All that Fuss!

My daughter started her Kindergarten this Fall. Kindergarten. The first day was the hardest, I think. A few other moms of Kindergartners, and I found solace in each other’s tears… “Our babies are growing up so fast” was the general consensus.
“Doesn’t it feel like yesterday, when they were so tiny and helpless?” one mom, Lisa* said.

“Well, mine was pretty helpless today. He was trying to put his jacket on, over his bag!” another mom, Marie* disagreed. “He was pretty helpless with the shoelaces, and also, the buttons.”

“Yeah, mine still cries all the time.”  Jenna wiped her tear.
“So then, why are we crying?” I asked. “It just seems like an illusion that they’re growing up. They just seem to get taller holding on to all their kiddie traits. Mine, doesn’t like walking to any place that’s not a playground. She’ll pretend she’s so tired, that she cannot walk another step and desperately needs to be picked up.”

“But still, school is big.” Lisa said, still trying to prove her point.
“Not Kindergarten” I said. “They still only mostly color and trace numbers and letters.”
“Listen to stories, play at the park, dance” Marie agreed.
“So why are we crying?” Jenna asked out loud.

“Could these be tears of happiness?” Marie seemed enlightened. “Are we happy that our kids are finally away from home, without costing a bomb for… staying away?” She was clearly referring to expensive pre-school and day care.

All of us looked at each other. That could very well have been the reason.
“Or are we just feeling liberated, that we can finally read a book without disturbance, or use the toilet without the fear of the little kid barging in any minute or communicating from across the door?” Jenna tried.

“Oh, mine asks me so many questions from outside, and she wants me to see her paintings, right that minute!” Marie empathized.

“Let’s see what they have to say in the evening, when they come back from school” I said, already knowing what my daughter would say. She wouldn’t want to come home. There were so many kids at school. At home, I was the only other kid, and I wasn’t very good at being one. I didn’t whine loud enough and I couldn’t ride her little bike with training wheels.

We bid our good-byes and met again at pick-up.
“Feel liberated yet?” I asked the ladies.
“I cried a little in the car” Jenna said. “But once I reached home and saw the mess in her room, I was back to being the screamer. Only, it felt a little sad that I didn’t know who to aim it at.”

“I could actually hear my kitchen cloth fall on the floor.” Lisa was thrilled. All the tears from the morning seemed to have disappeared with the onset of reality.
“I wrote.” I said. “It felt so good, not having to share my laptop with anybody, because they also wanted to write a letter to their mom, me, at that very instant. I forgot how blissful it was to be in your own company.”

“Here comes the class!” Marie pointed out excitedly.
The kids looked so adorable, walking in a line, holding hands. With backpacks and lunch bags, the kids looked like… big kids. My daughter was talking to a new friend, oblivious to my presence. She was so engrossed in the animated discussion.
“Is that another tear, Mom from India*?” Lisa asked.

“Yeah” I said. “I love her to bits and she looks so happy.  And also, I was so engrossed in work today, I forgot something basic. I badly need to go to the toilet now, and she won’t let me.”

*All names of moms changed to preserve their identity and protect them from any awkward discussions this may lead to when the kids are able to search the internet.

Photo Credit: Wiki

The Diwali DealMaker

D is very lucky. At least that's what I want her to think - she gets to celebrate Diwali on 2 days. A Tamil Diwali and as Ady calls it, 'the rest of India Diwali'. But be as it may, we treated her to South and North Indian delicacies.

This year, we went a step further and also included Tamil and Hindi devotional songs, for no apparent reason. I just wanted D to see how Diwali was celebrated at my home and Ady wanted to add a Hindi flavor.

We lit lamps, dressed up in new clothes (she got 2 sets), offered prayers, cooked together, ate in steel plates, the whole nine yards.

She knows the story of Diwali, in fact she explained it at her school today, so we didn't want to spend more time discussing Ravana's teeth brushing issues or Sita's struggles without jewelry in captivity.

This year, I tried to teach her something new.

"D, you know Diwali is a celebration" I said.

"Yes. It marks Rama's return to Ayodhya, after...."

"Yeah, I know.  Good job" I said. I didn't want to hear the story for the fourth time today.

"So, I want to teach you another ritual that we do. Kids prostrate at the feet of the grown ups and seek their blessings." Ady did not want to be a part of it. In his family, girls don't prostrate until marriage. Only boys do.

"And grownups usually bless the kids and give them gifts." I smiled trying to excite her.
"What do you want, baby?"

"Mamma, a gift doesn't have to be something to play with, or money, right?"

I was very impressed. My daughter is not a 'Material Girl'

"Yes, darling" I answered, swelling with pride.

"Great! Then I want to see a cartoon today." She beamed.

Tricked! I was annoyed, that little firecracker negotiated her way to get what she wants. I was fuming. She knows she gets to watch cartoons only over the weekend. But this, this was just underhanded. Oh, to be fooled by a five-year-old.

Ady was smiling, basking in the satisfaction he derived from my defeat. "You promised!" he said smugly.

So now, my 'innocent' daughter is watching her cartoon while I'm trying to hide my defeat in a blog post. So much for rituals!

Image source: Wiki

When he said, "I Love You"

I know I shouldn't have laughed, but I did. It was so cute and amusing at the same time, I couldn't hold it in. 

We were driving to school today, and D knows I don't like to talk when driving (I absolutely hate driving), but we were discussing something important - why she should not 'accidentally' forget things or break stuff or fall off. As with all discussions, this one too took a lot of turns. 

We spoke about trees, fog, rain and dust before we came to a halt at the red light near her school. "That's John*, Mamma" she said from the back seat, pointing out the window. 

"The little boy crossing the road?" I asked. 

"Yes. He is in my class."

I waved to him and he waved back. 

"Mamma, you know what? John said that he loves me."

"What?" I asked trying to curtail my amusement. 

"Yeah. He said 'I love you' to me."

I laughed.I know ... I know, parenting mistake. But I did. There, I said it. 

"He also said, he'll put frogs in our bags." she added. Now, you  try to keep a straight face. 

"Why would he do that, and who's 'our'?" I asked as seriously as I could. 

"Me and my friend's. He just likes frogs."


I dropped her, hugged her, said goodbye and knew I had to tell this to Ady - immediately. 

A very busy day, Ady may not have the time to pick the phone or respond to my text, but he deserved to know. Besides, I wanted to have fun with him too - I am a good wife. 

"A boy said 'I love you' to your daughter." I texted. 

I knew I'd hear from him, maybe in the evening. He doesn't respond to texts when he's in a meeting, and he's in all day meetings today. 

"Who? When? Why? Call me," was the instantaneous message from husband dearest, or more aptly in this case, 'Papa Possessive'. 

I didn't call. It's just a kid thing, and well, I wanted to savor the moments...and just as I am about to go upstairs, the phone rings.

"What happened? Who is it? I want to know." It's Ady.

"Isn't it adorable?" I ask, smiling ear to ear. 

"No. It's not. Who is it? Maybe you should talk to the teacher."

"Yes. And while I'm at it, I'll also tell her that D is 'awfully' married to Kenny"

That calmed him down. "I don't appreciate you laughing at such things" he said. 

"But, you just have to give him frogs as a wedding gift" I said, "that's what John wants to give your daughter." That did the trick and I heard him chuckle. 

"Is that a laugh I hear?" I asked. 

"No. I have to get back to my meeting." he hung up. 

P.S.: Reading the title of the post, I hope you weren't expecting a different story ;)

*Name changed, so she won't scream at me when she starts reading my blog.

Photo Credit: Disney's Princess and the Frog

Who's a Little Girl?

It's just about a month now, since she started Kindergarten and she loves it. 

"I love it so much, and I have so much fun, I don't even realize I am learning something!" she exclaims to everyone who asks her about her new school. 

She considers learning to be different from fun, I note. Is she a real school girl now? But it's only Kindergarten!

"Can you guys introduce yourselves and tell me which grade you are in?" asks her after school teacher on the first day of after school class. 

When it's her turn, she says "I am not in any grade."
"So where do you go?" the teacher asks.

"Kindergarten. It's not a grade!" she laughs. She agrees with me, I heave out loudly, only to invite curious eyes of the rest of the kids in the class on me. "Excuse me" I say and step out of the class to do a little dance - she's not all that grown up - yet!

"You sure are happy!" a fellow mom remarks catching me in my oblivious step.
"I, just...well..." I try, getting the rest of my body parts closer to the torso. "Yeah!"

It's an hour long class, so I wait outside- working on my laptop, even as I sheepishly smile at the mom who saw me dancing. 

Before I know it, the hour's up and I shove my laptop, pen and book in my bag and rush back to her, so she doesn't feel that I've forgotten to pick her up. Which, by the way, has never happened before.

I see her talking to her friend and holding her hands as she's stepping out of the class. 
She doesn't look anywhere else; just the sky, the ground and her friend. She must be having a discussion about the distance from here to the sky I try and tell myself. You can't possibly have a discussion about the sky without looking at it!

"D!" I exclaim as she approaches me.
"Mamma!" she exclaims, but not with the same excitement as I shared. "Mamma!, can I go with my friend's mom? I'll come back home after half hour. I want to go with someone else who's not my mom."

"What?" I react, not believing my ears. Did she just refuse to come with me?

"I want to play for sometime."

"I've come to pick you up. We didn't discuss this earlier" I say, heartbroken. She doesn't seem to need me as much as I want her to. "Come with me now. We'll talk this over later." 

"O.K." she agrees reluctantly. My heart sinks. She is 5 going on 15. Maybe I am wrong about her. Maybe, she's not a little kid anymore.

"How was your day?" I ask her, trying to change the topic. I haven't ignored her reaction. I just want to discuss her response with her, when I am ready to talk and she is ready to hear. Right now, neither of us is. 

"Fine" she says. She's a teenager. Monosyllables. 

"What did you do at lunch?"

"I ate."

"Who did you sit with?"

"Mamma, can you come to my class tomorrow?" she asks.


"I like it when you are there. Like the first day you were there? It feels nice to have you around."

We've reached home by this time. I get her off the car, we walk into the house and I do my little dance. Without asking me why I am dancing, she joins in. "Can we put on some music too, Mamma?"

She's still my little girl.