Parent-teacher meeting. The concept itself amused me. Yes, I am the kind of parent who gets amused by things that most parents feel are as important as pink silk shirts, if not more. (Pink silk shirts are important. Read this if you don’t believe me.)
So here I was standing outside Ri’s playschool with him, waiting to be called in.
We were finally summoned inside. A young lady – the teacher was waiting for us. I sat with a polite nod. Pause.
Pauses normally cause me great discomfort due to my lack of ability at making small conversation.
My only point of soothe then was watching Ri being extremely at home in the surrounding. He straight walked up to her, hugged her and said, “Baba aaj Rihu ke boke che.” (I got a scolding from Baba today.)
The nice lady gave me smile at that and said, “Your son seems to have settled in fine.”
Was it my imagination or did she really stress on the ‘seems’?
“I am glad,” I replied. “He does throw a tantrum at home about not going to school, nonetheless.” I said.
“Oh, all the children do that.” she replied. “It’s a matter of time, he will be alright.”
I nodded and smiled back.
She showed me a workbook then. “This is his book,” she said.
It was one of those colouring and puzzle books. I flipped the pages and was quite surprised to see that it was quite well coloured. There were some accurate match the followings as well.
“He has done them all,” she said.
“The match the figures as well,” I asked.
“Yes. All by himself.” She replied.
That did astonish me a bit. While Ri is a smart kid and can identify colours, letters and numbers, he surely does not have the hand coordination to draw a straight line between two figures to match them.
I stared back at the lady with a probing look. “Well, we do help him out a bit,” she said apparently shuffling on her feet.
“Everything else is great about Ri,” she said, “Except one little problem.”
I looked at her with raised eyebrows.
“He refuses to speak in English,” she said.
“Erm... yes, he has multilingual exposure. He is exposed to Hindi and English by us, his parents. And there is bit of Marathi from his grandparents – my parents. But the maximum time he spends is with his grandmother and his baby-sitter. And hence, the presentation to Bengali is the highest.” I said. “I am sure he will learn with time.” I added.
“He will have a problem getting into a regular school,” she argued. “When they ask him question and he does not answer them back in English, it will be difficult.” She added further.
I kept quite. I did not want to be the disagreeing parent. I know for sure though, that schools do not question children anymore for admissions. They interview the parents. So, I knew that it was not a valid argument.
“Let me give you an example,” she said. When we showed him a picture of a brinjal and told him that this was an egg plant. He just refused. He insisted that it was a begoon. (Begoon is brinjal in Bengali)”
I suppressed a smile but I guess the lady noticed my smirk. That probably infuriated her a bit.
She exclaimed with added zest, “Let me tell you one more incident. We showed him a cat and asked Ri, “what is this?” He replied, “Myaao!” We said, “No, it is a cat”. He again refused and insisted that it was a Myaao.”
Ri, who was by then sitting next to me, listening to the conversation, started saying Myaao Myaao repeatedly.
The lady seemed obviously irritated at that. I thanked her; bid her good bye and rushed out of the room with Ri.
I knew had I stayed any longer the nice lady would probably have ended up shrieking – Your son is a Myaaoist. Your son is a Myaaoist.
PS. Ri understands English. I regularly read out books in English to him. We also speak to him in English. I am quite sure it’s just a matter of time before he starts speaking the language himself.
PPS. Once home, I drew a set of matching figures and numbers. He answered accurately but could not draw a straight line to join the matched together.
This post was crossposted here.