I made the mistake of going to kuttan's school cum daycare on Friday to pick him up. As kuttan saw me he came rushing towards me with great anticipation. I had had a long day and a longer week and was quite looking forward to lazing around on the weekend.
Just as kuttan and I started to leave, his teacher stopped me. Does he know how to write BM, she asked me. Gulp! The moment I was dreading and anticipating had arrived. No, I told her timidly. 'Well, I just thought I would get him started slowly, if that's ok with you', she told me. Well, how could I say it was not?
So gathering the last vestiges of my energy, I came out with great gusto, 'Of course! I was planning to do it myself but just thought it'll be better if you go first!'. 'He has already started writing number 1. We wrote a page of it today', she told me.
And then proceeded to show me the square math note book and the four-line english note-book where I was supposed to start with 'simple things' like numeric one and standing lines and sleeping lines. 'Are you going to give him homework', asked I, visions of my Sister-In-law chasing hubby's nephew with a notebook and a pencil and being repeatedly called by the school because the child simply refused to write flashing before my eyes.
Well, let's start off slow, she said. I cheered mentally. Just have him complete 1 page of homework over the weekend, if you can. ONE PAGE!! 'Well, its completely voluntary and you need to do it only if you are interested', she offered helpfully. And then pointed out the heaps of notebooks submitted by all the other parents. Voluntary, my foot!
So we went home and I gave kuttan this HUGE build up about how much fun it is going to be and so on and so forth. The notebooks and the pencil and the rubber and the sharpener were purchased in short order and looked upon with great anticipation by His Highness. After placing them in front of ummachi(God), and looking into His eyes and saying, 'Ummachi, let me study well, ok?', we were ready to go.
We sat down on the floor and carefully grasped the pencil. I gently held his hand and made him write inside the square. 'There you go. Great job!', I told him. 'Now just repeat this for a page and we're done'. This is not as bad as I expected, I told myself. Maybe it's only the SIL kid who is averse to writing. And it did seem that way when kuttan filled an entire page neatly with 1s.
Come Monday. We learnt standing lines today amma, he told me cheerfully in the car. Great. Let's practice, I told him. We went home and the snacks and other essentials were dealt with. 'Shall we start?', I asked him. 'No amma, I want to drive the car', he said. 'Do your homework and then go out to play.'
Time stopped still. I had just crossed another milestone as a parent and had joined millions of hapless mothers as they said the exact same words to their kids across the country, probably across the world just by speaking that one sentence. Fat moms, thin moms, young moms, old moms all saying the same words in many different tongues. There were probably thousands of them saying it that very minute. How many irritating times had I heard my own mother say them? Sometimes threatening, sometimes cajoling, always persuading, bargaining. Life has indeed come a full circle.
Kuttan gave me a scorching glare but settled down to write nevertheless. Today our mission was to write a page full of standing lines. He wrote approximately three-fourth. Of the line, not the page. 'I'm bored, I have finished my homework. I am going to drive my car.' Quietly kept the pencil down and crossed his arms and glared at me. I glared back. Hubby intervened. 'Let him go, you dont want to put him off homework forever, do you? I'll get him to do it later.'
The page still remains blank and I am sure we will have another page to finish today. This battle of wills has just begun. I am looking forward to, oh not much, just about another eighteen odd years of it.