Posted in Celebration, Parenting, School, Wins

A Date With Elsa


R is crazy about all things Frozen. It has been her favourite movie since she first watched it. She has watched it so many times, she knows every line in the movie by heart. When she is not watching the movie, she is reading the book. When she is watching the movie, she has the book open in front of her comparing scenes to pages. She dresses up in blue dresses every chance she gets and has me braiding her hair every single day. She pretends to be Elsa and even has everyone at her daycare is used to greeting her with “Good morning, Elsa” each morning.

One Friday morning, she said she wanted to wear the red and cream dress aka her “Anna dress” because she was going to be Anna. I was surprised that she chose this day, of all days, to be Anna. We were going to watch the free screening of Frozen on a big screen, under the stars in the evening. There was going to be a ‘Meet-and-greet with Elsa’ too. The rest of the day, she told everyone she was going to meet Elsa that evening.

Just as I started to pack my bag at work, people came at me from all sides. As it happens. Of course, the one day you have to leave early, your manager must approach you with an issue that is urgent and needs to be resolved without delay. Of course, you’re the only person who can come up with all the important information required to make life and death decisions. I manage to ward off all the issues, in true ninja style, and arrived at the childcare center with just enough time that we would still make it to the showground and meet Elsa.

Her friend A’s parents had decided to come along with us and had just arrived too. Calmly and as if it was just another day, they were picking up A. A was telling me that her mum had a surprise for her. On the other hand, there I was, excited and hurried, hair flying, clothes flaring and arms flailing. I grabbed R and told her we must rush, told A that I had a surprise for her too and we’d see her in an hour. Normally I’d like to pretend that it’s the life of a working mom trying to make the best of work and be supermom, but there was the case of A’s parents. Same gig, but a lot calmer and together. Damn!

By then, I was on too much adrenaline, having left work in a hurried state with my mind running at a 100  miles an hour. Running out of the daycare, R in one hand and dialing with the other, I tried to arrange for R’s dad to pick us up from the train station, to save time. Why was I late while A’s family wasn’t? I couldn’t quite tell. Anyway, we took the train, DH picked us up and we arrived at our destination. R and I jumped out, while he looked for parking. We walked quickly, as I started to dial again, to find A’s family. As usual, multi-tasking. We found Elsa before we found A.

Having waited all day to meet Elsa, I thought R would be excited to see her. I should’ve known better. When has she ever? She was shy. In fact, she was so shy she wanted me to pick her up. I convinced her to stay on the ground. I’d hold her hand. In a while, dad arrived and so did A, with her mum. We joined in the dancing, staying a safe distance from the numerous ‘Elsa’ girls around us. Yeah, there was the DJ who was the pretend Elsa. Then there were the numerous kids, all dressed up in Elsa costumes. Most kids (or their parents) seemed to think the obvious thing to wear to a meet-Elsa event was to dress up in their own Elsa costumes. Mine thought she ought to dress up as Anna, if there was already going to be another claim to the Elsa role. Clever. Different thinking. Interesting, for a kid her age?

So, we danced, got ourselves a candy and then queued up for a photo with the ‘real’ fake Elsa. Kids cuddled her, posed with her and smiled at cameras. R jumped on me and clung to me as if she thought Elsa would bite her. She wanted to go away. She did not want a picture. I knew she would enjoy seeing a picture later but she just wanted to get away from there at the moment. So, we took a picture with Elsa, with R clinging to me for life. Elsa asked for a cuddle but R just wanted to leave as soon as possible. A was quite the poser, cuddling Elsa straightaway and posing with her while her mommy took a couple of photos. I asked R if she was sure she did not want any pictures. She just wanted to leave. I was already looking like the mum who wanted the picture that the kid did not. R was distressed. I decided to let it go, even though I knew she would have loved a picture, in hindsight. I mentioned to A’s mum to never show R the picture of A with Elsa.

Back home, I showed R the photo of her and me with Elsa. She was thrilled! She loved that there was a picture of her with Elsa. Duh!

The girls loved watching the movie on the big screen. We had front row seats too, thanks to both dads who were setting up the picnic rug while us girls were dancing with Elsa. A had only ever watched it on an iPad and her parents had only ever “listened” to the movie from the back seat of the car. R and her dad have watched it numerous times on the big screen TV but nothing like the massive screen, in the open air, lying down next to the grass and chomping on food. Best way to watch a movie, with friends and family. Dreams do come true.

Posted in Parenting, School, Talents

What do you mean by…

As soon as R started talking, we began to wonder how she ever survived the months before she was able to talk. She had so much to say. We were warned that very soon there would be questions, beginning with “Why?”

Then the Why happened. She wanted to know why something was the way it was and for every answer thereafter, she countered with a why. It was easy enough for her, she just had to say “Why” but it was impossible for us to keep up. I tried my best to answer with something such that I had a good answer when the next why came. After a while, I tried to answer so that there just had to be an answer for th next one, didn’t matter how good. Even so, her whys outlived my persistence. I would remind myself it was a phase and be over soon… and keep trying. Her dad gave it 10 seconds and had enough. He started to counter her why with his own why. Sometimes she would say something and he would get on the why wagon straight away. Winning with a headstart. Poor kiddie had no way to turn. Eventually, the why stopped. Whatever the reason, they did and we could move on. 

A couple of days ago, the What started. Her obsession with the movie Frozen and story of Rapunzel are unparalleled. Every morning she asks her hair to be done up in an Elsa braid or Anna hair or Rapunzel braid. Often, I find her looking at the book in deep concentration. One day, I walked past her while she was flipping through a Frozen book when she pointed to a page and mumbled something about Elsa’s attire. She would go on about exactly how many times Rapunzel wore a crown in the movie/book. When we told her the story at bedtime, she’d stay awake to make sure we got the details right. Apparently, she has finished her PhD on the picture details and progressed to dialogues. So as we walk to the train station on the way to work/daycare and back in the evenings, our conversations hover around things someone in one of her books said. 

What do you mean by, “I tried to save her but it was too late?” 

I tried my best to explain. It took a couple of takes. She mulled over it and asked again later; it wasn’t entirely clear.

What does “tries to save her” mean? What does “it was too late mean”?

The next one was…

What do you mean by “Why do you shut me out like this? What are you afraid of?”

Again, I tried my best to explain. The second question was fairly obvious, so she didn’t chase it but she is still trying to get her head around the “shut me out like this” part. I tried to explain using the literal incident where Elsa shuts he door on Anna when they were children. Obviously she wasn’t convinced because at dinner, she asked me why Anna would say that as a grown up because Elsa wasn’t in the room anymore. She had thought about my answer but she felt there were gaps. I had underestimated her logical & reasoning abilities! I gave the answer another shot. Now I have to wait and see if that cut it. 

While that’s processing, we’ve had the next question. 

Where did that come from? Leak? Anna leaks? Anna takes a leak? I don’t remember any reference to anything leaking in the movie (not even the snowman Olaf)! I’m almost sure there is no mention of a toilet break. I could be wrong as she knows the story in way more detail than I do but I’m fairly certain there is no Anna pissing in front of Elsa. 

Anna leaps in front of Elsa”, her dad says, from behind me. 

Ah! Of course! I don’t remember that line in the book but it makes sense. I can see where that would’ve occurred… Anna leaps in front of her sister. Yeah, I see that now. This has, by far, been one of the easiest questions. I told her it meant Anna jumped in front of her sister. She understands jump, so there were no follow-up questions. 

One more done. I’m a bit wary about the “shut me out” issue cropping up again but I think we’ll be okay. Bring on the next one!

Posted in School

Daycare Dramas: When Does The Crying Stop?


The decision to go back to work was easier than figuring out who will look after R when I do. I read a lot. All the articles had one message only and that was that first few days will be hard, the child will cry but she will get over it in a few weeks. Parents gushed about how much their children loved childcare once they got used to it. I hoped R would love her daycare too and help salvage any guilty feelings I have about not being a stay-at-home mum.

As expected, she cried every day at drop-off. For a very long time. In fact, I think it went on for so long that I got used to the idea of feeling bad every morning. When did she stop?  Well! R likes her daycare. I know she does. Friends her age, all those activities the carers come up with to keep the children engaged, the tennis and dance classes. What’s not to love? Mummy gets to go to work and little miss has fun. So, what is the problem?

The wailing at drop-off never stopped. Two years on and I still head to work with the sound of her crying in my ears. The drama starts from the moment she wakes up.

“I don’t want to go to daycare today. How about we go to London?”

“Mama, I don’t want to go to daycare. Can I stay at home and do some painting?”

Then the epic discussions on clothes begin and my negotiation skills get a full round of testing.

“The Elsa dress is in the wash! How about the pink dress? Maybe the cowgirl skirt? The polka dots top is so pretty. The panda pants that you used to love?”

Everything from underwear to hair clips must be right. It used to have to be the same colour but now she has a style that I have given up trying to understand. It has to have the right amount of twirl, must be a dress (not skirt), should look like something one of the characters from her favourite books or movies wear… the list goes on. Once that is sorted, there is the hair.

“Mama, can you do Elsa hair for me today?”, is the easiest request of all. A simple braid. If she is wearing the Elsa dress, we attach a blonde braid to her black.

“Why are you doing my hair up? I don’t want baby hair”. What on earth is baby hair? I’ve now learned that it’s when you tie all the hair at the top, in a pony tail.

“Are you doing Georgia hair for me?”

“I don’t want Laila hair”

“This is not how you do Anna hair. Take it off! Take it off! I want Anna hair”

“Is that Maisie hair? Are you doing Maisie hair? I don’t want that”

I have no idea what hair styles these characters sport. I have taken to interpreting all such statements as one of two things – she likes it, she doesn’t.


I looked up toddler braids on Pinterest the other day but since none of her favourite characters or friends sport those styles, she vetoed them all. Sigh! From start to finish, the process takes close to an hour. I’ve taken to doing her hair on the commute, off late. We usually manage to get a seat on the train – woman with child and all that.

When we finally make it to the daycare, the fussing begins again. Crying, pulling my hair, tugging at my clothes.

“I want to go to work with you”

“I don’t like my friends”

“She called me R. I’m Elsa! I’m wearing Elsa dress today”

I know she will be fine once I leave but I am loathe to leave her crying. Even though I know they are crocodile tears, I try to comfort her.

I can’t wait for her to start school! I picture her standing at the gate, yanking at my work clothes while I hopelessly try to convince her to go in. There will be all these children waving at their parents as they run inside. I’ll be standing helplessly with a screaming young girl, pretending that there is no one around us. It should be fun. Yeah.