We return home late from Karate, although I have decided that the term 'late' is no longer appropriate. ‘Late’ it is the new norm, so really we are on time, which makes me feel so much better. When I've dispatched the last one to dream land, I stagger downstairs to the telephone answering machine which blinks at me. I listen to the message. Junior daughter's teacher. That has to be bad news. A personal message on the machine. Not a note stuffed in her backpack. I listen, poised, braced, psychologically prepared.
She has been chosen to participate in a special group to discuss feelings and improve interpersonal skills. She's only been there three weeks for goodness sake! I should never have put them in the same school, she's guilty by association. I know that humming during class is not appropriate, but surely it's not that bad? Saints preserve us, that's it!
Interpersonal skills! She's only 8. What kind of interpersonal skills are you supposed to have when you're eight? I didn't have any interpersonal skills when I was 8 and arguably I still don't have any now either. I didn't even know what an interpersonal skill was until I'd been living here for a few years, as we don't have any at home. I still don't think I'm qualified to give you an accurate definition of what an interpersonal skill really is?
How do they do that? Use the term 'interpersonal skills' without pause for breath or contemplation. How can they smooze in such a term into an ordinary sentence without gagging? I live in the land of psychobabblespeak, without a translator. I suspect that an 'interpersonal skill' is a mere fiction, invented by Americans to intimidate the rest of humanity.
I can hear them now, 'those poor little children,' [translation = kids i.e. baby goats] with a mother like her, she's certifiable, regardless of which continent we're on. I bet they spell 'Kids Connection' with a 'z.' [translation = pronounced 'zed' which makes the alphabet song a non-starter] It's enough to make you weak at the knees. Can I enroll my beloved child in a programme where they can't even spell a slang word?
This is just more hard evidence of my complete failure. I might as well give up now. My supposedly 'typically developing child,' has been singled out for special treatment after a big pow wow [translation = gathering of native American elders and chiefs] of teachers, principal, group leader and school psychologist. This is same school psychologist who is assessing my son's social deviancy. The same collection of staff with whom I have been communicating with for the past two years. All the big wigs [translation = prominent persons] gathered together to discuss the various merits of the candidates.
Let the floor open and swallow me now. They probably suspect that she's ADD or ADHD, which I know nothing about because I've not had time to research it. I’ve been too busy beetling about in the world of autism. In any case she's a girl, so I thought I might be able to get away with it, that no-one would notice. 'Socially immature' and 'an energetic child' have been enough to let her slip through the net thus far.
A whole family of misfits. Why don't I have recessive genes? Why did we breed?
Can the teacher send home a permission slip for me to sign to let her participate? -they ask. I might just as well invest in a rubber stamp with indelible ink, so that we can just tattoo it on our foreheads and save everyone a lot of trouble.
Of course! Why not? I’ll sign it! At least someone around here might as well learn a few social skills for the rest of us to copy. No problem! Send it home! Several copies! It will give me something to tear into tiny fragments to eat. [translation = instead of humble pie.]