Playschool? Already?

It’s been a difficult and tiring time, the past couple of weeks. Let’s see: first there was my parents’ visit, short and whirlwind; then the trip to Pondicherry, even shorter and just as whirlwind. Then Amit left on the first of many business trips planned for this winter, so I was left to be completely housebound for a week, with the kids hanging on to my apronstrings the whole time; this is never an easy thing. (Yes, I know generations of women have done this effortlessly and uncomplainingly, but all the same, it’s not an easy thing for me.) Then his father was suddenly found to have cancer! It’s in an “incipient” stage, and surgery has been scheduled for Saturday, so Amit left for Delhi today, and we don’t know when he’s going to be back (but we do know that it’ll be in time for his next trip abroad in the first week of October). So it’s back to house-arrest for me with immediate effect. No tennis, I’ve already cancelled various social engagements for the weekend that I was quite looking forward to, and I don’t know how – or if – I can make it for my weekly music session on Sunday.

On top of that, it’s admission application time at various schools (for sessions starting next June!), which means somebody has to be out and about, picking up and dropping off application forms at various places. Not to mention filling them up, writing covering letters explaining why we can’t provide birth certificates, getting (making, actually) passport-size photos of the twins and so on.

Since every outbound activity is contingent on Amit being home with the kids, and since he is therefore finding it tough to keep abreast of his office work, I decided it was high time we bit the bullet and tried some alternative baby-sitting arrangement. So I phoned the nearest Playschool/Daycare/Preschool/Creche that I’d heard of, and if all goes according to plan, the twins will be attending from next week or, at the latest, next month.

It’s a tough decision, not made any easier by the feeling that I’m being forced into it due to Amit’s constant travelling, rather than opting for it because of any conviction that it’ll be good for the kids. I have this nagging feeling that they’re still too young for any kind of school. But I’m also not happy about leaving them in the hands of some ayah – unsupervised – at home. Yet, I do need time to go out and run errands, buy groceries, and, if at all possible, get some exercise while I’m at it, and it’s difficult enough to manage all this even when Amit is in town to hold fort at intermittent intervals, much less when he isn’t.

There have been another couple of recent developments as well. One is that I have, very quietly and rather tentatively, started on the next module of my online archaeology course. Quietly and tentatively because, the last module I did was just after the kids had come home, and I didn’t fare very well in that, obviously. I don’t know whether I can do any better this time, but I feel that finishing what you’ve started is perhaps even more important, if a little less satisfying, than doing well.

So I’m hoping that some of the days when the kids are at Playschool I can use the quiet time for accomplishing something on that front.

The other thing that happened recently was that I got a job offer, an actual, firm offer, not just a vague and airy-fairy suggestion, for a part-time position away from home. In many ways it sounded tailor-made for me, especially as getting out of the house was one of the things that attracted me to going back to work. But I turned it down, because I just couldn’t face the prospect of dumping the kids in daycare for so many hours (about 6) each day. Perhaps, as another mother pointed out to me, the kids adjust quickly enough, it’s only the parents who fret. Still, having them eat and sleep and wake up in a strange place with strange people around them, not being there to hold them when they are all sulky and grumpy after waking up, not being the first to witness each new word and antic, the very first time it occurs…

It made me think really hard about what I wanted and how I proposed to get it. It looks like, with all my conflicting desires, I’ll probably have to settle for a work-from-home job for the next several years. But even for that, I’ll need some form of daycare and I’d really rather not to have an ayah hanging around all day. That would only irritate me and make me itch at all the things I hear her saying and doing that I wish she wouldn’t.

So the playschool/creche arrangement looks like a better option, if it works out and the kids take to it and settle in. Still, it feels like a big step, and I don’t feel that Amit is quite in favour of it and I’m not entirely sure myself… Is there ever a right time for this?

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8 Responses to Playschool? Already?

  1. Andaleeb says:

    There’s never a right time and well, I don’t know what to say that will make you feel better. Right now, I’m glad to be able to work from home also, with both of them around.

    Also Anamika, you gave me the shock of my life…are they handing out application forms now? Should I start looking around for Az right away? I thought we could get admissions in a Montessori around May or something?

  2. Ruby says:

    Find a good playschool, rather than the nearest one, as you can always drive them, but within 10 mins distance. Try one with day care, so that if the need arises it can be extended, though I don’t see you doing that in the near future. It’s a good time to start and there are two of them.
    Be prepared as they are going to fall ill in the beginning, after that they will love school. Forget abt regular school now, as they are too young.
    What cancer is this, one dad was bad enough, howz your dad?
    Abi is in London for four days, and I am going mad alone, so I can imagine. Finish your course and then try working as you seem to have worked for your entire life. My friend has just quit her job, she has worked for 20 years continuously and she’s only 37, you almost compete with her. Can’t be bothered to mail you, so take care

  3. Christina says:

    Good luck with all of this… Lemme know if I can help with stuff…

  4. poupee97 says:

    Ruby: London? Next time, you all should tag along… I plan to as soon as the kids’ passports come through.
    Yes, by the time I’m 37 I will be able to claim “almost” 20 years’ work, provided I get back to it sometime soon.
    Chris: Thanks… I wish there was something I could ask you to help with. These are just things we’ll have to work out somehow. But thanks.

  5. Siri says:

    Mika,
    I hope that Amit’s dad recovers and his surgery is successful. Kyle just went through all this last December and it was a tough time because it came as such a shock.
    ALL the BEST and lots of hugs and innumerable virtual cups of tea/coffee to you for the Archaeology course. I can’t really comment about the play school situation but I DID work for one for a short period of time before I joined IBM. I can tell you this much- the kids had a lot of fun and they were actually taught some things there besides songs and the alphabet. And I loved interacting with those little 2-3 year olds. I hope you are able to find one which puts the kids first and except for some seperation anxiety for the first few days most children adapt really well and love preschool/play school.

  6. Lubi :) says:

    😦 hope Amit Bhai’s dad is blessed with a speedy recovery n good health, Amen.

    good luck with u ‘n the twins…wish I cud help in some way…

  7. poupee97 says:

    Siri: after saying you can’t help me with the playschool situation, you just did. I never knew you worked at one. (The things you don’t know about your friends!) But I’m relieved to know that kids actually enjoy playschool… I somehow had this feeling that I was being exceedingly selfish by wishing them away for a couple of hours a day… sending them to a torture camp so that I could do “my own thing” (if you can call grocery shopping that). Of course, if they were to actually enjoy it… and even benefit from it…

    Well, now I only have to find a decent playschool. I didn’t quite like the looks of the one I mentioned here.

  8. Siri says:

    Good luck with the preschool search. A good one is a rare gem indeed. But one thing that kids like so much about playschool (or so it seems to me) is that they get to interact with other kids, they get to play games and have nap time together. And of course you get to run around and scream your guts out if your playschool has a playground 🙂 That is ALWAYS fun. I don’t think anyone would call you selfish for wanting time to yourself. Anyone who says they don’t is on the path to insanity and few hours a day to yourself can do wonders.

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