Tuesday, November 04, 2008

LG at School : First Day, First Hour

After visiting every play school in the vicinity, I finally made up my mind to send LG to one closer to home that satisfied most of my criteria.

Since I'd decided only the evening before, it meant last minute shopping for water bottle, snack box and getting the clothes in order. It's not exactly like the first day at a new job though it pretty much seemed like one for me. I had called the lady who runs the school that we would come by 10:00 a.m. for registration. All along I had conjured up images of this being an eventful moment for Lil' General with The Seniol and I driving him to school on the first day, waiting in the lobby whiling away time in the company of a few magazines while he spent carefree moments away from the eagle-eyed mom. I had imagined how we would be dressed in our best, with pictures taken of LG as he got ready for his first day so as to show him when he grew up - not quite liking graduating from Harvard but what the heck - it's these small moments that you live for!

But none of that was meant to happen. The day turned out to be a pretty ordinary one but will always be equally memorable to me. I don't have any pictures from the day; what will stay with me will be these words recounting the experiences of last Thursday - LG's first day at school. He made it easy for himself and me by getting up early as usual and going about his routine in order - with milk, potty and brushing session, a walk in the pram, quick shower, breakfast and we were all set by 9:30 a.m. It was an unusually hectic morning for me with the cook on leave and the maid turning in late; which meant my hands were working overtime and I was flying around the house doing laundry, fixing breakfast for everyone, cooking lunch considering I would return home only by afternoon with LG and his lunch needed to be ready when we got back. As if it weren't enough, the car started acting up and I couldn't risk driving him. The servicing guy for pick-up who was supposed turn up later in the afternoon showed up early morning, so he had to be accommodated in the short window available. Sometimes it amazes me as to how much work gets done when you have to be somewhere. Otherwise, work just expands to fill all the time and I'm left wondering what I had been up to the whole morning.

Both of us were all set to leave home by 9:30 a.m. with a bright red bag in tow and neat handkerchief clipped to the favorite blue-and-red shirt. I can't say with much conviction if LG really understood what was in store. I had prepared him all morning saying we were going to school where he would play, meet akkas, auntys and that we would get back home by afternoon. I can't gather what he made of this. We made the eventful ride on our ever faithful 'chotu' scooty. The moment we entered the school to the smiling face of the lady, LG was only too happy to leave my hands to rush to the cycles parked by the side of the lawn. I stopped by to see if he would turn back or join me after the initial excitement died. He didn't and it did break my heart for a moment. The lady ushered me in as we completed the formalities in the next 10 minutes. I wanted to stay back and I did; not because I thought LG would miss me for lose himself in the new environment but I knew I would miss him; the thought of going back home alone wasn't exciting. Those were the longest 2 hours I've waited anywhere and the fastest I've read in a long time. 3 magazines - 2 issues of Week and 1 issue of Outlook Money - back to back in 2 hours! In the hurry to get out of home, I forgot to take along books to keep me entertained while I waited. The lady was kind enough to fetch a few recent issues of some magazines and I figured if I finished them all as soon as I can, it would be time for LG to go home.

I saw very little of him through the two hours. The lady suggested if he knew I was around, he would expect the same every morning and it was a good idea to stay out of sight. I did steal glances once in a while when he was out playing in the lawn on the cycle. I had made a small aloo paratha for his snack that the lady struggled to give. LG resisted as he'd had a heavy breakfast. And I learned my first lesson - always to give a lighter snack preferably a fruit. Having never eaten from anyone else other than me , I wondered if they would have the patience to feed him. It's probably this insecurity that makes me ensure he has a good breakfast before stepping out every morning.

He played by himself the entire time that he was at school while the other seasoned kids went about their routine playing games, singing rhymes together. The lady reasoned it takes kids about a week to settle down and get over the enthusiasm of experiencing new things.

A few kids started early for home - at 11:45 a.m. Was I surprised to see our young man standing in line along with kids much older than him? This is when I couldn't resist and I stepped out. He was so happy to see me that he came running only to go back inside for yet another ride on the slide. This was more than enough to let me know that he had a good time. LG doesn't talk yet; I make an extra effort to draw meaning from his actions about how he feels - the smile after he got back home, the sleeplessness in afternoon from the excitement of being at school, the urge to cling on to is bag, the long face on knowing we were leaving school, and the happy good-byes!

In all, it was more than a perfect beginning. The only regret was The Seniol's absence. And I hope we can make up for that when he starts Big School next June!