Last weekend we sacrificed our TV time and unplanned trips to the mall to wait for the sales guy from Early Learning, to come home for the demonstration of one of their products, a kids learning collection. As parents of toddlers, waiting for a guest is not about sitting on the sofa and staring at the door. It is about making the toddler wear a neat shirt on which there is no cheese or ketchup, cleaning up the living room, picking up socks, shoes, toys, cutlery, crockery and things I'd never seen before emerging from under the sofa. Soon the doorbell rang and a gentleman in his twenties walked in with a trolley bag.
I gestured him to take a seat making sure there were no knives on the seating area. He sat down and pulled out a chart and then IT happened. He opened his mouth.
The initial talk he made for around twenty minutes was about the pace at which a baby’s brain develops and the number of nerves connected to it. Tenth grade biology class flashback. Then about how we have to aim high at a younger age to set ourselves at par with the cut throat competition. Teenage year’s parents advice flashback. Complete nostalgia. In between his intense science sessions he kept asking us, ‘Do you agree, Ma’am?’ Well who am I to question modern science. I nodded.
After twenty minutes of brain frying session about the infant brain, he moved on to the next. He opened a book and started shooting a few questions at me.
“Ma’am, do you have a vacuum cleaner?”
Of course. Wait… is this guy coming from the health and sanitation department. Doubtfully, I replied.. ‘Yes’.
‘Okay when you use it, and your kid asks, Mama how does this work, what will you say?’
I slipped into the famous sober expression which I hadn't used since my school days. It was a nostalgic feeling, being asked a question and the embarrassment of not knowing the answer. The guy kept staring at my face, his expression changing rapidly from seriousness to sheer amusement. That my toddler had not started saying his own name was some sort of a consolation which was keeping me calm at that moment. I replied, ‘Hmm, I am not so sure’. Well even back in school I never admitted that I dint know the answer…I just said that I was absent in that class when she taught that, which led the teachers to assume that it was my first day at school.
Then this guy went on to say, that we need to hand him a glass of juice with straw, and allow him to sip it. When he does, the concept of vacuum cleaner which sucks the dirt can be explained. Voila ! I mean the idea of my toddler asking this question and me making a juice as soon as he asks, and then he spills it everywhere which actually makes me use the vacuum cleaner and demonstrate it right away.
Note, the hubby was spared all the reassurance hums and annoying questions all this while as he was happily checking out other books which the gentleman had brought. But this happiness did not last long.
‘Sir, do you know how many teeth a fish has?’
My face lit up. Yaay its not to me. By the way, if he doesn't answer, he may pass the question to me. I better be prepared with some solution.
‘Four’ hubby said confidently. The guy smiled and looked at me. ‘And you, Ma’am?’. Oh. Did he mean how many teeth I had? Well if you actually exclude the teeth which had root canal done on it, it may be pretty much the four front teeth. I said, ‘Four’.
The gentleman then opened a page of a book which had a close up picture of a fish which appeared to be singing an opera with its mouth wide open. “There are four teeth which are visible and two hundred others which we cannot see”. He said, mocking both of us with a wicked eye.
He dint leave us any time to recover from that disaster when the next question came. ‘Sir, do you know why rabbits have long ears?’
This was a tricky one. At this point, his mobile rang and he escaped gloriously from the human trap he set himself and me into. He walked off gesturing the guy to continue the intellectual torture he inflicted on me. Actually I never even noticed rabbits before. That they have long ears is information I got only from Bugs Bunny. I said, ‘Not much idea about that’.
He then explained why they have long ears. It was something about hearing and escaping from enemies, I vaguely remember. It totally passed over my head as I was thinking how to trap the hubby back into this.
“Do you know why giraffes have long necks?’
I mean, you’ve got to answer atleast one, right. You don’t have to, but that the courteous way to behave to a guest. I said, ‘To be able to reach the leaves on trees’. He said, ‘Right’. And he continued,’ there is another reason Ma’am, that giraffes have long necks to view a wider ground and save themselves from wild animals.
Oh come on. For the one answer I knew, he says another befitting one. The unsuccessful interviews I gave when I graduated weren't as embarrassing as this.
Thankfully the guy realized that if he kept asking questions to me, he will never finish this assignment, as each question took me time to look at the ceiling and wish if there was a google search engine up there to save me from this cumbersome trial.
He went on to display all the books and their astronomical prices too! The books were actually good. Well if he hadn't humiliated me by asking those questions I might actually have considered buying at least one of those on a trial basis.
I need to grow up a little bit, you know.
P.S My previous post below was the 150th post on this blog. Thank you, everyone who read me J