PARTY TRICKS -
Last week, Peanut was in for a disappointment - her brothers were invited to a party and she wasn't. It's always been the other way round and she was wailing about it. I explained that this was the party of a 3 year old boy and a friend of the twins' and that she would have to get used to the fact that she wouldn't always get to go to parties where her brothers were invited. She muttered 'But the cake...it's always so delicious.' However, being a rather understanding child, she let the matter go.
The party ended and the twins came back, flushed with happiness. I was touched when I saw that they had actually got back a large piece of cake for young Peanut. What good brothers my little boys were turning out to be!
Peanut stuffed her mouth with the cake, now flushed with happiness herself.
'Wasn't it wonderful of Pickle and Papad to actually bring you cake? They must have heard you saying that's what you like best about parties!' I gushed.
Peanut swallowed another mouthful and then informed me 'Well, I told them to bring me some cake..'
'You DID?' I was aghast but only for a moment. My smile came back and I said 'Well, it's still something that they actually remembered to get it for you...very sweet of them, and...'
'Ya, but Mama' Peanut wanted to confess something, it seemed, and she went on. 'Actually, I promised them that I would pay each of them five rupees if they remembered...'
This time my smile disappeared for good, but my child continued innocently 'I knew they would never remember otherwise...'
PARENT TEACHER MEETINGS -
Vijay and I were invited to our children's school for observing their Morning routines in the class. One day I went ( to Pickle's class) and the next day, Vijay went ( to Papad's).
I was amazed at the serenity with which all the activities were conducted. The storytelling, the morning circle...all with a certain hushed reverence around it. The children were terribly well-behaved. Pickle was pleased to have me hovering in the back of the class but when I reached out to tap him playfully in the back, he shrugged me off and whispered 'We don't play like that in the class.' I was mighty impressed with this good little boy.
And it struck me. How different our children were in the school environment just an hour after being shoved out of the house, with all the screaming and shouting about getting late and why aren't you wearing your socks and Now you'll miss your bus for sure and so on. Clearly, the teachers and the school had a certain thing going on. It was better to build this silent peaceful routine based on trust and respect and mutual understanding than to engage in threats and shouting all the time. We had a lot to learn.
I discussed this at length with Vijay later and then we turned to our twins. I asked, although I was sure I already knew the answer 'Children...how come you're so very good in school in the morning routine?'
The twins looked at each other and then Papad spoke up 'Becoss othelwise we will be taken to Plincipal office...' and Pickle added 'And the Madams will schold us!'
Vijay looked at my stricken face and said dryly 'Well...so it's not so different from here after all...'
Me (getting hassled especially by the twins in the morning) And the next time I see you guys without socks, you're getting punished! It's cold, and you're not well...
Peanut : But Mama, we feel hot in our socks at night...so we take them out.
Me (snapping): I'm not talking about that...it's okay when you sleep at night without your socks...I'm just saying that you should wear them in the mornings, okay?
Peanut (muttering to herself now): Okay, so that means as soon as I wake up without my socks, I'll be punished... first thing in the morning.
Me (reading a story to Papad) - and then Noddy said
Papad (getting up) I'm going to go bathroom, Mama. (Turning back towards me and holds out his palm with imaginary remote control) PAUSE.
Me (trying to get Pickle to read the words in the story): And this is...?
Pickle: (Loudly) TO
Me: No, sweetie, that's 'in' ...we know 'in' we've done it so many times, right? Now I will read some words and you will read some...'So .. (looking questioningly at him, pointing to the word)
Me: (Very happy) That's correct. THE Baby Bear..(looking at him, pointing to the word)
Me ( Delighted) Yes! ( Now confident he can read most of the sentence- So the baby bear and his sister scrambled to their feet...)
Me (prompting on the bigger words): Sister...Scrambled...(Thinking... Come on, I know you can do this, Pickle...)
Pickle (face shining in triumph) EGG!
Vijay: I can't find my phone...
Me: Peanut, find Daddy's phone.
Peanut (calling from the other room): How?
Me: Think about it...how would we find it?
Peanut (after a short pause, calls out) By calling him!
Me: Ya, so call him.
Peanut: How can I call him?
Me: (Rolling my eyes at Vijay. This is the kid who calls us every given opportunity from the landline to complain about her brothers, while we're in the office. I call out to her) Well, how do you always call him?
Peanut's voice floats in promptly, with a sweet sing-song lilt: Oh, Daaaaa-ddddyyyy....