Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Elton, fetch a shovel!

My two daughters, four years and several worlds apart, have much in common. One is their refusal to discuss the tragedies and defeats of the day. "I can't talk about it," elder daughter used to say when she was much younger: "It makes me too sad." As for younger daughter, I doubt I hear about a fraction of the day's disappointments. Stress robs her of words altogether.

I can relate. I can often tell how unhappy I've been by the gaps in my journals and diaries over the years. Writing it down just makes it more real somehow.

So. A few days ago, I was actually having rather a pleasant day. I hurried up to the library just before picking up younger daughter. There was a hold waiting for me, Patty Griffin's 2004 album Impossible Dream, and while the librarian was checking this out, I spotted a new Alexander McCall Smith book lying on her desk. "You want it?" she asked.

I dashed next door to the school with my treasures. On the way out, we spotted one of younger daughter's guardian angels and offered to wait with her until her mother arrived. "Something happened today..." she said.

Apparently, the Grade Fives are tackling something called "Mental Math". One of the young boys in the class thought it would be screamingly witty to change this to "(Insert Younger Daughter's Name) Math". What is almost as dispiriting as learning that the boys have found a new and hilarious way to call my PDD-NOS daughter "mental" is that the young boy responsible was the ring-leader in a little gang that spent at least one recess in November shouting in younger daughter's face and ears, a particularly delightful thing to do to a sensory-sensitive child. Three of these charmers were hauled in to the principal's office and read the riot act. Little Ring-leader sent a long note of apology and a stuffed animal at the instigation of his mortified mother who stopped at an intersection to say: "I can't understand it; he's always been so supportive of her..."

I know she loves him. This is why I'll restrain myself from taking a shovel to school and braining the little creep. "I guess," I told Mihangel that evening, "he just thought 'Hey, this would be funny and everyone will laugh'...and from the sounds of things everyone did."
"Oh I doubt he even thought it out that far," said my husband, the former boy. A pause. "I don't think you would have liked me much when I was a kid."

I left a phone message for the teacher and went to the computer for my favourite painkillers: family research, David Tennant, music. The songs on Patty Griffin's album were, as expected, hauntingly lovely. And melancholy. I had to turn them off after a while. (At least Mary Chapin Carpenter and Dar Williams have the occasional flashes of humour.) Took three "Sleep-Relaxes" that night (herbal remedy, not to be taken several nights in a row -- it relaxes everything...). Quick word with one of younger daughter's EA's when he very sweetly offered us a lift to school. He's athletic and works with the class in the afternoon, so he might make an impression. Even quicker conference with math teacher who thanked me for the heads-up. Don't know what the outcome of this will be. I didn't use the "B" word this time, and frankly, I'm weary of reporting these things.

I did appease my own bruised feelings yesterday by "looking shovels" at Little Ring-leader at a field trip to see a play at the local girls' school. Just for a second. Judging by how quickly he averted his eyes, I'd say he knew exactly what I was thinking...


Jane Henry said...

Persephone, meant to do this last week but ran out of time... Nice to see you in bloggy land , not so nice to hear the troubles with your daughter and friend. Children can be horribly cruel. And I think your other half is right, the boy probably didn't think at all. The fact that he knows what YOU think is probably to your advantage though...

Persephone said...

Lovely to "see" you, Jane. You should have seen the note of apology, which is part of the formula for dealing with bullying at younger daughter's school. (1. Interview student with lecture about "unacceptable behaviour". 2. Notify parent. 3. Have offending child write note of apology saying what s/he's sorry for and how s/he's never going to do it again, plus asking for forgiveness. Doubt it's that's effective, but it's better than nothing.): ". . . I am very sory, Iv goten introble 3 times for it . . ." My husband and I made a little game of guessing which three persons had reamed him out.