A few days ago Poppy asked me how I could be 100% sure that my maids can be trusted. I can’t. I can never be. But at that rate I can never be 100% sure that my husband or my mother can be trusted either then, can I?
After much soul searching and experience I’ve realised that at this stage, what I need for my kids is not someone who can follow orders to the T alone. That would be nice, but it’s not something I’ve had the good fortune of having yet. All I want at this stage is women who are genuinely fond of kids and love their charges. Thats it. The rest is negotiable.
The Brat, as we’ve already established, is a gentle but stubborn child who will at the best of times put up an unbelievable fight. A few days ago we were to about leave for a (what else ?) kiddie birthday party and I told the Brat to hurry up and finish his milk. Now both the kids have always had their milk in china mugs – not plastic mugs – and are very careful with them. The Brat who was in a rare sullen mood lost his temper for some reason and flung his mug across the room. It shattered in a shower of milk and china, drenching the maids and the Bean – just about missing me.
I was hopping mad of course and told him that he wasn’t going to the party unless he apologised – to me as well as the maids. He looked away airily, assuming I’d never be so hard hearted. Obviously four years of being my son have taught him nothing. I’m a bitch where discipline and manners are concerned.
And so I dressed the Bean, the maids were cleaning up the mess, and we all ignored him. Then the younger maid who is mainly in charge of him, came up to me in concern – ‘Didi, you haven’t taken out any clothes for him..’
Yes, he’s not going until he apologises.
Her eyes welled up. ‘He’s only a child, didi…’ she pleaded.
I was touched by her love for him but I was firm. No apology, no party.
She ran to him and began to beg him to say sorry to mama. He refused.
I left the dressed Bean and went to get dressed. I came back to find that the maid had picked out some clothes and dressed him.
I was all set to give her a dressing down because the Brat was looking smug, assuming that since he’d been dressed, he’d been forgiven. I was also mad at her for raising his hopes.
He is not going, I said firmly, until he apologises.
Bag in hand I was about to leave and the Brat set his lips firmly – I gave him one last chance and then we began our descent.
We were almost at the bottom of the stairs when there was a whirlwind of activity at the top of the stairs. The doors slamming, much whispering and conferring and then the maid appeared around the corner, running down the stairs with the Brat in her arms.
‘Didi, he’s saying sorry, he’s saying sorry… please don’t punish him like this…’
A sheepish looking Brat looked at over my shoulder.. She whispered in his ear and prompted him… ‘I’m sorry mama. I won’t do naughty things again.’
Say sorry to didi too, I glared…
She sagged with relief, unshed tears glinting in her eyes and then with a small hug passed him to me. We left for the party, all sins forgiven.
No, she can’t teach him the alphabet or be his mother. But she can and is, a terrific didi to him. She loves him, aches for him, saves him often from the hand descending on the small butt, and for that, I am duly grateful. Any more than this, I cannot and do not expect. It would just be a bonus.
Of course the OA came home and in traditional OA style had a rude explanation with a wicked twinkle in his eyes… ‘Maybe she was just terrified of being stuck at home with our little terror for an extra two hours, which is why she was crying!’ Yeah right…