“Mumma, why do I have to go to school?” asks my seven year-old in his sleepy voice while I was drying his hair with a towel. He hates bathing this early, but I insist on developing an early morning bathing habit, because, I believe taking showers first thing in the morning is a good way to start the day. First, it helps take away the grogginess that one feels after waking up, and second, you leave the house feeling fresh and clean. “Mumma, why do I have to go to school every day?” He reiterates impatiently.
“Uhu! Please don’t start that again. We have discussed this last week also. Remember?” I said while combing his damp hair, his soft cheeks safely secured in my hands…Gosh how cute and adorable he looks! I thought, while stealing a quick glance at his face.
“But why going to school is so important?” he asked again with a slightly frowning expression on his face this time.
Uh-oh! He has sensed that my tender heart is overflowing with motherly emotions right now and that’s why he is trying to take advantage of my situation. He is a smart kid after all and there is no way I can get away without answering him. Phew! Kids these days are so cunning. Anyway, since the affectionate mother in me is brimming with emotions today, let me quickly plant a peck on his cheeks first.
“Well, for starters you have to go to school to learn to read and write properly,” I replied while tying his shoelaces.
“But I already know how to read and write in two languages, you know,” he pouted and folded his tiny hands on his chest. I know this expression….he is a stubborn kid of a very stubborn mother….won’t give up questioning until he gets a satisfactory answer.
“In fact, I know all the basics,” he added in a loud voice while stressing heavily on the word ‘basics’.
“Basics….” Gotcha! Now this was my turn to scrunch my eyebrows and throw the question right back at him. I enjoy troubling him sometimes…..watching him think and search for the right answers is such a delight. And, like all mothers, it fills me with great pride to see and hear my super-articulate child putting forth every sentence in an argument with such gusto. Ah motherhood is such a joyful experience!
“Basics mean reading or writing sentences and adding and subtracting numbers. Aren’t these the basics that everyone should know? I have already learnt these things, Mumma,” he retorts, looking visibly exasperated at his mom’s inability to figure out what the ‘basics’ of education entail. “By the way, I also know how to multiply numbers now,” he states proudly.
“Hmm,” I replied while pushing his favourite Doraemon bowl of milk, sugar and chocolate-flavoured cereals towards him.
“What hmm…..do you know, even Einstein never went to school…yet he became one of the biggest scientists of all time.”
I am stumped. I have to come up with a smart answer…. quick. Ahem….I cleared my throat and continued, “Well, as far as I know, he did go to school till he turned 15.”
“Okay, then what about Bill Gates? You told me he is a very rich man…owner of some big computer company, right”
“Sweetheart, Bill Gates dropped out of college not school. In fact, he excelled in almost all the subjects in his school, you know.” Ah, finally feeling a little relieved after giving him the perfect reply I could ever think of. Kudos…. to myself, of course 😛
“And, poet Tagore? You said he never liked going to school either.” Psst….there he goes…again. Oh, my smartass kid! Will you ever stop? Please. It is 7 am and I am tired already.
“Well, he…was….home….school..e…d,” I had to stop mid-sentence because I could hear the familiar oh-so-sweet sound of his school bus approaching our housing complex. Yay, finally!
“Okay, your bus has arrived, come on let’s rush downstairs now, or you will miss the bus,” I said, relieved that the barrage of questions has finally stopped.
He gave me a sad look, making no effort to hide his dissatisfaction over the answers I gave. And, the furrowed eyebrows were back again 🙂