This weekend, as I was going through the ALDI special-buys leaflet, I came across a lunchbox carrier which Dhruv has been asking me to buy for a long time.
I did get him a lunch bag earlier after careful browsing through a store among the various colours and patterns. After striking off the Spiderman and Fairy themed bags, I zeroed in a bag with Llamas on it considering the fact he loves to mention Llamas when he gets into the spitting mode. (Llamas are the non-violent animal who show their anger by spitting on each other.) When I brought it home, there was a mild disappointment at the colour of the bag. It was pink. It was a nice shade of pink, according to me and it had his favourite Llamas on it. He didn’t pester for long on this, after all, I always propagate colours are just that, colours.
I packed the lunch box in the new bag the next day. That day, when he came back from school in the afternoon, he complained lots about the boys at his lunch table making fun of him for the pink bag. He told me he understands there is nothing boyish or girlish about the colour pink but the boys at school will poke at him. Considering he never fusses about the pink toothbrushes we get him every now and then or the various Barbie toothbrushes I have got for him in the past times or when I ask him to wear pink shorts on our outings, I gave in. I put away that Llama bag for later uses other than for school.
Going by our previous experience of a lunch bag, I showed the ALDI leaflet to Dhruv to choose a theme among the 4 themes – Smiley, Dinosaur, Mermaid or Unicorn. He chose Dinosaur. I tried him to choose between smiley or unicorn but dinosaur remained to be the fixation. Why did I keep mermaid out of my ‘Trying’ question? I had already got my education about mermaids earlier in the week on my school day.
Last week, I witnessed a related episode on my school day with the 6-year-olds in the class. There was a new teacher that day and the class was well-behaved. It was surprising for me to see all of them showing their best behaviour with the new teacher. One reason was 2 children with behavioural issues were spending their time in the Deputy Head Teacher’s office. The rest of the children worked very hard with the Maths and the letter formations. As a reward, the teacher had a fun activity planned for them. This activity had A4 size sheets with body parts of a seagull, a starfish and a mermaid which the children had to colour in, cut out and stick them together to make the respective pictures. The teacher asked me to pick one of the 3 pictures. Starfish was my choice. Next, the class was asked who all were interested in starfish were to go to Mrs. Vee’s table. Was I surprised that 5 children raised their hands and all of them were boys? The other help that afternoon, the teaching assistant, chose the mermaid and all the girls (all 11 of them) sided with her. The remaining 2 boys who were back from the Deputy Head Teacher’s office by then got to do the seagull by default. Later on, after a slight readjustment, one girl came to my table with the starfish sheet and 2 went to the seagull table. I think I learned something more that day about the interests of boys and girls.
I recounted this incident to Dhruv wishing to know if something similar has ever happened in his class. “Surely”, he said. It was the choosing between football and unicorn craft work. He chose football, a game he does not like or play. I was curious why didn’t he do the unicorn craft. The answer was obvious if you can make out.
To give him some credit, once again he didn’t say unicorn was girlish. He said all the girls chose unicorn and the boys football.
Images – The images of the lunch bag and the ALDI leaflet are mine. The images in the above collage are taken from the free images on Canva and Pixabay.