Reality check

Around the same time last year was when THIS happened. Now, K is away yet again, for more than a month this time, and we are back to the Skyping business. So last evening, with great difficulty, I managed to make Pattani sit in one spot so that he could talk to Appa over Skype on my phone. And just as Appa came online, Pattani was smothering me with baby hugs. Needless to say, Appa was instantly drowned in homesickness and I was not helping matters by flaunting the advertisement-level display of affection by Pattani. Indignant, he called out to him – Pattani, Appa va vandhu katti konjiko! We Skype with my parents once in a while, despite all of us living in the same city and seeing each other every week. Grandparents can seldom have enough of their grandchild. Everytime mum or dad tell him – Kattiko!, he immediately scoops up the iPad in his arms and gives it a tight hug. Virtual affection at its cutest :). And yesterday, when Appa made the demand, the bub gave the phone one long look, grinned and went – Nenaa! Adhu Appa illa. Adhu chone! And he rushed off to play! Do babies HAVE to grow up ? 😦
*chone = phone. As is choto = photo. Mazhalai, don’t go away. Pretty please ?

Pattani now goes to “playschool”. I typed that out in the hope that it would help me get over my disbelief that still lurks despite the fact that it’s been more than a month already. And I want to put it down here because the transition from day 1 has been so huge that now, it almost seems like Day 1 never happened.

We had been conditioning him for many months before he actually started going so that he’d learn to think of it as a fun place where he could play with other kids his age. The only catch was that he imagined we would be part of the fun too. So, he was quite inconsolable when we bid him goodbye on day 1. I was prepared for this to an extent but all the same, it was heartbreaking to see that baby, still shy of 2 years, to be taken away from the comfort and familiarity of home for 3 hours. The whole of first week was like this – we would talk to him very encouragingly about school every night to prep him up, he would turn enthusiastic, then the hesitation would start creeping in the next morning as we got him ready and would blow out into full-fledged crying which would flatten any out any attempts at consolation. I must take a moment now to put down that the playschool Pattani goes to is pretty unconventional and run by this wonderful lady (calling her PP here), who takes in just a handful of kids and does the most awesome job of keeping them engaged and teaching them values that I hope they’ll carry for a lifetime. I think I should do a separate post on stuff he does in school. So, getting back to week 1, the minute I entered home from office, I would ask him – Pattani, enna ma pannina iniku school la? And he’d go – amma, amma ayuden. Vera enna panna ? Amma amma ayuden. I couldn’t get out another word about school and started second guessing myself despite PP assuring us that it would take a while, but definitely get better. Week 2 was much better – he’d cry for a while as soon as we dropped him off , but settle down quickly and busy himself with activities there. But his stock response at home remained unchanged – Enna ma pannina iniku school la ? Amma amma ayuden. Things slowly fell into a pattern and he was visibly excited at the prospect of going there every morning. We were kept abreast of happenings and his activities there, and about other kids who came there by PP, but Pattani staunchly stuck to “Amma amma ayuden” every time we asked him about school. By week 3, PP told us that he was not so much as shedding a tear when I dropped him off and almost seemed reluctant to leave when Thatha went to pick him up at noon. “Amma amma ayuden” has since become a standing joke at home. He says that till date, and gives us a cheeky grin. Like he is saying it so that we feel consoled that he does indeed miss us in school. The brat. But I know he has a ball there now, and looks forward to it every morning. It’s hard to get him to bunk school even when he falls sick( I wonder how long this enthusiasm will last).

The prospect of going to PP’s house is the magic wand that helps me achieve the herculean tasks of waking him up, brushing, bathing and feeding him his breakfast in a matter of an hour or so. His bedtime stories mostly involve kids from his playgroup, and when he’s lost in his own world playing with his toys, he is usually heard mumbling some story or shloka that he’s picked up there. BUT if I go closer and ask him to say that again, did PP teach him that? What else did he do at school today? pat comes the answer – “amma amma ayuden”. K and I look at each other and laugh. K reasons – “maybe he needs his privacy and wants to keep his social life off our limits??”  Yeah, right!