The Bean goes to school

This post should have been done 6 months ago. Because I had planned to send the Bean to school at 18 months. From sitting at the door like a little puppy and waiting for her brother to come home, to wailing loud and long as each member of the family left for school and office, and finally being consoled with a little school bag to parade around the house with, and a tiffin box, the Bean has done it all.

The OA and I hunted down schools all over again, decided against the Brat’s last playschool for all the reasons I had objected to him going to it in the first place and ended up not sending her anywhere.

It was October and the first excuse I found was that the change of season made her and other kids sick and with her asthma attacks I didn’t want her to keep falling sick. Then came January and err… oh yes – we didn’t have a second car and the school didn’t provide transport so that served beautifully as an excuse a reason not to send her. Come February we were too busy to send her because we were chasing the Brat’s admissions, the OA was travelling and finally in March – umm… I ran out of excuses. At some point there was a chance of my office shifting to one of the suburbs and I decided that if that were the case we better move house closer to it as well as pick a school close by because I wanted to be close to her in case she needed anything.

And so it went on until I realised that there’s only so long you can put off the inevitable. At 2 she is old enough to go to playschool for a couple of hours and neither have I held her back too long. I guess the time is right and so she must go.

Anyway – so Sunday night I just decided that the Bean will go to school the next morning come what may, before I found a new excuse. And so we woke up and a confused Bean was dressed up. And she went around the house singing that she was going to the club to play. I had to disillusion her and tell her she was going to school. Which was equal cause for celebration and she continued to sing.

We reached school and I took her old maid along . The school has a system of allowing you to wean your child slowly. So you send a maid or a parent or anyone to sit with her for a while and then slowly stop attending. The Bean reached school and bounded out of my arms to hit the toy cars. As she went honking and driving around the school I paid up the fees, filled forms and basically signed away my sole rights to my daughter, agreeing to share my child’s rearing and time with the institution.

I left for office and the maid hid away while the Bean played in the sand pit. She didn’t ask for the maid and when she was picked up after an hour she howled in rage at having to be brought home while the other kids were still playing.

Day 2 and the Bean was falling over in excitement. She tugged at my dupatta as I got ready, got underfoot and between my legs and basically made getting to school fast, a matter of survival. We stopped at the ATM and for another chore on the way. Each time she screamed ‘School agaya. Comeon, comeon, comeon. Gitdown mama, hurry up.’ And was most unhappy when I told her we hadn’t yet got there. When we did indeed reach, she nosedived out of the car and I had to chase her to get a hold of her.

Another class was in the splash pond and it took all my adult weight to drag her 11 kilos away from the pond and take her to class. On the way we encountered the sandpit where another tug of war ensued and finally we got to class across what seemed to be designed as an obstacle race for parents getting kids to class. The maid stayed under cover and I opened the door to Bean’s class. And bedlam.

A plump old jolly looking teacher was running wildly around the class and an army of pygmies were running around with bats, thrashing something. ‘These are butterfly nets and we’re catching butterflies,’ explained the teacher. Right, I nodded politely, sending the Bean in to errr…catch butterflies with a bat. Had there really been any butterflies they’d have been buttered to a pulp by now.

The Bean disdainfully ignored the butterfly catching mayhem and settled down with an abacus. I slipped out. She was picked up by the OA – Repeat performance of the first day – she left thrashing and crying – much like the Brat on his first day.

Third day and she decided that come what may, she was going to pull my saree off me if I didn’t leave the house the moment she said so. I stood my ground and finally caved when she wanted ‘perfume in her gala.’

A little spray of perfume under her chin and then she was lost. The game is to get perfume sprayed and run to dada and say – ‘Smell me. I smell nice.’

Dada then smells her and tells her she’s the best little girl on earth and hugs her and looks at her fondly until you click in his face to break the spell.

But dada had left for office and she stood there uncertainly after it had been sprayed. Of what use was perfume if dada wasn’t there to smell it?

She figured I wasn’t the best but I’d do, so we went through the motions of me smelling the perfume and collapsing because she smelled so pretty….

And then we finally left for school. With her little elephant bag on her back, the bag has been christened Dumbo.

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We reached school and this time Sati didi just hid at the gate. I think we’ll just be done with this by tomorrow. She’s done without her for three days so no point dragging poor old lady along to make school happy.

Again we battled evil plastic toy cars and bikes, the inviting paddle pool and the swings and the sandpit to reach her class. The moment I set her down she wailed and I was all… damn – I knew this was too good to last.

At which point she held up an admonishing finger and said .. ‘MAMA!! you VAAAARY naughty. You didn’t let me kheli in the matti (play in the sand) and you didn’t let me ‘sping’ (swing). I don’t want to talk to you.’

I looked as apologetic as I could while suppressing my giggles over ‘sping’. And then the teacher led her to the play gas stove. I sat on the floor in my silk saree  and she made me endless cups of tea, knocked back gallons of ‘tea’ herself and finally when she looked away I made a getaway.

The old maid tells me she didn’t whimper through the day and that is that. It’s over. My daughter has officially been to school three days and loves it. My last little bird flew out of the nest happily.

Sadly, its such an irreversible thing. I could pull her out of school, but she’d still be the big girl who went to school for three days without a tear and was totally ready for it …

My cranky whiny daughter who started out life shrieking in horror if strangers touched her. I cannot begin to explain what a relief it is to me because of all things I hate, it’s shy children who hide behind mothers and cannot join other kids at play. The horror that mine might be one of those was more than I could bear.

On the other hand, this is the second baby I’ve send to school who has left without a backward glance at me. Damn – obviously no one loves me!

PS: My PC has crashed and I use the OA’s laptop when he is feeling generous so no pics in a while. Bear with me.

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37 thoughts on “The Bean goes to school

  1. Awww…

    The first day of school when I waited for my Peanut to turn and wail Mamma…. she just waved at me and went straight to hug her new teacher and play with the toys with a huge grin. 😦

    Why are these kids so cruel?

  2. “…and basically signed away my sole rights to my daughter, agreeing to share my child’s rearing and time with the institution”

    you hold the patent for the term drama queen right? 😀

    Me: *looks around suspiciously* have you been talking to my friends and family?

    Beanie and Brat are *your* children. They are bound to be independent yet warm individuals. Hope both of them have a lot of fun at their respective schools.

  3. Dada then smells her and tells her she’s the best little girl on earth and hugs her and looks at her fondly until you click in his face to break the spell…..

    Awwwwwwwwwwww! Sooo beautiful.

  4. Aww… MM! I am so happy that lil Beanie went to school without shedding a tear. I feel so bad when kids wail and scream at the school gate.

    Beanie is the lil girl many parents must be pointing out to their kids, ” Look at that li girl, she loves school, and she is not crying… good children don’t cry baby!”

  5. I don’t think I ever used the word ‘bedlam’ before finding your (old) blog.

    Me: well now that you’ve visited and seen – don’t you admit its rather apt?

  6. Awwww! I can relate to the ‘nobody loves me’ part! Your Bean’s epxerience more or less tallies with my second one Dhruv’s, and he still checks a hundred times everyday if he’s going to ‘cool’ or ‘summa cam’ the next day, gives us hell on weekends and drives me to distraction on school mornings…”I wanna go cool NOW.”

    But my elder one Divya cried for 3 months at the school gate…torture for her and me. Still I look back on that as a sign that she loved (notice the past tense) me and our home and my mothering. God knows that helps me get through these wretched summer hols…and the daily morning tantrums from Dhruv when Daddy leaves for office. “I wanna go coooooooool”

  7. I just smiled and smiled and smiled reading the entire post and still am 🙂

    And get a lappie now..a good Dell one instead of a PC.

  8. aww…she’s so cute…mom tells me that the first day my bro went to school he was very excited…then at the gate when the aaya took him away he started bawling….later when mom asked him why he was crying he said coz he’d been dragged in….he had wanted to walk in all by himself…poor fellow’s ego was hurt 😛

  9. OK, MM! PLEASE read this comment and delete it. I dreamt that you got a baby number 3 and we were waiting for the update on your blog! It was such a cute moment, albeit in the dreamy state. Pliss convince the OA and make it true 😉

    Me: how can i delete it?! i have to show the OA that I have support 😉 no seriously. i’d love a third -but not in this country burdened with a population problem

  10. Now I really know that when I have a daughter, she has to be a mix of Bean and Peanut. Mmm… My Bean and Peanut butter treat!

    LOL, MM, this has to be just the cutest post I’ve read in a long long time (apart from Ojas’ cuteness which I’m hooked on to these days!).

    Lotsa kissies and cuddlies and zor ki hugs for our li’l darling! Okay, some for her equally adorable Mom. Mwaaah…

  11. Sweet….so now that you have all this free time on your hands, get cracking on the book you need to write!

    M

    Me: You’re the 4th person to say that to me today. It’s freaking me out. I honestly dont have a book in me. I’m just a fond mother inspired by the fun and joy this brings me. I really have nothing new or great to say to the world. That said – its lovely to be at the receiving end of this statement 🙂

  12. Beanie is such a cutie… Hugs for her….

    Even I used to cry when I saw other children going to school, so much that my parents ended up send me a bit early for my age.

  13. oh boy, hold my hand, my number is coming up – he won’t bawl, i’m convinced i will, they will take me kicking and screaming from the gates

    Me: sokay babe – you know you’ve got company 🙂

  14. I thought you loved all kids, including shy ones?

    Me: I do – in a very theoretical way 😀 in real life i am glad they’re someone else’s because if there’s one thing i cant stand, its the stranger anxiety and the clinging. in the last year that the bean has changed – i realised that is the one thing that really set me free.

    And let me be the fifth one to say (unless there have been others in the interim) that you should write a book. It is a fantastic feeling. Almost like having a baby. There, now I must have convinced you.

    Me: low blow woman. dont u try and convince me by using the magic baby word!

    but listen i dont have your sense of humour or pithy turn of phrase. i’m an old rambler and this is the best place for me. no publisher kicking my ass to tighten the plot or meet a deadline

  15. MM – I don’t comment often but I love your critters especially the feisty Bean. Hope they have a blast at their respective schools!

  16. Such cute kids! You must just be a lucky mom for them to take away so efforlessly and blend in perfectly! Hugs to both the kiddos!

  17. do you hate shy children or do you hate your children to be shy?

    Me: I dont hate shy kids… I hate whiny clingy kids because invariably then they set mine off… and thats the last thing i need. and i hate my kids to be shy. just not the thing for the OA and my kids to be shy. we wouldnt know what to do with them. keep them in a box i suppose 🙂

  18. oh well! Cubby used to be the kid who would just go away and never look back! and now for past 3 months he has suddenly become the shy and whiny kid! grrrr!! its even more annoying because he was the exact oppsite!

    i expect to see lotsa crying from his end when his time comes in June!

    but super thing for Bean! 🙂 hugs to her!

    cheers!

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