So it has come to pass that the monster has school only up to 11 am these days. For the entire week (and some). Preliminary to a two week vacation for Diwali.
On Monday, I did not realise this fact. I went as usual to get her at noon. She was forlornly sitting alone in one of the other classes. Well, not alone exactly. Some other kids were around, as were all the sundry aunties and teachers that constitute the school. The teachers were polite enough to tell me that she was well entertained and that many parents came an hour late, so I was not the only idiot around the place. Suitably chagrined nevertheless, I went on overdrive from Tuesday.
I showed up bright and early to get her back. She jumped off the steps and held my hands. Now, by any stretch of the imagination, 11 am is not a time one can start lunch break. There is just no way I could argue that one out in my head. I was reluctant to take her to the creche - over the past two months, we have been eating lunch at home, and I have begun to really enjoy it, although it IS a test of my patience. I am loathe to start the whole business of packing dabbas for the both of us in the mornings. I am getting shivers thinking of eating alone in my office from my sad old plastic box. I am positive that I would rather eat lunch with my daughter than anyone else (despite the crazy things she gets up to).
So, I did what I thought was the best possible thing. I took her to my office. Today I went one up. I had the driver fetch her from the school and bring her to my office (which is about 100 yards away from her school), while I finished up my lecture. So the past two days, we have spent about an hour and half in my office together, with the idea that I would get caught up on some work or meetings, and she would, well, just hang out and colour or something.
I have four highlighter pens in my office - pink, yellow, green, and blue. She invariably makes the sky, with a sun peeping out, and grass on the ground that has sprouted flowers. This drawing has already adorned my white board several times. I strictly told her that she may NOT make the same one again. So that occupied her for about ten minutes. She made some pink houses, with classic triangular roofs and rectangular bodies and square windows, you know, the kind of house that she has NEVER seen in her life, in this concrete jungle of looming skyscrapers.
And then it began. I was in the MIDDLE of a meeting when I felt something, such as the head of a cobra perhaps, loom over my head. I looked up to see the child perched on the back of my chair and about to launch. I excused myself and tried to get her to behave and sit down with her colours. Nope. I managed to continue the meeting, although in a highly distracted manner, only to find her walking across my three tables. Of course, with her sandals off, flung on the ground. I was slightly embarassed but in a way glad too as the person who I was talking to by that point of time, seemed to have the intention of spending half an hour with me if it killed him. I had long run out of things to tell him (about the marathon; why this topic is a relevant one for a half an hour discussion in the middle of my work days is anyone's guess. The man is some 75 years old, it is hard enough for me to be rude to younger people...).
My table started thudding. The computer, my brand new Sony Vaio, already in bad enough shape, was first on the casualty list. My also brand new HP All in One printer, a close second. Thankfully I managed to avert disaster, and wrap up and shut down and head home. Counting the positives, in all that time, she utterred not a single word; not a solitary sound came out of her mouth. But for all the world to see, I have given birth to a monkey; a climber of office desks; a destroyer of delicate electronic items.
As I am typing this, the self-same person is peering over my shoulders. Actually, she is sitting shoulder to shoulder with me, occasionally leaning into me. I suspect she has read some of this, for sure, she has gleaned what this whole thing is about. So here is the promise STRAIGHT from the horse's mouth
"Tomorrow I will sit quietly in my chair and read my books, do my homework, or draw and colour something"
Oh well. Tomorrow is another day. I have faced worse embarassments in my life for sure!!