don’t I exercise?) ‘cause this is by far the stupidest assumption I could've made after having repeated experiences.
I tried to separate my baby from her friend. I actually felt jealous that she was clinging on to stay a while in school. See, another stupid reaction.
I should've felt happy, said she can have a ball till the school closes, sat at the parent’s conference room and worked. But no, I told her about her gymnastics class and she was super enthusiastic. Now I had a very high child in my completely sapped hands. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid . Oh, and I forgot to add… Stupid!
She was excited and she did come with me. We walked 3 blocks together to the bus stop. 3 blocks. That’s all. I walked 10 in 12 mins. We waked 3 in 20 mins. “Mamma, why is the Sun following us?”
“Mamma, why is that man’s teeth black?”
“Mamma, how is Apricot different from Peach?”
“Mamma why can’t I have ice cream?”
I was tired, but I really tried to attentively listen and answer all her questions. But one question always leads to tons more.
So, we reached the bus stop only to realize that we missed the bus. Yay! I can now answer some more questions. But she realized she was hungry and I took her to the closest place to the bus stop, which happened to be McDs.
We stood in the line.
“I want chicken burger and French fries Mamma”
“Ok Driti. But you have to finish the whole thing. The happy meal comes with chocolate milk”
“I love chocolate milk”
“Ok, but I can’t help you finish Chicken. I don’t eat it. You have to finish OK?” Stupid.
“Why won’t you eat chicken Mamma?”
Now, I don’t intend to brag, but Driti hero worships me. If I say I don’t like it or my parents asked me not to eat it, she will stop eating too. And we haven’t tested it yet, but I think if she had her way she’d choose to survive on air and a one sided conversation.
So the only thing that she likes, I’d rather keep the interest active - the chicken thing.
So I said, “I am allergic to chicken Driti”
And she started crying.
“Why are you crying?” We are next in line; I can’t afford to miss the next bus trying to pacify your siren.
“I don’t have any allergies”
“Ofcourse you do. You are allergic to ice creams. You catch cold when you eat them”
“So do you catch cold when you eat chicken?”
We now have to order. “Chicken burger happy meal and the wrap without chicken and fries please”
Some more crying.
“What is it now?”
“I want chicken nuggets”
“Chicken nuggets happy meal please” I order.
Now we have 5 mins before the next bus arrives.
“Do you get cold Mamma?”
“Hun? Yes” I answer while wondering if the McD’s in US operate in the same 1 minute service like in India.
“But you are more than 5” the voice from below observes.
“I can eat ice cream when I turn 5”
“Oh God Driti, please keep quite. We’ll miss the bus again if we keep talking”
After 3 mins, the lady brings us our stuff. Now I only have 2 mins
So I pick her with one hand, two bags of food in the other and a back pack and sprint to the door.
Crying from under my nose.
“What’s it now?”
“The chocolate milk is cold”
No idea how she sneaked it out of the box.
“So eat your nuggets first. It’ll be fine by then”
Got the bus! Thank all the 330 million Gods!
In the bus, she wants to walk all the way back and sit on the ‘high seat’, the elevated seats. What world view she gains by it, I have no idea. Another string of questions and 5 nuggets down, she says “I don’t like nuggets Mamma”
There’s only one remaining in the box! And I turn to ask the lady behind which would be the closest stop for her gymnastics and by the time I turn around, all the French fries have spilled down and she is fast asleep.
So I pick everything, put it in a bag, smile sheepishly at fellow travelers and get down carrying her, the bags and the back pack. She has to do gymnastics and she is sleeping.
I walk two blocks and wake her up. She’s excited about gymnastics but she wants to first drink her chocolate milk that she loves. She has a sip and returns it to me. “I don’t like it”
Thankfully after gym she’s tired.
The Gods have been easy, and the bus was almost immediate.
“Mamma, why is she the way she is?” she asks pointing at a lady with tattoos and pierced lips, nose and belly button.
“Driti, how many times have I told you to ask me all these questions in Tamil?” I reprimand her.
And that’s the last question of the day. We reach home and I send her right to bed.
Phew! Tomorrow's another big day, and I hope I've learnt something from all the pain I feel in my arms, and feet.