I may have become a little irrationally cross yesterday about running late for an appointment with the reading recovery teacher at the Sprogs’ school. I may have yelled with frustration when Sprog 2 couldn’t do up her seatbelt, forcing me to pull the car over after reversing out of the driveway like a madwoman (yes, I know Husband, you’ve told me not to do that). In my haste, I may have left a VERY IMPORTANT FORM at home, giving Sprog 1 permission to attend a visual arts workshop that was being filled on a first-come-first-served basis (which she missed out on last year because we were on holidays and had her heart set on attending this time round). I may have asked at the office for a replacement form and been told they didn’t have any, but it would be fine to submit the form later in the day.
One of the school mums may have texted me to say: “Was Sprog 1 ok this morning? Just saw her walking to class crying”. I may have returned to the school to give Sprog 1 the missing form, only to be told that it was “too late, I missed out”. Sprog 1’s eyes may have welled up with tears all over again. I may have gone to her classroom, begging and sobbing – oh yes, I did – for them to reconsider, without succeeding … in accomplishing anything other than embarrassing myself. I may have felt extremely guilty and given both Sprogs with milkshakes that had lolly snakes tied around the straws as peace offerings at school pick-up. I may have realised that it would be preferable not to yell at my children irrationally in the first place and remember to submit their permission slips on time.
But it was definitely an important meeting I was running late to attend. Sprog 2 has finally been assessed as being literacy-challenged enough to require one-on-one help, for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The reading recovery teacher wanted to run through the program with me.
I was interested in what the reading recovery teacher had to say in light of the whole “have you thought about repeating her” discussion I had with Sprog 2’s teacher a few weeks ago.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of the discussion – other than Sprog 2 being in the lowest percentile band in her 170-student-strong year – was my daughter’s reaction when she was asked to paint a picture for the teacher. Apparently most kids go a bit wild, colours here and there, mad strokes all over the place. Sprog 2 divided the paper in half and meticulously painted one half blue (water) and the other half yellow (sand). Then she stopped. When the teacher asked why, she said she needed to wait for the background colours to dry before she did the detail work (well, she didn’t say it quite that eloquently, but that was the general idea). So the teacher had to wait until the next day for Sprog 2 to complete the picture. The teacher and I both agreed that this points to a certain level of perfectionism. And perhaps one of the reasons she is struggling to read is a fear of messing it up.
I asked the teacher if Sprog 2’s inability to say “r” might be an issue as well. “Alright”, for example, is “awight” on Sprog 2’s tongue. But the teacher hadn’t picked up on that because Sprog 2 doesn’t speak much. Which is funny, because she’s Little Miss Chatterbox at home.
It’s odd the personas that children create for themselves in public that bear no relationship to the ones they have in private, at home.
The challenge between now and Christmas is to advance Sprog 2’s reading by five to eight levels. And for Mummy to stop yelling irrationally and making her children cry by forgetting important paperwork.
I am crossing my fingers tightly. Perhaps I should cross my toes as well. I’m a bit wobbly on all fronts.
And, goddamn it, I still feel like such a heel about that bloody art class. Hardly slept last night … lots of guilt-fuelled thrashing around, torturing myself about what I should have done … which doesn’t bode well for my no-more-irrational-yelling resolution.