Who are the people in your (changing) neighbourhood?

Who are the people in your (changing) neighbourhood?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.

So the first video plays and Netra stares intensely at the man in a tall cap holding a box of vegetables, cheese and other fresh food items.

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?”

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children.