[Warning: Long post, non-parents and disinterested men - please excuse!]
Pari had her Annual Day last Saturday, and as is the norm in this house, the parents were over-excited and hyper-ventilating while the child was calm and contained like a seasoned zen-practitioner. Since her last annual day is also so fresh in memory, mostly due to repeated watchings of the recording, a comparison seems inevitable. I had not done a post on that one owing to severe disappointment and a major heartbreak, and this looks like an opportune time to reflect on that as well.
To begin with, last year was Pari's first year in the montessori, and there was no dress code for her. This was a real sticky situation to be in because it meant that we could dress her up just anyway we wished and hence triggered a mad rush for the best possible dress. My heart was set on dressing her in a white satin and net frock, similar to one she had as a baby. Yes, I am superficial like that. We spent 2 long evenings checking out almost every shop of repute that stocked children's apparel, but couldn't find anything even close to what we had in mind. Pari ended up wearing a dress that was already part of her wardrobe. This year, she is among the older lot and was instructed to wear black tights with a plain, bright-coloured t-shirt without any logo or design. This wasn't easy either. With a reasonable effort we could get tights in her size but the shirt was very very difficut to find, specially because her size is so small. To cut a very long story short, we went to almost 40 shops over 3 days and couldn't find an absolutely plain T for her. Finally settled down for a UCB collared T, with the logo in silver. Thankfully they make their logos small and so it wasn't very conspicous.
The following noteworthy conversation happened during the marathon shopping session-
On entering the mall
Pari: Mumma, the smell of french fries is coming.
Me: Hmm.. okie. I'll buy you some. (Get her FF.)
As we enter a huge store
Pari: Mumma, the smell of toys is coming.
I don't know what toys smell like, but Pari sure has a sharp nose. The other day, I gave her khichdi, she remarked - Mumma, this is yummy. It smells of so much ghee.
So much for the deviation.. Pari defined 'Pink Saree' as the dress code for mumma, and mumma complied with it very sincerely. Papa was free to wear anything he fancied, who looks at men anyways and even a child as young as Pari knows it. I woke up on the D day with a stiff body, probably because of the anxiety. I remember similar symptoms before the annual day last year too. Flashback begins - Pari would repeat what looked like the script of some children's play, sing multiple songs with some random dance, get into yoga positions and all such things. We were happy to believe that she is participating in a big way. However, on the annual day, all she did was recite some nursery rhymes. Immediately after the rhymes got over, the Principal said - 'Now all the babies come over here', and she very gracefully obliged by moving to a corner with some 10 other tiny tots. The rest of the 1 hr program was taken forward by the older children. Disappointment is a mild word to describe what we felt. And during the course of the program, we realised she had been mouthing lines from the play meant for older children. Flashback Over!
This time around, Pari was actually part of almost all the activities. She is a big child now and the school knows it. She was part of the initial prayers, Yoga demonstration, and danced to Anjaana-Anjaani song with rehearsed actions. In fact, after the program, a couple of moms actually came over to say that she dances well! I think it was really kind of them to observe that, I being a mean mean mom, had eyes only for Pari. Actually I was capturing her on reel and had to zoom in to figure her out well. She is still tiny compared to the other children, and easy to loose in a group performance. And then there was the Gruffalow play. She played a snake there, trying to prey on a mouse. It was hilarious in more ways than one. Since the mouse was the central creature with lots of lines to remember and blurt out, it was played by a child in UKG. All the children playing predators to the mouse, like the owl, snake and such were actually nursery kids, half the size of the mouse. And just before the play began, the Principal came over and instructed the children to just say their lines, and not the other child's. That was some comic relief.
We returned home a very happy and proud family. Husband immediately sat down to finalize the DVD, so that copies could be made and distributed to anxious grandparents, aunts and uncles of the child. He kept the handycam for finalization on the dining table and sternly warned Pari and me to keep off the table lest we shake the handycam, only to bump into it himself seconds later. The copying got interrupted and we had to restart it. Once it was done, we played it in the DVD player only to realise that the DVD wasn't working. I started screaming at the poor man for spoiling my child's annual day recording. You see, I had not enjoyed her performance live because I was so keen on preserving it for posterity. And he had spoiled it all by bumping in the table and shaking the handycam. In his defence, the husband suggested that probably the DVD player is not working. How I hoped this would be the case! However, it did not play on his laptop as well. The happy family turned into a warring family and lot of melodrama ensued. Luckily, my laptop could play it, and saved us from an imminent divorce.
PS. Whoever has shown the courage to go through this mammoth post, will be rewarded with the pics of the Annual day in the next post, hopefully!