Till that day, I bragged to BH, that Bunni was a good student. She loves going to school and she has never ever felt bad or cried to go to school. I jinxed it. Badly. Very badly. I realized later.
Bunni: Tomorrow, I will be absent.
Me (Shocked): Why do you want to be absent?
Bunni: Because so many of my friends remain absent.
Me: If somebody is ill, or if you have an important work to do which cannot be done after school hours or if you need to visit someone without delay, you should take an off. Else you shouldn’t miss going to school.
She listened, very still, like I was telling a fascinating fairy tale. She did not say anything. I thought that she is convinced.
That day, while she was getting down from her school bus, she said, “Amma, Tomorrow, I will be absent.”
Me (annoyed): What? I think I told you when you can miss your school.
Bunni: Tomorrow, I will have fever.
Me: Oh baby. Don’t say that. You are a strong girl. No illness can touch you.
Bunni: Then, it is my birthday tomorrow. There will be a party at home. So, I will be absent tomorrow.
Me: First, it is not your birthday tomorrow. Second, I am sure you would love to wear new color dress to school on your birthday and take chocolates for your friends.
Bunni: Oh.. Yes. I had forgotten the date today.
That night, I told her stories and we recited a few shlokas before she slipped into slumber. She suddenly woke up and said, “Amma, tomorrow one day, I will be absent.” I was a little bothered this time. I wanted to know if there was some other reason behind her repeated requests of being absent at school. I did not want to ignite her crankiness at this time. I just smiled and patted her to sleep.
The next day, I diverted her with exciting stories and fun-activities while she got ready to school. And she got into the school bus happily. There was no hesitation, or change in her expression when she got into the school bus. I met her teacher that day, and asked how she was at school. Teacher said that she was a good student and had no problems. I saw her class-work books. I met a few of her friends. There was no sign of any hitch.
Apart from those conversations, her behaviour had not changed. She wasn’t morose. She did not exhibit any negative changes. I was kind of relieved after doing all the necessary checks. Then, I thought I should give her the silent treatment the next time she brings up the topic.
That day, while she was doing her homework,
Bunni: “Amma, I will be absent tomorrow.”
I could not stop myself asking, “Why do you want to be absent?” I wanted to be double sure that nothing is wrong.
Bunni (gleefully): Just like that. I want to see ‘red ink marked A’ against my name in the attendance register.
What a reason! We stopped the conversation there.
Bunni: Amma, today I will be absent.
Me: I said, not today. Be absent tomorrow and day after tomorrow. [Today being Friday ;) ]
Delighted little girl went to school happily. And when I was helping her get down from the bus after she was back from school, she said.. “I have two pages of homework today, which means tomorrow and day after tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday. I will be absent one more day after that. I will be absent for 3 days!”
And I thought I was very intelligent. Hmmph. I remained silent. I diverted the topic by asking her what all happened at school. She narrated everything in an animated way.
Monday morning, she got ready silently and we were waiting for the school bus. There were no uncomfortable conversations or silent treatment. As soon as the school bus came, she jumped into it and shouted, “Driver uncle, tomorrow I will not come to school. So, you need not come here. Aunty, remind driver uncle tomorrow not to stop here.” The aaya of bus looked at me; Muted by her unexpected bouncer, I just winked to convey that she was kidding. After she came back from school, she said, “I will be absent tomorrow, if I tell you, you will remain silent. So, I have told driver uncle and also ma’am that I will not be coming to school tomorrow. If driver uncle does not come, you cannot send me. If ma’am does not teach, there is no use going to school. (Awww. That innocence!).
I smiled at her and said, “But you are a good girl. You will not miss your lessons.” That statement somehow made her happy. So, I survived that day.
Next morning, while I was dressing her up,
Bunni: Amma, I will be absent to school today please.
Me (exhausted): Since you are a good girl, you will not miss going to school.
Bunni: Today I will be a bad girl.
Me (Recovering from that bombshell): But, I know that you are a good girl, you cannot be a bad girl.
Bunni: Ammaaaa, I am a good girl even if I am a bad girl sometimes. Nobody can be a good girl all the time. Take for example Appa, he tells me that he will be a good boy with me if I behave like a good girl. But when I do something bad, he says he will become a bad boy to me. Can I call Appa a bad boy just because he is so when I am bad?
My feet had turned cold by that reply. How on earth can she come up with this? What can I answer? She had given a big funda of life actually which she may not have realized the depth of. By the time I could open my tightly zipped mouth, she smelt Maggi and ran into the kitchen saying that she wants to eat it and said “Give that tasty breakfast quickly! Or I will miss my school bus!”
|Bunni - With her bestie.. |
Waiting for the school bus
No matter how much they can drive you crazy, you love them for what they are. This little thing will be five years soon. I cannot visualize what mental challenges we are going to face as parents. But she lights up our life inside-out constantly with such sparkling conversations.