Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Impostor at the School Gate

Act One

I arrive at school for my first ever Open House with Ayaan’s teachers. I wait my turn on the bench just outside the classroom where they are meeting the parents, one at a time. I can’t help but notice that some parents are in there longer than others and the teachers look sterner with some of them. Given the hyperactive brat I have for a son, I am sure I am going to be in for a long, stern session.

When my turn comes, I walk in nervously. I was never a teacher’s pet (quite the opposite) so I am still a little scared of teachers and especially when I am in full expectation of a talking-to. I sit down and introduce myself.

Me: Hello. I am Ayaan’s mother

Teacher 1: (in a gushing sort of voice) My, you have such a lovely, lovely child…

I just about manage to keep myself from falling off the chair and saying ‘Really?’ in an incredulous voice. I wonder if they’ve got my son mixed up with someone else’s...

Me: Er… right. But naughty, no?

Teacher 2: No, no… I wouldn’t use the word naughty. He’s playful. Just as he ought to be at this age.

By this time, I am in deep shock and vivid memories flash before my eyes – of my pen drive being launched from the fifth floor balcony, of the wallpaper in his room being systematically destroyed, of our new clothes stand being broken within a day of its purchase...

Teacher 1: And we don’t mind children being playful. As long as they don’t hit or hurt other children.

Another memory flashes by. We had gone to a friend’s house and Ayaan had picked up a heavy, plastic duck and whacked the other kid with it on his head… I smile at them through a disbelieving haze…

Teacher 1: (after some further gushing about his cute, ‘accented’ Hindi) That’s all. Just encourage him to be a little less aggressive…

Ah! Finally, a word that sounds like it might describe the little boy who lives in my house. I say thank you and walk out in a daze, forgetting to query them on what they mean by aggression and how I can correct it. Anyway, there will be another Open House and hopefully I will be less stunned and more capable of participating in the teacher-parent dialogue…


Act Two

I’m dropping Ayaan to school. A few metres away from the school gate, his eyes alight on a filthy stick lying on the monsoon-drenched ground.

I see him eyeing it. He eyes me eyeing him. And then swoops down to pick it up.

I ask him politely not to pick it up. He picks it up anyway.

I ask him politely to drop it down. He refuses to do anything of the sort.

I ask him again (this time not so politely) to put it down. He remains resolute in his refusal to give up the darned stick.

I tell him that I will get very angry if he doesn’t drop the stick. It makes no difference.

I then try and grab the stick from his hand. He starts to shout and struggle. Overall, not a very dignified mother-son interaction and at the end of it, the stick is still firmly clenched in his fist.

By this time, we are at the school gate and blocking the entrance so I decide to let the matter drop and send him on his way into the school.

The eagle-eyed teacher at the gate immediately notices the stick. I see her calmly bend down and say something to him. He puts the stick down on the ground without a murmur and walks off into school.

I pick my lower jaw up from the muddy ground and head off to work…


  1. hehehe!!

    i am sure our parents have plenty of stories about how we behaved like angels just when they were telling someone what brats we are!! :p

    my mom was thrilled when my teacher told her that i was quite naughty much to the disdain of my teacher! ;)

    apparently i was totally shaant baccha at home!! hehe!!


    so its just his another side i guess!



  2. ask her what she said to him!

  3. lol! ayaan sounds exactly like what Bonbon will be in a couple of years. you know, i'm already dreading the open house thingy so you can imagine how my little girl is.

    btw, i wonder what the teacher said to him. pls to find out...the suspense will kill me. not to mention that it sounds like a great weapon to add to the parenting arsenal ;)

  4. What did she say? What did she?? I am totally panicked....I have a rowdy growing up in my house and I need all the help I can, to not raise my voice or whack his bottom, when he gets into "the mood".

  5. Loved the Act Two. I now have some hope for my daughter :). There will be someone whom she will listen to.
    About the Act One, do we underestimate our children?

  6. LOL! it's as if they assume a separate secret identity once they cross the school gate.

    Have the same issue with the rogue monkey. her teachers think she is the quietest, saintliest creature around and only we know what a ROGUE we have at home.

    had a big smile on my face imagining the struggle for the stick :)

  7. Well, it's true, we teachers do have that effect :) Probably something to do with the fact that we aren't living with our students??? !!

  8. [Mamma-mia] Well, all said and done, I am happier it's this way. If he took his monstrous side to school, I'd really be worried...

    [Mumbaigirl/ Noodlehead/ Shobana] Well, I didn't ask but I think she just told him to put it down. I suspect it was the source rather than the content of the message that made all the difference...

    [CoS] I think it's less about underestimation than forgetting that people often beahve differently at work and home. I know that I am quite a different person at home from what I am at work. I guess the differentiation starts earlier than we think...

    [Aqua] I know. Like most things that he does that drive me up the wall at the time, it is kind of funny in hindsight.

    [Hillgrandmom] True :-)

  9. Ayaan Jekyll and Ayaan Hyde!
    These kids have far more facets to their personalities than we'll ever be aware of, methinks!

  10. hahahahahaha. hey as a mom, I am much better behaved outside than at home :)

  11. Hi, hv been reading ur blog for quite a time ...its like reading abt ayaan as he grows year by year...hats off to u for managing everything including your & ayaan's time so coolly..hv added u to my blog...is it ok wd u??
    btw..do let us know wat the teacher said to ayaan?..:)

  12. Funnylarious!

    Great read.

  13. why else do u think i have li'l a out in school all day long ?? :)

  14. catchin up on the london series now

  15. [Dipali] Yup, and this at the ripe old age of three!

    [Dottie] LOL! That's the subject for another post altogether!!!

    [Tintin] Hey, thanks for de-lurking and linking. I don't think the teacher did anything more than just asking him to put it down. I guess her word carried more weight :(

    [Nikhil] Thanks :-)

    [Orchid] ;-)

  16. Rohini, I've heard that kids save their tantrums and "bad behavior" for home because they are most comfortable there. So if Ayaan acts up with you, it's really because he loves you most. How's that for some consolation? :))

  17. See? So he is so not the brat you paint him to be ;) I can imagine how much taller you feel after this meeting, good job mommy!

  18. I'm a dad. And I can totally relate to your post. How do we control our brats, who are like mutants with enhanced IQ and cunning. And the teacher tells us he's a fine 3 year old (which he is, don't get me wrong, only with an uncanny ability to push his mom and dad's buttons). Sigh!

  19. in case you didn't know, they always listen to the teachers...:D

  20. i am told anush is very observant and quiet in school !!

    act 2 was priceless- some magic wand the teachers have

  21. yeah. actually i dont recognise the brat when i go to school. his face is set with this calm look that i am unfamiliar with...

  22. I can totally relate to these incidents. My Apple is the same way..naughty , headstrong, tantrum prone at home...quiet, obedient, shy outside.

  23. LOL!
    and echoing muser.

  24. I like the sound of this school, yeah.

  25. LOL! Nicely described Ro!

  26. hey rohini visited your blog after a long time, really enjoyed it. i'd like to ask you about the whole schooling thing actually, so would be great if you either emailed me (manjimab@gmail.com) or let me know how to contact you. thanks!

  27. This is the part about being a mom that just seems so unfair, doesn't it?

    They know our buttons. They know exactly how to push them. And they do it at every opportunity.


    Glad I'm not the only one.

    Hugs, you.