Monthly Archives: May 2008

Taking a Break

I decided to take a little break, so came to Singapore – have loads of friends and relatives here. So┬áhere I am with my daughter and mother, husband could not take leave. And I am sooooo glad I did this. I needed to get away I think and just chill for a while, which is exactly what I am doing!

The best thing I did was to bring my mom with me, because now I am totally hands free with my daughter – we are all happy this way.

So tonight I plan to go out partying with some old friends and I have to say, I’ve not done that since my single days. It feels a little weird to be going without my husband and there’s this silly voice in my head that says I should be feeling a little guilty leaving home, hubby and baby and living it up. I am, of course, ignoring that voice (snuffing it out is more like it) but it is quite persist ant!

Guilt and women – there’s an illogical connection there. There is no reason for me to be feeling this at all, yet I do – and the guilt is on many fronts – leaving my mom at home with my daughter while I party, since this is a vacation for her too, should she be subjected to being at home looking after a toddler? Then, would my daughter be ok in a foreign land without me in the evening? What about my husband? Will it be weird bobbing around town without him?

I know that most of this is in my head, but I wish it was not! And maybe it’ll be ok when I do go, one beer down and I’ll drown all that guilt into oblivian – till the next morning that is!

But, what is true is that I will miss my husband, because it’s been a while since he and I just went drinking with friends. I mean we go out a fair amount in India, but somehow it’s not the same as before, like the good old days when he and I lived in various parts of the world. India has tamed, and aged, us both. I don’t know why, but it has.

I wish he could be here so we could re-live some of the old times..

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She’s In..

Got a call from the school. She’s made it.

I was relieved. That was the emotion I felt, of relief. Happy? Maybe.

So, I went to pick up the letter today, and even though I was expecting the fee, and the pecuniary euphemisms around it, to cause a dent in my pocket, I still didn’t realize how big a dent it would be, till the pretty lady at the reception affably handed me the papers and I looked at the stratospheric figures staring me back at me . My first thought – this for a two year old?

But, it’s a take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing, and I though I’ll probably take it, because I’ve come to believe that this would be good for her, it’s an obscene amount of money. My mother reminded me that the monthly fee would be as much as the salary she retired at, after teaching English for twenty-four years. That’s a disturbing thought.

Disturbing because, extravagant as this is, I am probably going to go ahead with it, and all because I think my daughter would benefit immensely. But would she be worse off going to any other decent school that does not charge an arm, a leg and a pound of flesh? Am I ensuring that, by sending her here, she’d achieve the best, whatever that is? Not sure, not sure at all.

And it’s not like everyone who can afford it is packing their kids off to such schools. I’ve read some interesting articles about alternative education that some parents are choosing for their kids. Like this one I read recently about homeschooling. Not that I could, or want to, do that. I don’t have it in me. Besides, I think children need school for more than education. But still, it’s refreshing to know what some parents are doing today, and more than the capability, they have the will to challenge the conventional system.

I wish I had it too.

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I wish I had the guts to swim against the current..

In the good old days, children went to school at, what? say 4 or 5? maybe a tad earlier. But not at 2, that’s for sure. So when I told my father that I was putting my two year old into play school (she’ll be almost 2.5 when she goes) he thought I’d lost it, which it does not take much for him to think, he’s old school and I am, well, mostly, not.

He’s nuts about my daughter so he was upset. And I’ve been sitting on the fence about it anyway, so I kept (read keep) swinging between whether to send her or not. Looking around me didn’t help, since everyone sends their kids at some bizarre age or the other. And that’s not what I want to do anyway, to send her just because the whole world is doing it. But, I have enrolled her for July for the Toddler session, she goes everyday for three hours.

First, I was so worried about her whole interaction that I was ignoring, rather stifling, this little voice in my head that kept asking me if that’s what I really wanted. She has to go to school for a long time to come, did I really want to start it now? Did I not want her to be at home with me, playing the morning games we do, watering the lawn, playing with water, reading, and all the rest of it. Did I want to force her into a routine just because it was the right thing to do? She’s two for Christ’s sake.

But, till her interaction was over I managed to silence that voice. But now it’s back and I want to face these questions.

I know the answers and it makes me sad. The truth is that, if I was ensured admission into a decent (and that’s a whole different story, but for another day) school, I’d probably not send her now. I do think she’s too young and needs me more that she needs a routine. But, I don’t have the balls. I know that by the time she is three and over, I’ll have driven myself insane thinking about her admissions. At least this way I know that she will continue in this school, which, hopefully, will be right for her.

Its going to be five days a week, and this is the other thing that bothers me. Why make a toddler go five days? Three seems right to me. That way, they’d go and play three times a week, and yet, not lose out on time at home.

My husband thinks it’s too early but he’s left the decision to me, and from time to time, he, like me, laments the fact that we don’t have the guts to let her be for now and cross the admission bridge when we come to it.

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The Big Day – Part II

In my previous post I had declared, with a lot of confidence, that my two year old would scream her way through the school interaction she had today for getting admission into the toddler group of this sought after school that I have my eyes set on.

I am happy to say that I could not have been more wrong. No qualms admitting it, there are times when you want to be wrong and this was one of them.

That said, I must add, since no one else will, that I had somewhat of a hand to play in the good behaviour. The truth is that she hates the mention of school and whenever she sees a crowd, she wants to run the other way, so I was dreading this day, convinced that she’d not co-operate. But, I decided I had to deal with it, instead of wishing it away. And it worked.

In the morning, she realized, from the general have-to-leave-on-time atmosphere around the house at such an early hour, that all was not normal. First, she looked at me and said “Mama, I don’t want to go to the doctor”. Then, when she was assured that that was not where we would be heading, she declared that she didn’t want to go for a party either. Again, I reassured her, while trying to speed things up. But she was confused, and worried, and wanted an answer. I had decided to tell her in the car, so I somehow distracted her then.

When we sat in the car, she wanted her answer. So I told her, very patiently patting her head and saying that we were going to a place (I was still afraid to use the word school, so I was deliberately vague about what exactly it was) where there would be lots of kids and people and that she’d be asked some questions. At first she didn’t like the idea, and said “no, there won’t be lots of people“. But, I explained to her that there was nothing to be afraid of, that I’d be there with her throughout and not leave her. It was strange, but for the first time I felt that she was growing up and understanding every word I said, every little word. She nodded and blinked her large pretty eyes and said “then we’ll go home?”. Her tone had such optimism, that it felt more like a statement than a question, like she was telling herself that once it was over, we’d go home.

I said : “yes baby, we’ll go home” , and then I added something that psychologists may or may not approve of, depending on which side of the reward theory there are on. I told her that if she’d not cry and play around, I’d take her to the slide and play area in the mall, somewhere she loves going.

I don’t know if it was that or something else, but she was such a gem throughout that I was speechless. I’d warned the teachers about her taciturn behaviour so they’d be prepared. But when she got to the room, she chatted and laughed while I was asked polite questions about her hobbies, about my husband’s long working hours, about my decision to quit work- the stuff schools love to query you about, judging and slotting you all the while.

And while I may have done ok, it was my daughter who deserved to be patted. It may not seem like much, but for her, it was a big deal to have interacted the way she did.

It made me think about how we underestimate our children sometimes. I had been so convinced that she’d want to run away from the situation that I was trying to avoid talking about it to her, little realizing that all that mysterious behaviour was only making her more suspicious. All I had to do was tell her straight, which I usually do, and she’d come around to it.

Of course, a little carrot never hurt, so I dangled it! And it worked.

Now for the results.

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Tomorrow’s A Big Day..

I’ve decided to put my daughter into play school from July, she’ll be almost two and a half by then. And tomorrow is her “interaction” at this big school that has a playgroup too, so if she makes it, I don’t have to worry about admission later, since she’ll be able to continue here to senior school. And this is a much much coveted one.

The trouble is that she hates the mention of the word. A lot of kids do, I know, but in her case, she wails and wails making vomiting sounds and all those accompanying histrionics that make you feel like some sort of a devil.

So I’ve been spelling words out around the house and using euphemisms so she’d not get it. Told the maid to get everything ready in the morning etc. Before going to bed, the monster comes to me and says:

Monster: “Mama I am not going to school

Me: “Who said anything about school?

Monster: “School is fun and babies dance there, but I am not going

Me:”Who told you about going to school” I ruffle her hair.

Monster: “You took out my nice dress. I won’t wear it.

Sigh. Tomorrow is going to be tough. She’ll figure it out as soon as I try and get her ready and once there, she’ll try anything to make me leave the place, will not respond to anything that she’ll be asked, worse, will say the opposite if asked too many times!

The father’s away, so am doing this alone. Fingers crossed.

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So It’s Mother’s Day..

In my previous post I made my views clear about mother’s day. And I stand by them.

But, (no, I am not changing my stand, so worry not fellow believers) when I woke up to find that my husband had arranged to send me flowers on behalf of my two-year old, it made me smile.

It made me happy not because it’s mother’s day, but because he cared so much that even though he is out of the country on an important business trip, he’d made sure that I didn’t feel left out as the world around me went crazy celebrating event, with cakes flying around and newspapers lapping it up, profiling mothers, chubby “ordinary” ones and celeb svelte ones alike, with cutsey mommy-baby pictures splashed about abundantly. It was his thoughtfulness that touched me.

I am not changing my stand in any way, but which woman does not like to receive red roses?? Though the flowers came bearing my daughter’s name, for me it is more about her father than her.

I think he was hoping to put out some of those mommyrage fires!! Ha Ha, I have to say, it did work!

For a while, that is.

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Do We Really Need A Mother’s Day?

Where will this madness end? Mother’s Day? Who started it? It surely wasn’t there when I was growing up. But now we suddenly celebrate it like it was some integral part of our lives and scurry around sending flowers, buying cake and uttering some mushy words about how we care but don’t show it..ugh.

Would I be happy if my daughter grew up and sent me flowers and called me on mother’s day? Actually, I’d rather she cared year round!!!! (esp after the way I am waiting on her hand and foot!!)

And you know who’s smiling the most right now? Hallmark. And those online flower guys with annoying pop-ups.

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