O.k. so maybe “'secret'” is a bit of an exaggeration, but all the same, you'd think these kids would keep a lid on it! Are their social skills so dodgy that they're unaware that you just 'don't do' that kind of a thing? Yes, a rhetorical question of course, but it still pulls you up short when it happens again.
I adopt the composed demeanour of a woman in control. My stiff upper lip may be numb but my teeth are chain linked into rigidity. It has the effect of making me feel fully corseted. I glide to the first class room to await junior. I glide so as to avoid any vibrations that might inadvertently make my head rattle. I come to a dignified halt and pause just as one of his Aides emerges from the class room in a hurry. “Are you o.k.?” she asks with genuine concern, “you look ……kindof funny?” Great and I thought my disguise was working so well! I flap a hand towards my mouth and part my lips for her, “eeeooow!” she grimaces, “no wonder, that does look nasty. Don't worry you don't have to talk.” She scampers off, leaving me to be mobbed by the escaping children. I hunker down for Junior as he hops skips towards me with his hands fluttering over his head and ears, as they try to work out which is in greater need of protection from the blustery wind? He peers into my dark glasses, “can I see dem?” I make an open hand gesture, which he correctly interprets as 'see what?'
“Yur teef stoopid!” I oblige. He turns on his heel and rushes back to his teacher to scream at her.
“Mr. K! Mrs. K! Mrs.K!” he bellows at 50 decibels. He inserts his body between his teacher and the other child that she is currently attending to. He is now even more difficult to ignore as he pogos before her with the palms of his hands clamped to his ears, ruffled by the wind, over-stimulated by the crowd, over stretched at the end of a long school day. She rests a hand on each of his shoulders to calm him and let him know that he now has her undivided attention. He blasts her face with his announcement “my Mum is still broken. Her mowf is not workin. No talkin today!” he roars. A ripple eddies through the crowd, as a sea of faces orientate themselves towards us.
“Good job!” she exclaims. “That means you're gonna have to use your good words and your listening ears to help mom, huh!”
I love her!
This is why it's so important to make sure that the irritating little phrases you use at home, are the same as the irritating little phrases that they use at school.
My older son comes galloping down the incline to join us. He drops his back pack after a few yards, his fingers grasp handfuls of trouser leg as they slowly give way to gravity and inadequate elastic. On arrival he attempts to brake but careens into me muttering 'sorry, sorry' in a little loop of breathiness. He adopts a pose, the one of the skier on the slope, legs together, knees bent, ready to push off. His arms extend forwards to either side of my body, rigid as a robot. He leans forward, face off to the right, as he doesn't want to be suffocatingly close. His head knocks against my sternum woodpecker style, a little jack hammer of pent up but restrained emotion. I'm so glad that he's happy to see me! “We bowf do dah not talkin today,” he says, the more non-verbal one. Clearly he heard every word of his brother's performance, even though he was more than 100 yards away outside his own classroom.