I couldn't really begrudge her this holiday - last year around this time, she was to go back to her village for some Puja and ended up cancelling - so it's really the first long holiday she's taking in two years.
Today was reasonable - I managed to get out of work at 3 p.m. because my part-timer leaves around then. Thankfully, the good ol' K is very much around.
I had to get Peanut to her Piano class at 6 p.m. so Vijay came home early and hung around with the kids. When I came home with Peanut, I heard a lot of screaming taking place from the kids' bathroom. Ah. Vijay was giving the babies a bath.
When the door finally opened, Pickle and Papad strutted out dripping wet and proudly naked. They were followed by a dripping wet and fully clothed Vjiay, who was glowering at me.
Papad explained the situation succintly, lisping 'Daddy ne mujhe nehlaya, to maine uss pe paani daal diya!'
The highlight of the day for me, though was Peanut's Piano class. Have I told you about her piano classes? Briefly, maybe although I should probably elaborate.
Peanut's a mere five year old, but her piano teacher - despite being a very sweet man, really - doesn't seem to remember that. He's a dreamy sort of fellow, but clearly quite a brilliant teacher who really has a way with kids. But he doesn't seem to be used to five year olds, because he keeps asking her things like 'So you do know about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his life, right?' and 'We use Gravity here. Your mother has surely told you the story about the Apple falling on Newton's head, right?'
Peanut's classes are going rather well, it's been a couple of months now and she is really demonstrating a flair for the instrument and is a quick learner, under my rather over-watchful eye. Her interactions with her teacher are a secret amusement for me, though, and sometimes mortification. Last week, he was waxing eloquent, waving his arms and saying something along the lines of 'And so therefore...and hereinafter...and nonetheless....' etc etc, and explaining something in great detail to her. She was fidgety and irritable but he didn't notice. He finally ended his long speech by asking in his lilting, soft voice ' Do you understand?'
Peanut, usually a serious and subdued little pupil, suddenly snarled at him with a loud, almost mocking 'Yaaaaaaaaaaa', which caused the teacher to sway a little and almost fall off his stool. I turned red and resisted the impulse to duck behind the piano, out of sight, and snapped 'Peanut. Don't be rude.'
The piano teacher, having recovered, just held up a hand at me and smiled in a benign, amused manner at Peanut, who had subsided again. I had a little talk with her on the way back, giving her an earful, and instructed her to henceforth and hereinafter only address her teacher with a 'Yes, Sir', 'No sir', and if she felt like a variation, perhaps a 'Three Bags Full Sir.' - but that was to be it.
Anyway, today was amusing in a different way, although I couldn't help feeling sorry for Piano Sir again. He asked her during the class if she knew about the Hammering action in a piano. She said no, and looked mighty uninterested in the mechanics, but he, being the dedicated sort of teacher, determined that at the end of the class, they would go across to the next room and actually open up the Acoustic Piano there so that she could see what he was talking about.
'It's as if there's a hammer ...and it hits a string... every time that you strike a key, and ...' he enthused. 'You'll see.'
Sure enough, we found ourselves dutifully trotting behind him after the class, as he led us to the other room. He asked another man to assist him in the opening up of the piano. It was a bit of a struggle, and one side of it got stuck. Peanut was shifting her weight from foot to foot and I hoped she wouldn't be rude, considering all the effort that was being put in to show her the workings of the piano.
After about five minutes of the struggling with various parts of the piano, I began to say 'It's really okay, don't go to so much trouble...' but a final, determined yank by Piano Sir dislodged the stubborn wooden piece and viola! There it was - the thoroughly impressive and intricate inside of the piano lay exposed, in all its glory.
Piano Sir was sweaty, but triumphant. He looked at Peanut, and seemed pleased to see that her eyes were shining with interest. 'And now...let me explain...'
He raised his hand to strike a key, but Peanut exclaimed 'I know how this works. I will play this note and that thing will hit that thing. See?' The stunned Piano Sir watched as Peanut hit a few notes and demonstrated a perfect understanding and familiarity with the secret inner workings of this grand instrument. She sat back after a couple of minutes, her face flushed with happiness, and announced to him 'I saw it on Tom and Jerry.' She turned to me 'Hai na, Mama? Jerry was hiding in the piano and pushing those things and Tom was wondering what was happening...'
I knew which episode she was referring to, having seen all the Tom and Jerry episodes six times over in my own childhood, but I wasn't really listening to her. I was still watching Piano Sir's stunned face. I thanked him profusely, and hurriedly ushered Peanut out of the room, keen to put some distance between teacher and pupil.
About 7.30 p.m. Vijay fed Pickle, I fed Papad and Peanut fed herself. I had just given Papad a mouthful and he was chewing on it as he played. Vijay, having had his offering recently rejected by Pickle, tried to stuff another mouthful into Papad's face as he wandered past. I snapped 'Honey, we're doing man-to-man and not zone.' Vijay grumbled a bit, but agreed.
So anyway, this first day has gone rather well with the kids falling asleep rather early - hopefully we'll somehow manage the next month without my brilliant young Rinki. She called four times today already saying that she didn't like being away from the kids, but I hope she has a nice trip and I hope even harder that she comes back next month as promised.
In the meantime, wish us luck! We're dangerously close to being outnumbered - a lot depends on which side K decides to play on, but for the time being, I'm still hopeful it will be ours. Time will tell.