My daughter and I returned from a fabulous summer trip to Ahmedabad, just a few days before the school was going to restart. And, our spirits were quite high. That’s usually the case when you come back from your mom’s house, or your nani’s house.
After coming back, it was time to get back things in order for the first day of school – buying a new uniform (as the school had introduced a new pattern), black rainy shoes (though why I bothered, when there were no rains, beats me), and arrange a new school van vendor (the same one that my daughter’s friend takes). So, on Sunday evening, before the big day, we were all ready. My daughter and I laid down her uniform, badge, socks, ‘new’ shoes, comb and a box of millet for the hungry pigeons.
The next morning, my daughter woke up early. All through her summer holidays, she woke up quite late, but that morning she needed no prompting. She was awake much before her scheduled time. I could see the excitement in her face – to meet her friends and teachers after more than a month. So, we were ready and waiting by the gate for the van at the said time. She had already fed the grains to the grey and (one) white pigeons, who trusted her and walked around her boldly. While they flapped away as soon as I came even in the periphery of their vision.
My eyes were on the van. White and yellow school buses came and went…and the private vans too. But, there was no sign of her new van. I was stressed, while she was continuously asking me where was her new van, and her friend. I had to take a hasty decision to drop my daughter to the school, I would call the vendor later to find out the reason for his tardiness. Taking an auto rickshaw, we finally reached the school on time. So, the morning of the first day of the school was a little eventful. She came back in the van (apparently, the van guy had forgotten about the new child, and had apologized) with her friend. She had a big smile on her face.
The same evening, I enrolled her for gymnastics class in preparation for the impending rains, when she would not be able to play in the garden, and would still need to use up her energy.
So far so good. The next morning was uneventful, everything went off smoothly as it was supposed to. In the evening however, while playing in the garden, my daughter fell down from the monkey bar, and landed on her hand. She cried out from pain. There was a swelling on her hand. I rubbed some ice. Her pain subsided a little, and she went off to sleep. The next morning, the swelling hadn’t reduced. I knew that was a bad omen. I rushed to the doctor, got an X-ray done…and came to know she had a hairline fracture near her left wrist. The poor girl got a plaster of 15 days on her hand. A big heavy white plaster. The plaster also meant one thing – No School for fifteen days.
Well, my daughter was happy. As much as you love your school friends and teachers, you love the holidays more. It was a universal truth, and my daughter wasn’t immune to it. So, only the third day of school, and my daughter was already on another vacation, an unexpected one though.
Her class teacher was very supportive, and gave me a brief on the school work she could do at home. She uses her right hand to write, so it is a relief that she can catch up with most of her school assignments. Her friends come to meet her and cheer her up. They draw cute little doodles on her white plaster, and my daughter cherishes them.
I see these fifteen days as an opportunity to spend more time and catch some more bonding moments with my daughter. We wake up late as we did in the summer holidays, and though it’s a task to make her bathe and wash her long hair, we manage it somehow. She uses her time to play with her toys, do her school assignments, and watch TV. In the evening, she goes to the garden, and though she cannot actively participate in the games, she can watch her friends play. Her gymnastic class has been banned though for at least a month, or till the doctor gives her the green signal.
In these ten days of her hand encased in a bulky plaster, I have realized that children are tougher than we give them credit for. Not once has she complained about the situation…and only on one occasion when her hand was really paining, she hasn’t cried or been a bad sport about it – something we, elders seriously need to learn. And the best part is, she is not afraid of going back to the monkey bar.
“Mama, I will climb again, but will take care not to fall down on my hand this time,” she says with a confident smile.
My little strong girl. That’s the spirit of a child. Indomitable.
My husband and I have also not discouraged her from hanging from the monkey bar in the future.
Falling and getting hurt are a part and parcel of growing up. Kids get hurt all the time, and get over it. The main thing is to not let the fear of getting hurt take control of their actions. A happy childhood is when parents teach their children not to feed their fears and to learn to control them. A khuljaaye bachpan is when kids are confident in their decisions, and own up their actions.