Sprog 1 is struggling with her maths and her social skills. Neither of which are my speciality. I needed maths coaching to get through high school (it still wasn’t counted in my HSC) and I was an odd-bod. I tried helping Sprog 1 with her multiplication homework last night. I wasn’t very patient. It was beyond me why someone so smart couldn’t understand 2 x 1 = 2. Or 7 x 10 = 70. She had no chance with 9 x 6 = 36. I mean, 54. As we sat together, all tense and glassy-eyed, Sprog 1 mentioned that her best friend wasn’t playing with her so much any more. Though they’re “still friends”. The best friend has tired of playing imaginary zombie birthday party games and has expressed a desire to move on to more “teenaged” pursuits. Sprog 1 was unable to explain what “teenaged” pursuits involved. Since Sprog 1 is still quite fond of playing zombie and imaginary pet games, she’s been at a bit of a loose end at lunchtimes. Meanwhile, her best friend has gravitated to more traditionally minded girls. School’s a bitch like that. I was lucky to make a handful of friends who still keep in touch 25 years later, but I didn’t really find my “tribe” until I became a journalist. (Although I wavered the day a couple of fellow cadet journalists invited me to lunch. I thought it was because they liked me but it was really to ensure I was back in the office for a Santa stripper to handcuff me to a chair. I’m not bitter, nooooo, or dwelling on it or anything.) Journalists understand how each other tick. I’m sure it’s the same when groups of engineers gather. I don’t want Sprog 1 to wait until she’s an adult to get a tribe. That’s a long time to be lonely. I want to find her a fellow imaginary zombie party afficionado now. So I’m on a “playdate” offensive. I’m fishing for names and I’m going to invite them all over, one by one. I will find her a kindred spirit. Multiplication? I give up. That’s Husband’s problem tonight.