Learning under pressure.


As they leave the house to get into the car for school, my youngest son makes a U-turn and skids back into the house. He is nak.ed in a nano second and parked on the throne for a last minute pit stop. He is a moment or two, too late. I pick up his sodden clothing and toss it onto the washing machine. I dither. I'm confident that it will take him a goodly while to put his shoes and socks back on without me to prompt him. I know that he would never dare risk permitting his bare little toes to touch the ground outside the house.

I dash upstairs for replacements whilst the rest of the team waits on the driveway, engine idling. I return with the clothes to find him struggling with the Velcro on his shoes. I have no option but to give him a swift sponge down rather than a shower. If you could hear his screams you would assume I'd turned a pressure hosepipe of icy water on him.

I turn my back after toweling him down but he's off, wearing socks, shoes and a T-shirt, powering out to the car shouting, “be wait now, now wait now, wait, wait, wait!” I scramble after his partially clad form clutching his clothing as I skuttle down the path. I wave the clothes in my hand to attract the chauffeur's attention. The car occupants watch his arrival, so does my neighbour. I call aloud, “wait he can't go without his knickers!” My son does a little rain dance on the driveway concrete as his body shrivels and quivers in the early morning chill. Free of social cues, it is only his thermostat that will save him.

I think this is the first time in living memory that he has willingly submitted to going to school. His enthusiasm, eagerness and anxiety to join his siblings is quite breathtaking. I am uncertain whether his sudden keenness to conform has over-ridden his need for clothes, or whether it's just that clothes are still an after thought of no consequence? Either way, my son has capitulated and demonstrated a willingness to participate.

My neighbour, the man with the voice that could best be described as a fog horn, bellows from the other side of the road, “Git yur shorts on boy!” My son's ears receive the assault and his head flicks around to see our substitute grandfather modeling the desired behaviour from the other side of the street, legs akimbo, knees bent, curled arms hauling up the invisible underwear. What a trooper he is! My son is covered up and whipped off in a puff of exhaust fumes, safely on his way to school.

My neighbour steps over the road toward me. He tips his baseball cap up, the tired, faded red one, so that white tufts of thinning hair are visible. He blinks, with his crooked smile before he reminds me, “over here, we call em underpants.”

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mcewen.minti.com [test]
Presidents week means that the children are at home on holiday. With a brief preamble and a schedule board to hand, I suggest a bike ride in the park.
“Do you think that's such a good idea Mom?” she asks politely. I am pleased that she is aware of the many pitfalls of such a venture, all the possible meltdowns and squirmishes that we may need to deflect or endure. The boys are close by. They do not 'attend.' They are not 'included' in this exchange. I am fairly confident that the content of the conversation is being processed.

“Oh, I'm sure it will all be just fine dear, don't you worry, we have all day to manage it.” What a nice young woman she’s developing into. We women of the world need to rise up and unite.jaw surgery.” Oh gosh, such thoughtfulness shows her ever growing empathy and maturity. I attempt a sweet smile, although it's a bit lop sided. “That's so kind of you dear, but my body is fine, I'll just need to be careful about my face that's all.” Why isn’t the world populated only by womankind? I can feel my feminist banner on the rise above my head.
“That's what I mean!” Enough spunk and spice to tell it how it is. The banner flutters against the ceiling.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, your face is going to scare little children!” Ah. Such consideration for her fellow 'man.'
“Oh it will be fine, I'll be cycling so fast I'll just be a blur.”
“But you'll have to stop sometimes and then people will see you,” she squirms with a tone of alarm. Such sensitivity delights my heart.
“I don't think that there will be many people in the park, most people go away for the week on holiday.”
“Some of my friends aren't going away on vacation!” she translates unnecessarily. “Some of my friends might see you and then what?” I had no idea that her pals were of such a delicate disposition.
“It'll be soooooo embarrassing to have a mom who looks like a …..a…….well, not very nice.” Ah. Don’t sugar coat it dearie. My banner crashes down on my head, causing only psychological damage.
Junior jumps to attention and skitters over to us, scatters a pile of Pokemon and shouts, “but mummy has dah beautiful knees, so dah little kids can look at her kneeses!”
“Oh you're so dumb, my friends aren't little kids, they won't be looking at her knees.” Senior son snails his way over to the table where he collapses slug like, with a sigh to add, “it's o.k. I had dah big friends in my class too. My friends like mom's talkin.”

Rats to puppy dog tails! Such a shame that I still sound like a marble mouth.

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