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Papa’s Report Card!

Last week my daughter began her big and much-important new beginning in life – transitioning from Montessori section of her school to the ‘proper’ school of big bhaiyas and didis – the first day of Class I! And as much as me and hubby were looking forward to this, the one who was the most excited and jumping about with as much excitement as can possibly be enough to charge up a space craft and take it all the way to the moon and back – yes, she was that excited and understandably so!

Papa’s Report Card! - Fathers' Involvement In Their Children's Schools

To go back a little in time, as I mentioned in my last post, both me and daughter had headed off for a mini-vacation the day her exams ended. So it was the hubby who took the ‘big’ responsibility of collecting her report card, speaking to the teachers, taking down notes and doing all those usuals that, at all PTM’s till date, I have done.

I was duly informed by phone that the report card had been collected, that the grades were excellent and that the uniform and all the books had been bought. We came back from the vacation two days before school began (I wanted to still play safe in case her books weren’t covered or new uniform not ready yet – the books had been covered over STD calls to hubby, but the labelling was left to me, ‘It’s quite difficult to label a class full of books with Barbie labels’ was the excuse! Really!!??).

I was tired and decided that labelling wasn’t so difficult a job, it could easily be done the night before school. So the next night I did that big motherly duty of labelling all the books – ‘the division hasn’t been decided yet, they will tell her on the first day’ said hubby. As I began labelling the books, I realised they were really few in number. She already had more than this amount of books in her last Montessori class.

“Are you sure these are the only books she has?”

“Of course. I asked the guy at the school bookstore to give me books for Class I. He gave me.”

I wasn’t sure. “No, this can’t be. I’m sure you’ve missed something. Show me the book list.”

“Book list? What book list?”

“The one that comes with the books!” I was beginning to lose my patience at this point.

“There was no book list.”

“Great! Get me the bag in which you brought the books from school.”

His confidence not diminishing one bit, he got up and brought me the bag that had all the books originally. I took the bag and dipped my hand inside, pulling out a list of books with tick marks against the ones that had been available, and the rest of the list still remaining to be bought! “See? You didn’t even bother to check with the list? And now we don’t have enough time!”

I was fuming. Was this such a difficult task that a normal adult man couldn’t even collect the books from school?! I had been doing this perfectly for the last 3 years, what now? Hubby had already told daughter that he had got all the books and I knew she would be devastated when she realised there were many missing. I told her about the missing books and promised her we would get it. She was of course not pleased, but decided to play it easy and understood. That was the first red-pen remark on the report card.

The first day came, and as it was a new beginning in the big school and a new class and new everything, even to the buses and all, parents were asked to drop off their little packages at school in the morning with a smile. So there we were, proud parents, holding that little hand between us, and as we walked up to the area where we were to send her off with a kiss, a sudden remark caught me.

A mother was sending her little son off, telling the teacher present there to assist him to class I…and the division! I looked at hubby. “How does she know the division? You said it’s not been given yet.” Hubby wasn’t flustered. “I’m telling you it hasn’t. They’ll tell her today. Don’t worry I know my job as a father.” Well, if that wasn’t the first seed of doubt I had that day!

We sent off our daughter, a voice inside me telling me the poor thing wouldn’t know which division she was in, even as I began hearing every other parent instructed about the divisions. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and asked the teacher present that there must have been some confusion, that our daughter wasn’t given her division. “Of course she’s been given her division. It’s written at the back of the report card. And the teacher has mentioned it when you collected the report card too. Don’t worry, she will be fine.” That was the second red-pen remark on the report card.

We were again supposed to come back in the afternoon and pick up our daughter to assist the bus drivers with the route. As I asked my hubby about the time we needed to come back, he confidently gave me an entirely different time. “Um, hello, it’s written right there in front of you on that board, don’t you see?”  He didn’t see. And when he did, he simply said, “sorry, I guess I got the time wrong. You’re right. We have to come at… to collect her from school.” “Really??” That was the third red-pen remark on the report card.

Just then I bumped into another mother whom I knew from my daughter’s previous classes. We were discussing the change in timings and the longer hours when she mentioned it had been a mad rush in the morning, trying to prepare two different kinds of lunch boxes for the new class. “Wow, you’ve sent two lunch boxes?” I asked innocently.

“Of course, you’re supposed to send two. How do you think they’ll manage so long otherwise? Why, haven’t you sent two?”

I turned to look at hubby, who, by now, was getting quite good at ducking and trying to hide somewhere, ready to escape my gaze. Flashback…

“My poor baby. The new school hours are so long. How will she manage? Wish I could send two lunch boxes with her.” This was me.

“Oh don’t worry, she’ll be fine. The teacher would have mentioned if we had to send more than one.” You of course know whose golden words these were!

Now back to the present where I’m talking to that other lady.

But was it mentioned about the lunch boxes? I mean, did the teacher mention that?”

“Of course. There was a full list of information on the board in each class. Everything right from the division to the new school timings to how many lunch boxes, the next PTM date and all was mentioned there. You didn’t see that?”

Well, you see, for the first time ever, I missed my daughter’s PTM last time. And I know this will be the last time I ever do so.”

After that I lost count of the red cross-marks on the report card. Let’s leave it by saying that while my daughter went to her new class with super grades and flying colours, we couldn’t really say much about her daddy’s performance! Huh!!

Debolina Raja Gupta loves being a mommy and best friend to her 5-year old princess. A working mom, voracious reader, social activist, photographer, poet, travel freak, beauty writer and an everything-of-sorts. Best fun is story time and our fashionista time together. My blogs: The Book WormA Few Thoughts Here And ThereMy Little One And MeBeauty Makeup And More.