The Unit of Study for this month in my daughter’s Kindergarten class is ‘Community Helpers’. And I had the bright idea of showing her the delightful Sesame Street 2-minute “Who are the people in your neighbourhood” videos on the different professions – she would enjoy the catchy tune and colourful costumes and I could laugh at the droll puns and sing along.
Netra (wrinkling her nose): “Who’s that?”
Me: “The grocer.”
And then I go on to explain how a grocer has a small grocery store and sells food items.
Netra (waving away my explanations): “I’ve never seen a grocer shop. We only go to Cold Storage.”
Me: “Maybe here, but you have seen small grocery shops in Mumbai.”
Netra: “No – I went to Reliance Fresh. It’s a big shop.”
Me: “Ok let’s move on to the next video”.
Netra: “Who is that?”
She points at a man in a blue uniform with a satchel in his hands.
Me: “The postman who delivers our letters. Don’t you know that?!”
Netra: “I know who the postman is but I thought they were extinct!”
Me: “Whaaat?! – they are people Netra, not dinosaurs! Why would they be extinct? If you want to write a letter to Brinda paati, then you need to write her address on the envelope, stick a stamp and ….”
Netra: “But amma, why can’t I just send her an email? And I skype with her everyday, so why should I….?”
Me (anticipating and stalling a string of questions): “Ok…. But next month you have to write a letter to Santa Claus and then you will have to go to the post office….”
Netra: “But you were telling daddy that everyone is on Facebook except him, so you can send a message to Santa Claus on Facebook, no amma?”
I clutch my head in despair and try to identify safer videos – we breeze through doctor, nurse, teacher, librarian. Then we come to a man with a saw and a hammer.
Netra: “Handy Manny!” Me (sighing in relief): “Handy Manny is a handyman, but yes, this is close – a carpenter. A carpenter doesn’t just repair things but also builds furniture for you, like tables, beds….”
Netra: “I thought we go to Ikea to buy furniture and then build it ourselves!”
Me (losing patience): “Ok, you tell me what video you want to watch!”
Netra: “Why is there no investment banker in the neighbourhood?”