The one where the Brat had a problem

Dear Brat,

I thought long before I wrote this post. Would it bother you later? Would you come back to hate me? Then I figured, kids will find something to hold against us anyway, so let’s make it easy for them!

About 9 months ago, after you went to big school, we realised that your personality was suffering. You’d slowly gone into a shell, stopped speaking or begun to speak only gibberish, had given up holding a pencil, had spells of violence and then of absolute silence – and the worst? You cringed if I put out a hand to push a lock of hair off your face or wipe chocolate off your face and that spoke volumes. There were plenty of other problems that I shall not blog about, that we needed to take up with the administration, but the main thing was to get you out of there.

So we moved you back to your old nursery school from the terrible, terrible school we’d put you in. About 20 days later, I was called to meet your teachers.  It gave me the heebie jeebies – what could be wrong? The teachers gently broke it to me that you might have a learning disability. And communication problems too. And they said the scary words – Special Ed teacher.

Every mother thinks her child is special. A genius. Brilliant. And every grandparent thinks their grandchild is twice the genius their child ever was. Which is why your Nani-G’pa were understandably in denial. I on the other hand, was willing to listen to the teachers and take remedial steps if that is what it took. We had a meeting with the principal where I reminded her that you were one of the brightest kids in the class the year before that – in your Montessori class. She remembered – she also called in last year’s teacher to speak to her. I mentioned that the school we’d moved you to, had affected you deeply. Your father and I were really worried about your behaviour at home and to hear that you were having trouble at school, was even worse.

I was willing to pay for the Special Ed teacher if you needed one, but I wanted them to keep in mind that you had been through a shock. That you’d regressed for a reason and up until then had no problem learning. That the school we’d pulled you out of, was way behind your nursery school in terms of curriculum. They were still teaching you to draw standing and sleeping lines while this school was teaching you the capital and small letters at the same time. As for the social problems, well, considering you’d regressed to barely talking and had joined the new class 4 months after the other children had formed their little groups, I could see why. I just didn’t want them to label you – but I didn’t want to live in denial either.

Anyhow, the decision taken was that you wouldn’t be given special ed, we’d all just work harder with you. And that’s how it began. Now I am not a teacher. I am your mother. And a very impatient mother at that. It’s also why I get very irritated that the teaching in this country often lies in the hands of those who couldn’t figure out what else to do. Those with husbands in transferable jobs. Those who want to go home early to their kids and need a job that ends at 2 pm. I fully appreciate the enormity of the task and I don’t at any point imagine its an easy job to do, which is why, I took on the task of helping you catch up, with great trepidation. We’d already made a mess and I knew I didn’t want to screw things up further.

I think this might be a good time to confess that I am ashamed of losing patience at times. Mostly because you’re such a good child. You’re stubborn, but as a mother it’s my job to understand that and work around it. There were days I had deadlines to meet, while you and sister danced around the house like little dervishes. There was the alternative therapy doctor to take you and your sister to. There was housework to be done. And I snapped often enough. And wept myself to sleep with the guilt.

But you were patient with me. Patient with your father. Patient with your little sister who hopped from one excited foot to the other, blithely and ignorantly encouraging you when you were doing something wrong. I don’t know how we managed, with a guest room that permanently had guests in and out of it, people sprawled across our bedroom carpet or on bean bags, the constant bustle around the house – but I guess that is where the natural resilience of children makes its presence felt. You learnt. You learnt from all of us. And each of us taught you in our own way.

I wondered if we were confusing you, or hampering your progress. You know, so  many people rushing in and out of your life, so many different ideas. But it worked. It worked in its own way. We did a review with your teacher two months later and she was beyond pleased with your progress. You were up to the  class’ level inspite of having not just started four months later, but having had a lot of other problems.

I often criticise your father and your Tambi maama for their terrible handwriting. But as I sat with you day after day and watched your little hands grasp a pencil and painfully shape an alphabet, I was in awe. In awe of the human mind and the effort it takes to draw even something as simple as a straight line. It made me doff my hat to adult literacy programmes. Schooling your hand, learning to put the right amount of pressure, getting your brain to tell your hand which direction to take and then actually taking it… So much that we just take for granted, once we’ve picked up the skill.

I wish I could tell you how your father and I held our breath each time we asked you for an alphabet and you concentrated, a frown appearing on your little forehead (you get that from me) and then produced it on paper promptly. I wish I could tell you how we went from sleepless nights to falling asleep with a smile on our faces as we recalled you bouncing into the room excitedly and saying, “Mamma, I want to study!”

And it wasn’t just that. We slowly saw the old Brat reappear. You had begun to shy away from guests but soon my little boy was peeking in at the drawing-room door saying  “Good evening maashi” and giving them a quick glimpse of his sunshiny smile.

Another day I had on some music as usual when you came into the room and said, “Mamma, look at me.” And then you had a fit. Shaking and squirming until it hit me – you were trying to dance!! Proud mother though I am, let me safely assure you, erm, Fred Astaire is turning in his grave. So is good old MJ, God rest his soul.

Anyway, I digress. Slowly, you came back to us. In so many ways. You began to talk again. Your eyes lighting up with your wild plans. Your voice rising and falling with your tales. You took to pen and paper with a vengeance.

A few weeks ago, you drew me a lion. A blue lion. “A blue  lion?” I asked you. Yes, you said. “Why not? A black and white giraffe can have a blue and pink baby… because a brown mamma pig has pink piglets.” Sound logic, that.

And I backed off. If it was blue lions you envisioned, well then, blue lions they would be. It bothers your father, at times. He’s a little more conventional. For instance we have these lovely books where you have to pick the odd one out and I’ve completely bypassed the pages where you have to pick the odd one out – a purple penguin, a hen with tusks… Because knowing you, my little Brat with no limits in your head, you’d wonder why they’re considered the odd ones.

Another day I asked you to draw something you like, and it’s not hard to guess what you drew. Something, that you called, err.. the Bean. With long hair and earrings and five fingers neatly attached to each arm, from armpit to wrist. Picasso, you are (NOT!). I laughed after you’d gone, till the tears rolled down my cheeks (yeah, I’m mean like that) – and cousin K walked in, and did the infuriated maama job on me. “How can you laugh at his work? It’s so sweet. He’s drawn his sister with such effort and he’s only four years old!” And he walked off in a rage, his eyes brimming with love for you.

A call from your teacher three days after you went back to school confirmed it. “Ma’am, I just wanted to tell you that your son has come back from the holidays a different person. Over the last 6 months he’s not just made up what he lost in the last school, but caught up with the class and has finally regained his personality. I think you’re doing a great job with him at home, so keep doing whatever it is you’re doing.”

I hung up and called your father and cried. He listened to me… the silence over the phone line saying more than words could. I know he’s worked hard too. Coming back after work and playing word games in between wrestling. Playing number plate games in the car. Taking you places, helping you write, his big hand eclipsing your little one, protecting it. I often say that it takes more than half a teaspoon of sperm to make a father and your father has.. well, he’s done more than I ever imagined a father could.

As for me, its been a packed six months. Six months that have taught me so much about you, about parenting, about love, about literacy and about the joy of watching something bloom before your eyes. Now as you write your name with ease, spell out little words, and shock me with your photographic memory, I release the breath I was holding  from the day they told us you might have a learning disability. I’m glad we got that shock. It gave me some time to think about what I would do if you did have one. Well, as your mother, I’d just deal with it. Simple.

But more than your father and me, you worked. You worked with us. You gave us your time, your energy, your enthusiasm, (sometimes your malingering!), your little spongelike baby brain soaking it all up and greedily wanting more, Olive Twist-like.

You are already fantastic at simple addition and subtraction, something you’ve picked up on your own (although I think you inherit that math brain from your father!). Your school has not begun that section yet, but you blithely add and subtract toffees and birds. You’ve picked up the language brilliantly and now you do funny things like singing Feliz Navidad – but replacing the ‘dad’ part with your father’s name. A friend whose nick is A-something is now called B-something, C-something and so on. Something only a mind like yours, open to all possibilities, could have come up with.

You dance sometimes, your face coming alive, even though your limbs all seem to have their own agenda, not a single one complementary to the other!! You love to paint and you do beautifully with water colours, staying well within the lines. You draw fantastical creatures with strange body parts and entertain me with their exploits. You tell me stories, you make up rhymes and more than that you laugh, you tease, you cry, you live, you breathe, you smile, you love, you are whole, you are healthy and I am grateful for all of those every single day. You make me proud my son.

I love you,

Mamma

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162 thoughts on “The one where the Brat had a problem

  1. As a teacher, I’m ashamed of how much damage can so easily be done to a child. But then I think of the Brat’s old school and know all isn’t lost. Big hug to your chip of the sun and a thump on the back to his fantastic parents. Make my job easier–clone yourselves!

    • well as a mother i am in awe of all that a teacher can do for my child and i wish more of them chose the line because they wanted to (like you) and not because they just found it convenient :(

  2. whyyyy would the Brat be bothered by this post?!! If I were him, I’d be proud!

    You’re a mother so full of love for her kids, it’s heartening to see! I’ve seen parents send their kids off to class after class of tennis and swimming and whatnot and never spend ANY time with them. I’ve seen parents who push their children to be *better than the others*, only to compete in race for … what really?

    in the midst of all this, to see a parent who encourages her child to be the best of whatever he wants to be, who loves him for whatever he is, who has the courage to do whatever it takes for the child’s happiness, and thoroughly enjoys it all in the process… you’re one in a million!

  3. I read this and had so many things running through my mind. Decided to add my bit and then sat in front of the laptop mute for quite a long time…at a loss for words. MM, you have put into words exactly how we love our children. Our hopes, wishes, fears, love. I still have that lump in my throat. I have a very much normal(?) daughter A, 8 year old, and believe me, I went through all sorts of nameless fears when I was expecting her as I was on the wrong side of 35. I remember watching her at all stages, till I slowly began to be convinced that my fears were baseless, and permitted myself to relax just a wee bit. You can’t really, totally. It comes with being a mother.

    • :) yeah. you wonder why people go on and on about it, until you become a parent. then you realise what it takes. and why it seems like this exclusive club. theres a rather painful price for entry to it.

  4. MM, you say a spoon of sperm does not make someone the father..I would like to add, carrying a child in your womb for 9 months does not make one a mother..not truly.

    What you do after..and how you deal with the challenges that come after is what defines you as parents. And I know it does not need to be state, but would like to still say that the OA and you are doing an amazing job. When the points get tallied in the end..I bet you guys will come out as winners..

    I am glad Brat is back to his old friendly, happy self. And we are all cheery from the sidelines at his various accomplishments..

    PS: It was great to read a Brat post after such a long time.

    • thanks Nam.. and now you see why there were no posts on the brat in a while. each time i’d sit down to write about him over the last 8 months or so, i’d burst into tears…

  5. Oh s***, this made me well up. Awesome job bringing The Brat ‘back’….and I hope he always stays creative and unconventional and finds a way to also be massively successful with his skills.

  6. aww..that was lovely…brat will one day thank you for writing this post. i saw him albeit a sleepy brat, but he is truly an adorable child…you should be proud of him.

  7. Hi MM,

    I am at loss for words after reading this. Who should I say is lucky? Is it Brat, for having a wonderful, understanding and a very patient mom (and OA as well) or is it the other way round? Now that I have a son(he is almost 1 yr old now) , we need to start planning which school he has to be enrolled and I guess its not an easy task. So the BIG school might not always be the best school for your kid, is it? When the time comes for me can I seek your advice pls MM? When I read a post like this from you, I always wonder if I will be able to handle a problem(concerning my child) so effieciently. Bcos I dont want to make any mistakes that might affect him badly. But then how will I know whats always right for my child? ooff..I am so scared and confused !! Sorry for the long comment.

    • :) hardly yaar! We messed up big time with that school. not that we have a choice. in delhi admissions are based on the area you live in. but well, we made a mistake and our child paid for it with his soul and his personality and we are going to work hard to ensure it never happens again.

  8. Dear MM,

    This was one of the most moving posts I have read in a long time. Happy that Brat was able to undo whatever damage the old school had done to him. Seriously the improvement says a lot about his teachers and about his parents… how many babies get attention at the right time to resolve these sort of things? And how many parents are ready to accept that they may be wrong?

    Tight hugs to brat and bean :)

      • Echoing that. Early intervention is better than ‘wait and see’, and parents who are proactive, working with their kids, willing to change themselves and having a meaningful partnership with schools is what helps. Denial and running away doesn’t. Neither does labeling the kid.

  9. MM, are we twins? Too many eerie coincidences, I cried as I read this because it’s exactly similar to the tough stuff we’ve been going thru with our 4 year old son too. And we’ve been doing the exact same thing, so many materials, toys, workbooks, outings, basically concerted efforts to make learning fun and effective…he has changed a lot…but it’s been damn difficult, just like you describe…I hope I can write a post like this in a few months.

    Big hugs to you n Brat n a big congrats for all the successful hard work to the whole Mad family!

  10. Hey MM,

    I am so so glad that Brat is his former self again. I can imagine how worried you guys must have been! Just shows how important it is to choose a good school.

    Love to your sunshiny boy and your little girl.

    Anjali mashi

  11. The baby put through so much in the old school :((.. I am glad your concern and careful nurturing got him back to his old self and MM and OA you guys rock as usual. God bless the baby brat.

  12. Wow! That was beautiful MM. Such an emotional letter, got me all teary eyed. I love the Brat you have described here :)
    Good job MM and Thankyou. I am learning a lot from you!
    Take care

  13. God MM – I was so moved by this post. I love the brat since he reminds me so much of KB – that soft heart…I was feeling so bad to think of what he might have felt – to have regressed so much. What the hell kind of school was that that could do this to sweet little Brat?! Man! I am so glad and relieved that he is back to his sweet self and I went through all the tensions you would have felt (well, surely as a parent what you feel is incomparable) as I read through this…you know – when KG was – I don’t remember – may be nearing two and suddenly we felt like she was not responding to some questions – we had not even paid attention to all that closely – when suddenly we noticed – the fear I went through – since not responding to your name is such a red flag – I got so nervous – then we paid attention to how we talked to her, what she said etc – and then consulted the pede etc – few weeks later we figured out she was fine – but still that experience made me appreciate what parents of special ed kids go through – how every little word the child utters, every new response and comprehension is such a big milestone…I still go through those with KB – when I think he will be scared or intimidated in some situations and he is not – it feels so good…
    I am so glad that Brat has parents like you and OA who will take this up as a challenge and just get him through this and bring him back to his normal self…lots of love and hugs to my dear Brat!

  14. MM,

    that was such a touching post…it had more impact than ‘taare zameen par’…..ur kids r so blessed to hav u people as their parents n vice versa…god bless u all…n thanx for sharing this chapter of ur life…

  15. I don’t think this will make him feel ashamed, MM! It’s such a beautiful, love-filled letter!

    May the Brat always be as courageous, as patient.

  16. Hey MM,

    I am so so glad that Brat is his former self again. I can imagine how worried you guys must have been! Just shows how important it is to choose a good school.

    Love to your sunshiny boy and your little girl.

  17. I can relate to every word of what you have written..coz i went thru or rather going thru something simiar with my 6 yr old. The school sings praises of his verbal skills…come to writing there is a BIG problem…well..like you and many other parents we are working one day at a time and one step at a time..

    I think on the whole our education system puts too much pressure on these little ones. Come on!! whats the hurry in pushing so much into them so soon…

    • very true… on the other hand, he is lucky to have you to understand. there are other parents who would put pressure on the child instead of seeing it the way you do. kudos to you.

  18. Babe, you have no idea how close to my heart this post of yours is. God bless. I’m waiting for the day I get that call too!

  19. Dunno what to say MM – I’m really proud of all of you ! Esp you.

    And I’m trying to get my head around this school business – how dare they mess with a sunny child like him?

    • thanks poppy. it was a bad time. from whacking kids to having 50 kids to a teacher to being rude to parents … the list is endless. to say nothing of the case filed against them. i’m just glad the nightmare is over.

  20. I really wanted to say something, but I can’t think of anything suitable to say. God bless both Brat and Bean and may they always be whole and healthy and live life to the fullest.

  21. This post made me cry because my elder one has been labeled “borderline dyslexic”. What on earth is that anyway??? Either you are or you are not! The schools I took him to never took into account that the family was breaking up and that he had lost his much loved maternal uncle. I finally opted out of the school system and he sat for his board from Open School. But he actually gave his exams again after six years of this since he needed to be 12th with Science for becoming a pilot – and cleared the papers too. Wonder where the dyslexia went?

    Sorry for the long comment – but hang in there and do not allow folk to label the child. You guys are doing a great job

    • what? your elder one? he’s such a great guy! I cant believe they put him through that. hats off to you for doing all this singlehandedly. the more i hear, the more i worship the ground you walk on.

      • Yeah, my elder one! Labels are toxic you know. He is a sweet gentle soul. Besides why should there be such a huge hurry to get through your education? We have sixty years to live if not more. So Kid#1 got through school a couple of years ago – shrug! Big deal! He became pilot this year and that wraps it up.

        He did it, kudos to his fighting spirit. Kids are amazingly resilient and forgiving. I may have freaked at that time but he still loves me.

        Sorry another long comment

  22. Glad to know that things are falling in place. I can imagine how hard it must have been to not go into denial and yet keep a balance, considering what the child has gone through. Good luck to the brat!

  23. a very very heartwarming post.
    Hard to believe that the Brat we’ve come to know thru your posts could ever be anything less than smart-with-a-heart.Glad that you moved him from that awful school.
    But MM. just think- there might be other little children in that school, whose parents may not have the option of moving him out… brrrrrr! I wonder if teachers realise just WHAT a responsibility they have… much much more than us in our corporate worlds with deadlines and targets and incentives.
    And yet, they are paid so much lesser than us. Can’t blame them if no one wants to take up teaching as a profession.
    Sigh! I wish things could change for the better.

    • very true babe. i think it goes both ways. people need to respect teachers more, pay more, and be willing to put in more towards their child. and teachers need to realise they hold our precious childrens’ lives in their hand – and then do what is right by them

  24. This one MM is my personal fav. Only a mother could have written a post so touching, loving and honest! And dear brat, here is wishing you a life full of happiness and bliss :)

  25. The ‘had’ in the title reassured me as I was reading about his problem! Glad all is well. The drawing of Beanie is hilarious– she looks like a coat-hanger!

  26. My almost 2 year old son has something called congenital hydrocele. I am so worried for him…i get over it because , like you said, i am his mother and i have to deal with it…yet at occasional times.. i worry…only good thing, his ped said that i have nothing to do with teh fact that he has it… and doc says not to worry..but me being the mother i am, i googled and read odd comments about fertility getting affected by this condition. call me odd, call me strange, call me anything.. i am just an anxious mother who just wants her son to be “normal” …. i would love him anyways and do the best for him…

    well, how does this relate to this post??? i was able to relate to your feeling..thats all….

    anyone knows any kid who had this prob and is now absolutely fine???

    • i’ve never heard of this and my heart goes out to you and your son. i do hope someone responds to your comment and that you get peace as well as a resolution soon. my prayers are with you.

  27. Been there, done that. My daughter was sent at 5 to remedial class because she couldn’t read sentences. The remedial teacher was a darling – got her out of the circuit after a couple of sessions. My kid was the youngest in her class and was therefore taking more time to learn. Her English teacher couldn’t wait. Wonder what they teach them at BEd.

    • one of the best advices i received before putting O (end of the year born) in regular school was from her nursery teacher. “even if she has no trouble now, let her be the oldest in class rather than the youngest. it will just make everything easier for her.”
      and it does… i see other younger kids struggling in her class. but i understand the pressure those parents are under. people constantly ask me why she is 1 class behind!!!!!!!! for heaven’s sake, she will 8+ when she joins grade 3, big deal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      and MM, you should sue that other school.

      • arre – i’ve been begging the Bean’s teacher to let her drop a year (she’s the youngest in her class) and they refuse to let her :( i’m thinking of moving to the suburbs where they take kids at 3.5 instead of 3. that way she misses the cutoff and goes one year below.

        • oh yeah! mother’s of Cub’s classmates just could not fathom why i want him to be the oldest! they kept saying but they take kids at 2.10. and i kept saying i dont want him!

          id rather he repeat a nursery thing in big school if need be than be pressurized into padhai thats beyond him!

          sigh!

  28. hugs to all of you MM.

    god! i am gonna promise myself to be little more patient. and hope to keep it this time.

    I know my nephew was sent to big school at 3 and within couple of months they pulled him out and put him in a school close by and he is so happy now!

    how do we really know if the school is any good. to think all of them behave as if they are the next best thing to happen to this world! sigh!

    this post obviously had me bawling! :)

  29. I’m so glad you identified the problem in time and were able to get our sunshiny boy back. How traumatic it must have been for him in that school can only be imagined.
    I love all his drawings. Especially the one of the Bean!

  30. Just went back and checked out that drawing of Beanie. :-D I think you need to have it framed and later gifted to Beanie’s OA.LOL! Hugs to the Brat!

  31. Such a wonderful Post MM .. had tears rolling down my eyes.. in gratitude to my parents… so often we take our parents for granted ..
    I m sure Brat is going to be very proud of you when he understands this post :)

  32. this post got me all emotional. :)

    It’s funny how you never revealed any of this over the course of when it was happening. i kept backtracking and trying to remember which posts at what time could’ve alluded to this.
    you and the OA sound like awesome parents.

    • you know – i didnt realise it was happening. i did post about him being pulled out of school but thats gone to court, so i cant talk about it. and no, i didnt file the case! that apart – you sort of dont realise what is happening while you’re in the middle of it. you’re just trying to make it form one day to the next without falling asleep while standing

  33. TMM: You have tapped into my unending anger towards a warped school system. The school that can push a child into a shell in four months is ridiculous and unacceptable. But the school that declares that the child might have learning disability so soon is as ridiculous, dont you think? Given that the child was in their own school and they had a different experience of him.

    The drawing of his little sister- can the teachers not see complete control over the pencil? does the line have to be fashioned into an A for them to realise that he DOES NOT have learning issues??

    Making a child read and write at four years is a problem to begin with. Its the correct age for a child to draw his sister in whichever way he pleases- (by the way, the drawing is precious!) and to paint the lion blue. Instead the school will want him to read and write faster than they did a generation back. WHY?

    Sanah is going through the writing and reading process.She has picked it up completely, yet i am shifting her to a school that will not teach reading and writing for quite some time. I am afraid the school she is in just now will make her forget that lions can be blue if you feel that way. I am sure she will delight in brat’s drawings.

    • sur makes the most sense as always.

      one of my friends who did her PHD on child-friendly schools told me that children should not be forced into reading and be made to write the alphabet before five.

      schools have teachers who are “meek dictators” she said…

      kill the spirit of a child, squelch it with pointy heels and walk away far far away. how dare they.

  34. Mad Momma,

    What a beauty this one is. I admire you but obviously my heart goes out to the Brat ( is that a misnomer?). Its not fair that chidren so tender should be subject to teachers who only want to see outcomes and not the process. Teachers, most of whom, landed up in the teaching profession only by default. I am an adult trainer and I know that learning is different for different individuals as is for children. And I suspect you may at times be torn between ‘Why, me? Why the Brat?’ and ‘Its good, its taught me and the Brat important lessons’. But being a mother, I would want to hug him now and say..’You’re on your way to becoming a fine young man but remain a child as long as you want to’ And Blue lions..it is. Why not??
    I kinda wrote something a few months earlier..life experiences dont allow me to write anymore.But if you have the time, visit http://bhavnachopra.blogspot.com/2009/05/of-facts-and-fiction.html

    • :) i’m glad you said that. the post was more about my son’s resilience. i did nothing that any other parent wouldnt. and yes, its becoming a bit of a misnomer. should we change that? will go over and read your post now.

  35. I am so glad you and your husband had the sense and courage to identify the problem and take the required action. So glad to see brat is back to his usual self.

    I personally find that bringing up boys is tougher because it takes so much to figure out what is going wrong. They are less communicative anyway and it becomes very difficult to pull them out of their shells, to get them to talk, to open up.

    I am terrified of putting my kid in school. :(

    • you got that right. i often read other blogs and wished my son would talk more, but now i realise its hard to get him to talk about feelings. he’s more likely to tell me about the pilot who visited school than the teacher scolding him for soemthing. somehow i am more worried about sending my son into the world than my daughter.

  36. And my son goes to heritage in Gurgaon and I love it. He learns themes and about transport and bugs ( all in Nursery) but still not writing. And they stress on reading. They stress on understanding applications of concepts..he learns about life and btw, he also learns language, maths etc. I love the school and the pedagogy!!
    But just yesterday he noticed the word ‘intensity’ printed on a card and said ‘ this is intention’. Dont ask me what, where and how…but I

  37. Btw, aren’t you worried that the lovely table cloth will get sketch pen marks and get ruined?? Or are the brat and the bean so well behaved? Forget about my kid, even his mother would mess up that table cloth.

  38. on a random note…my now almost alpha male-esque brother didnt talk for the first two years(apart from the one word start ups), and then when he finally started… he talked like a girl.
    “mein aon gee”
    “mein jaoon gee”
    :D
    i loved this post. thank you for sharing…i know its hard and almost taboo in our society to be so open about ours (or our loved one’s) weaknesses.

  39. This made me well up.

    The two worst years of my life are to be credited to the horrid uninterested teachers and higher authorities at my junior college and the kids there. It was all about who scores how much in maths and science and what are your targets for the next exam. Sometimes the principal would make home visits to check on kids who were not performing well and were ‘paying too much attention to sports’. Everyone wanted to be an engineer and for all their kids-from-abig-city-who-know-everything attitude, they’re the worst kind of frog-in-a-well examples I’ve come across.

    I was never so glad as when I passed out of there. I haven’t so much as walked on the street the scool was in after that.

    It breaks me to hear of stories like these, kids being sidelined and not being given the attention and care they’re due.

    I’m very glad Brat’s in a much better place now … and kudos to you, OA and his teachers for having worked with him so patiently. May he never lose that sunshine, And bless you all :)

    Also excuse the vairy long comment. It’s a topic that makes me fume.

  40. I am a mom of a 1 1/2 yr who took some time to crawl and ultimately walk… or so I thought! I dont know if its me or it happens with all mommies… I see my baby in your bratt… :)

    Bratt is a brave and a strong boy – you and the OA are even stronger because you knew the situation. Give yourselves a pat on the back.. you deserve it.

    Reading your blog and experiencing your life teaches us alot of things.. you’ve been there, done that – where I am :)

    Hugges to Bratt and Beanie

  41. From the comments it seems like many kids had similar “problems” as the Brat so why is it even considered unusual? It seems like schools are just putting kids through too much.

    I used to have this attitude that there’s no point to stress too much which schools kids go to (when I have kids that is) but Brat’s experience has explained why parents do stress about finding the right school.

    • :) i had written a loooong post on how it doesnt matter what school your kids go to and how home atmosphere is what makes all the diff. i’m eating my words and they dont taste very good.

  42. Oh poor little thing. He’s such a lovely little fellow, it’s horrible to know he had to go through such a hard time. Makes the blood boil. But well done, all three of you, for overcoming this.

  43. if u dont mind, can I ask what was it about that school that affected ur son so badly? I have a kindergarten-er myself and just want to see if I am missing any signs or something. Thanks.

    • not at all. i think they were yelling at the kids – shut up and sit down – are you deaf? are you blind? and whacking them. i happened to witness them yell at a grandparent who came to pick up the kids one day and i realised that if they yell at US, what must they be doing to the kids? also – 50 kids to one teacher – all three year olds! and finally – i’d picked the school because it was simple, middle class. and all the middle class really has , is its values. if we’re yelling at our elders, what are our values?

      • true. gosh so sorry that happened your son. nice to see him bounce back and so glad you guys managed to bring his spirit back. but to think that its still happening to the rest of the kids over there is heartbreaking…

  44. How brave of you to post about this!
    Very glad to hear that the Brat is back to his former self.I can imagine how difficult it has been for you and the OA.
    I was relieved that i had survived the first year of my twins but now i know that each stage has so many challenges to offer and we can only pray for the strength and wisdow to be able to take the right step for our children.Being a parent is really the hardest thing!

  45. You know I teach in a school these days? An ordinary school, one that happens to be literally next door to my house.

    The first month, I used to dread the Assembly almost as much as the students. Shoes have to be white, laces whiter, socks pulled up, or you get the cane.

    I thanked God my son does not study here. And I kept praying that I will find some way to heal the situation.

    I enjoy the process of teaching. I let the kids yell in the class, walk around barefoot, sing songs, tell stories. Mostly, I listened to them. They have so much to say. Slowly the kids fell in love with me. They started coming home for healing. During a picnic, even the headmistress took healing from me. Then we organized a meditation camp, where the teachers met the parents in an informal atmosphere.

    A lot of parents are saying their children sleep better, concentrate more, etc since their kids are taking healing.

    I am telling you all this because I want you to take Brat at least once to the lady I mentioned in a post before. These healings work. Specially on kids.

    love,

    Atmapreeta (Manju)

  46. so that is why there were no brat posts for a while. but i am glad that this got sorted out, and that the brat is back to normal. now how about some FUN brat posts in order to make up for the past months? :P

    • :) i should.. i should. i’ve just gone mad after he slowly recovered. now i lie with him on the swing and just watch him smile. i had forgotten what that looked like. he’s going to grow up and need therapy thanks to his mad mother ;)

  47. My Younger brother was thought to have a speech problem, a social problem and plenty of others because he was slow to start speaking and was extremely slow in school by way of grasping study material and social skills. Coming from a joint family with plenty of kids who were pretty fast, this worried my mom to no extent…But hew grew up aquiring everything that a good, honest , kind, loving person should have. We expect kids to touch milestones as if it were a relay race. We don’t think of them as individuals. Beautiful post.

    On another note, thought this might interest you
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-01-23/the-post-pregnancy-weight-loss-obsession/full/

    • my God – just read your link and its so well written. exactly my point. whats with wanting to remove all evidence of the baby? no baby fat, no stretchmarks, nothing. crazy bloody society we’re becoming.

  48. Such a wonderful post. Very emotional, only a parent can feel it. As they say it takes a village for a child to develop a good personality and as a parent your contribution is the most significant. I am sure when Brat grows up and would read this, he will be teary eyed too. (I guess he is more emotional than Bean…from what I read).

  49. I HAD to comment even though I’m in middle of workday!!!

    I heart you and I heart Brat. You are the “twosome, awesome”.

    Thank you so much for this post. Now I know why I keep coming back to read your blog even after so many years and a few disagreements in the comments section.

    You are a “GOOD” person. Period!

  50. Hi MM,

    This article is bound to touch the chord of every parent. It’s really unfortunate that the schools we trust to bring out the best in our children can turn their life upside down. As a parent I can understand what you went through and hats off to all of you for bringing the bright and pleasant Brat back. I wish no child anywhere goes through such pain.

  51. Had tears in my eyes…shudder to think how much damage a stupid school can do to a just-budding soul…how many more might still be in that school being damaged beyond repair because they don’t have parents as intuitive and insightful and dedicated as you both…hats off to you all!

  52. Hi MM,
    I think this post has come at a perfect time. We are dealing with major learning issues about my 22 months old daughter. Ofcourse the issues are much severe, but I am hoping that since we have started so early, there will be a day when someone will call me and tell me that “all is well” she is alright.
    I am happy for you and your son MM and your whole family. With parents like you and OA there was no way Brat could have slipped any more.
    Great job!! I hope all such stories have an happy ending.

  53. Yay for the lil Brat! It’s good that you noticed the change immediately and then took steps to remedy it.

    Glad to know everything is pretty much back to mormal :)

  54. I just don’t know what to say …. except want to give Brat a big Hi Fi and a heart felt thundering ovation to you !
    Brought back my own memories with Cantaloupe. We had enrolled her in this pre-school which she hated so much that my once cheerful / sunny child was always silent and crying and clingy. Thankfully we realised the changes within 15 days and changed her school.
    But I always feel guilty for having put her through those 15 days

  55. read this yesterday. but was too choked up to write anything coherent. even now can’t think of anything to say.
    i’ve been wanting my baby to come out fast. been so impatient. now i just want it(?) to stay put in my tummy forever.

  56. I wondered if you would blog about this. Not because I was worried about the brAt but as a mother whether you’d be able to put this down on paper. But only you can take something so gut wrenching and turn it into something beautiful. Not craftily with words, but with heart. My love always to the brat but even more so to you.

  57. hey…not belonging to the “all senses perfect, all limbs fine, weight fine, breathing fine” category during birth, and yet treated like a normal normal child by my parents makes me realize today how difficult it must have been for them, and yet they never showed it. None whatsoever.
    U have a gala time wid ur son!! Damn those schools…trust ur child :)

  58. I am glad to see a Brat post after so many days. The big school must have really done a number on Brat for him to completely change his personality ! Kudos to you for writing about this. God bless your little family.

  59. Happy to know the sunshine is back in his eyes. I missed hearing about you, Brattie. Hugs.

    *walks away with sad face, at the missed opportunity to meet this wonderful little heart stealer of a baby boy*

  60. I follow your blog but have never commented….This letter is simply awesome. I can’t stop crying and moreover am very very very moved by this whole problem and the way you tackled it….All the best Brat….with a mother like MM…u gonna be all right…always :)

  61. a heart rending and courageous post…have a lump in my throat as most others
    and kudos to you as parents and brat for coming out of it so strong!!
    love the drawings (thanks for sharing them with us)and ‘the table’ – i loved the memories around the table comment

    there is so much to learn from the experience
    at the same time as a mother of a two and a half year old…am really worried now if the play school am about to send him to is the right one? what school should I send him to later on? am gonna tap into you for loads of advice for sure;)

  62. You go Brat! Woo hoo! You are a total star and I am sooooo proud of you, you brave little boy! This post really made me tear up and seriously kudos to you MM, you are a fabulous mum:)

  63. I am so glad to hear you have weathered that storm and are moving on now and the Brat is doing well and everything….I am contemplating moving my 3 year old to a different school and am terrified of making her miserable, Thanks for this post, I will watch her closely and pull her out at the first sign of trouble :(

  64. This post kind of reminded me of my childhood and the movie Kitaab and the song:

    “dhanno ki aankhon mein hai raat ka surma
    aur chaand ka chumma”

    in that order, coz I’d sing this song aloud whenever i got **detention** at school (for which, I am told, I am still the record holder).

    MM, you are good at writing… ek post mein itni saari topi-ya utarwadi aapne….

  65. Okay…gotta comment again.

    Your post..I’ve been coming back to it since yesterday and it just keeps tugging at me so hard, the tears flow freely.
    Nope not anything to do with my son but my husband. Was labelled with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, “dumbo” and many other godawful man invented learning disorders his entire school life so much so that he gave up on himself atleast academically and focussed entirely on sports at which he excelled from day 1 and art(at which he is simply amazing).

    Turned out that he never had ANY F….king problem. Nope, none at all. Years later at Stanford he underwent extensive testing and they found zero evidence of any of the disabilities he’d been labelled with. Not only that his IQ(not that it matters at all) falls in the 99th percentile!!!
    By then, ofcourse, he’d taught himself to read(but didn’t enjoy it much because of the negative associations from school days). His articles have appeared in prestigious peer reviewed medical/science journals and magazines. Go fgure!!!

    Anyhow, to cut story short and not bore you with tiny details his entire life is a testimony to his dogged resilience and belief in himself(not even his family believed in him, very sad story).
    And ta-da…. the happy ending….he is the youngest Global VP for a Fortune 100 company today and much sought after in the industry for his opinions/ideas in his line of work. Thinking “outside the box” comes naturally to him:-)(and to people like “The Brat” eh?)

  66. Hey MM,
    Great post, great attitude! I have a question though – where does the medical community fit into all this? Are the teachers qualified or trained in making judgements of any kind of disabilities? To me this is a parallel to seeing someone limp and calling them lame – when the limp just came from an injury! Do they even send the child to doctors? This kind of stuff makes me furious ! My friend’s son used to write slowly when he was 6 and the teachers decided he had a neurological issue which was impeding his fine motor skills development. Big words, big diagnosis when it turns out all that was wrong with him was the will to have his letters and numbers just right, each and every time! I am so glad you guys worked things out well!

  67. Pingback: Thank you, but it wasn’t about me «

  68. MM, here after a loong time. And after a really long time, I read something that moved me to tears, like it did to hundreds of your readers. God bless you and your family. A big kaala teeka. :)

  69. I sent my son to a playschool when he was 2 yrs 3 months and for very personal reasons, my daughter went to school (for the first time) when she was 4 and half years old. She picked up the alphabets and numbers in flat three months whereas my son spent precious 3 years (play school, LKG and UKG) to get to where she was, and managed the same at the age of 4 plus.

    In these three years, I was told he has problems with eye hand coordination, he is hyperactive and the usual jargon that goes into a labeling a child that the ill equipped teacher finds impossible to handle.

    Your post brought back these memories and how I regret not having kept at home and sent him to school for the first time when he four plus. Sigh – its past us and I am glad I did some of things you mentioned and I think have helped him to grow up without any scars.

  70. I was in tears as I’ve read this, because I’ve been reading you since the Brat was a baby and I can only say that if it hurt me so much, it must have been absolutely heartbreaking for you.

    P.S: If you need to kick some ass, you know whom to call.

    *Hug*

  71. oh God..you had me in tears…so proud of Brat and you guys ..amazing…this letter should be shared with every parent and every teacher who blame the kid for everything..amazing..hats off to all of you !!!

  72. Hello there…I am a fan of your blog and bless that day when I just stumbled upon your blog one random day while getting my daily fix of HighHeelConfidential. :D This post touched me because I am in Grad school in the US in Molecular Biology and Genetics and I am the youngest one in the entire grad school. I have been a “normal” kid all the 20 yrs when I was in India. But I was surprised when my prof asked me before she wrote my evaluation form if I have learning disability! I was shocked n went to my brother n cried saying my prof thinks I am dumb! He said that I wasn’t dumb and I don’t need to be what everyone else is. I can take it slow and not keep running in life. I never realized how much difference a few years of wisdom can have on your learning n all even at this age.
    I am doing what exactly you did with brat, though I am doing it to myself because I told my parents that I am going to be this independent kid who can take care of oneself though I cry like a baby and call up my anna and parents every time I have a problem. :)
    My love to your kids.

  73. I met the children at a birthday party yesterday. Got a stare from the Bean and a half smile from the Brat :). So glad, he has blossomed…

    Now you know what I live with about Ruhi. I winced while I was reading through. Maybe she will blossom too one day.

    ps: delete my last comment pls

  74. came here after ages…….this post had me in tears for quite a while…. Brat is my baby too….before Joy…..Hugs to you and OA….

  75. Oh man, i cried, I cried…and I don’t even know you!!! I wish that when I become a momma, I would be just as mad and wonderful as you. Would you mind if I show this to my friends who are also suckers for happy ending?

  76. Choked reading this.

    I didn’t think I could be any angrier with schools than I was already (after going through admissions for P), I was wrong. These days it is more commerce and less about education. Forget expecting them to bring about a positive change in our children, we should be relieved if the school doesn’t harm or have a negative effect on our little ones.

    Couldn’t sleep without letting u know how brave i think u r, all of u actually. Bless u all.

  77. Fantastic post. Moved me to tears because it rekindled some memories from my past. I was pulled out of mainstream school too, because it was ruining the curious, creative, happy, hedonistic person inside of me. Once in an alternative learning centre, the old me bloomed again :)

    And to date, i believe mainstream education in India is only designed to ruin individuality. Go you, for caring to make your children different, and stay that way!

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