This is about a day in the life of a 4 year old Varun (who is now 5). His teacher, though nice, was a stickler for rules and it seemed like a panic button was on all the time.
In one of the PTAs which I don’t dutifully attend every month, she’d given each child a topic to speak about the following week as part of a ‘show and tell’ activity. A dutiful parent called and told me that Varun had to talk about Green Peace. I was a little annoyed because there isn’t much a 4-5 yr old kid can understand and talk on Greenpeace and expressed my concern to the parent and she agreed but said that is how schools now are.
I got delayed at work the day I had planned to prepare him for the topic and told the partner in crime to get the fellow say a few lines. We stuck to simple lines like ‘Save trees, save oil’ and so on. Just 4 small lines. Varun relayed it very nicely and left to school happily with a sheet of paper on which I’d written ‘Green Peace’. In Green of course. That evening, when we reached home from work, the fellow seemed a little down. Our convo went something like this:
Me: Kanna, how was the day? Did you talk about Green Peace?
Varun: Ayyo! Ma’am was annoyed. She said I must talk about ‘thakkali’ (Tamizh for tomato). She tore the paper and trashed it 😦
It needed a few hugs and kisses for him to get back into form. I almost knew where I erred and just to confirm, called another parent and asked if the theme for the activity was ‘Vegetables’. Of course it was! Yes, you guessed it. Our man was assigned green peas. The teacher apparently said ‘pattani’ in Tamizh, which he heard as ‘thakkali’! So, after profusely apologizing to the child and making him understand that it wasn’t the teacher’s fault and that she was not angry with him, I set about preparing him for the next day with a few lines on Green peas. I drew a picture of green peas on a paper and gave it to Varun, who promptly refused to take. He was worried that the teacher would tear this paper as well!
I was miffed with the teacher for her misplaced anger and also because she tore the paper in front of the child. Having decided to give a ‘piece’ of my mind, I met her the next morning after dropping Varun in his class. Even before I broached the topic, the teacher started elucidating the importance of spending quality time with my child. Trying to stay composed, I told the teacher in less than 2.5 seconds that my definition of quality time was different from her’s and that I’d stick to mine. And I gave her the drawing and told her that it wasn’t the child’s fault and that I misunderstood the communication from the other parent. When I told the teacher that Varun refused to take the drawing because he didn’t want it to be trashed, the teacher became furious. She asked me to wait for two minutes, rushed out, and came back with the drawing of ‘Green peace’ sent earlier!! Mom’s foot-in-the-mouth moment. I HAD to smoothen my ruffled feathers, shoo away my temper, and douse the fire with ice-cold water and apologize to the teacher 🙂
That evening, when the champ came back from school, I asked him how it went. And here is what followed:
Varun: Oh yes! I talked about Green peas. Correct-aa sonnen (I told without any mistakes)
Me: Can you say the same lines now for amma?
Varun: Okay. Green peas are good for health. Save trees. They are tasty. Save oil. I love Green peas…. (the rest fell on deaf ears).
Me: Excellent kanna!
I owed him some more hugs and kisses. He got them. To this date, I do not know if the teacher tore some other paper or if the fellow made it up. I did not probe. All is well 🙂