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My three and half year old daughter loves going to school. However, even she finds it difficult to get over Monday blues at times. On one such Monday morning, she was a sleepy head after bath and even after getting dressed up in her favorite frock (I had to find something exciting for her to stop the whining). There was a loop of, "Mumma, I want to sleep" echoing in the house. I behaved calm, witty, silently angry and even deaf. But that seemed to make no difference to her. Still, I put that good mommy smile and took her to the bus stop, narrating extempore stories on the way to distract her. Thankfully, her mood changed just a few seconds before the bus arrived. But it wasn't over.
"Mumma, poo poo!" said she. She had skipped a part of her morning routine during the recent drama.
"What? Now?" I asked her crossing my fingers in my mind.
"Hmmmm" came the answer.
"Just get on the bus. You will reach school in ten minutes. Then Aayamma will take you to the loo." I literally pleaded, very conveniently forgetting the first instruction that I had given her during toilet training - to go immediately when you feel like going.
"Noooooo. I want to go to washroom at home." It was very tempting to yell and use force to make her get on that bus. But I acted like a saint and asked the bus to leave. Although she has a new tantrum to her credit quite often, she never pretends. But the angry me in my head still said, "She did it on purpose!".
I simply turned around and said, "If you would have stopped crying and been to the loo at home, we would not have to miss the bus. Why can't you listen to me?" She sensed my anger but did not speak up and made that cute kitten face.
Yes I could drop her on my scooter or take a cab (both rides to and fro would take about 45 minutes and I am yet to learn to drive that car) or ask non early riser hubby to drop her (on most mornings, he looks after our younger one who is usually asleep during that time while being asleep himself :p) All that seemed cumbersome.
We rushed home. She finished her thing. By this time I had realised that it wasn't fake and had mellowed down. "She's just a kid. How could have she avoided that nature's call! I need to take it easy with her."
I called a cab. On the way to school, I hugged her all the way to do away with that guilt. "Sorry Mumma" she said innocently. I really wanted her to think that there was nothing wrong in what had happened. "Its okay honey. That's not your fault. You had to go so you had to go. Besides, aren't you enjoying the cab ride with Mumma?" She gave me the happiest smile and we reached school.
The next morning, my alarm was set to go at 6.40 am. But it didn't. Or maybe it did and the lazy me in my head dismissed it. I rose from my bed like a jack in the box at 7.45 am. It was already too late to make my girl ready and catch the bus in fifteen minutes. It was the second day of feeling guilty in a row. I decided not to take that marathon and said to my baby with an angel face, "Sorry beta. Mumma did not wake up on time today. Your bus must have left already. Lets take a cab again."
"That's ok Mumma. I love to go in the cab with you." She said without a speck of disappointment, unlike what I had first done yesterday. I felt ashamed and proud at the same time.
She could have copied that part of my behaviour in which I was a rigid person who blamed her at the first instant. But she chose to imitate the considerate, logical and optimistic bit of my role the previous day.
"All of us goof up. At times helplesslessly and at some other times purposefully. Its all part of being human. But then, why do we expect our children to behave in the most idealistic way all the time? How fair is that?" I posed this question to myself that morning. And while I am writing this post, I am giving a reminder to myself to keep this learning in mind all the time; a learning I received when we missed the school bus two days in a row.