"It's time for you to start school!" she chided. "It's a child's duty to go to school!"
I hate that sing-songy voice people use when they are pretending to talk to your kids, but they are secretly talking to you/judging you.
"You ears are getting icicles, aren't they? Where's your hat?"
"You sure have your own way of doing things, don't you?"
"You're too old for breastfeeding, aren't you? Aren't you? Aren't you?"
I'm not surprised when people say this kind of school stuff to M, since he's four. Thai children start their first year of Anuban (a 3-year Kindergarten program) at three years old or even before, so to them, M is already years behind schedule.
But she was talking to L. My 2-1/2 year old.
I weighed my answer options.
A) Quick and easy answer. "The school where I teach starts with what we call 4-year-old Kindergarten. There is no class for two-year-olds. He'll start in year and a half."
B) Mean answer. "Well, some people may be in a hurry to ship their kids off to school at two, but we aren't like that. Whim loves being home with the boys and will spend his days with them as long as he can."
C) Passive-aggressive but funny answer. "L, Auntie is talking to you. L! Sorry, he must not have heard you. I better go catch him."
D) Most truthful answer. "I don't think 2-year-olds need school. And once school starts, that's it, for the next 13 years, 18 years. Or more. Why rush it. Before we know it, we'll turn around and they'll be all grown up, and there's no going back."
I actually didn't choose any of the above. I decided, rather wisely, to change the subject and asked after her 6-year-old granddaughter, Int. "Oh, Int's still at school. She doesn't usually get home until around 6 or 7." "Too bad," I said. "That doesn't leave much time to play." "No," her grandma agreed, "and she's up before five. It's a long day, but... she'll be older soon"