Colour coding, letter grades, number grades- it is all the same in the end, isn’t it? I mean whether you call it an F or 40% or colour code it Black for unsuccessful, it still means you fail, right? I hate school. I hate what it did to me as a kid and I hate what it does to me as a parent. This week my little delusion that everything was going all right at school with my oldest child crashed on my head like a precariously built card house. Here is how it started:
Mother-S has not finished her project and is crying. She says she wants to stay behind and keep working on it with H.
Me- What? I thought it was done!
Mother- So did I!
Me- (not thinking about it too clearly) Ok, fine. let her stay. I will be up in a minute.
So when I get there, I see my daughter in the after school care playing. Not doing any homework. The anger inside me and the panic, the panic caused by being under the scrutiny of every other parent in the room and of having a daughter who seems to be the only one not finished and has to present her work in the morning is making me clench my teeth so that my jaw begins to ache. The meeting is starting in five minutes and I have no idea where she is to go. After several minutes of my barely controlled fury and of her own panicked, frustrated tears, we find her friend, get her set up with the babysitting provided for the meeting and I enter the classroom just in time for the beginning of the meeting. I cram myself into one of the childen’s chairs and directly I have to suppress the urge to cry. I already feel like a disorganised loser compared to these parents- having a blow up with my daughter in front of them does not help the situation.
The meeting begins, as it usually does, with a tour around the table to see how everbody is doing. I am gratified to find out that I am not the only person who has sacrificed my children’s personal hygiene to the God of homework. The pompous ass a couple of desks down from me though, is waxing poetic on the perfection of the teacher and how wonderful everything is for him. He will be the same asshole who will tell the group that if the child is not listening in class it is the parents’ fault and that, in his opinion, there is not enough homework. Of course, he has taken a year off work, and is able to pick up his daughter for lunch and right after school. And he speaks like a cheesy french Rex Murphy. I am not resentful at all. Except that by the time I decided to leave, about 30 minutes after the time the meeting was supposed to end, I was a bundle of nerves, perpetually on the verge of tears. Which came out the moment I went to pick up my daughter. And, of course, in the charming way of a child, one of her friend’s asked me bluntly, “Why are you crying?” (and after all the effort I made to conceal it!)
“It has been a long day,” I replied.
And off S and I went to get a bite to eat and do another couple of hours of homework. And we did finish her project in time and she did go to school the next day, and we did go to her presentation. Unfortunately, as she was standing in front of the class clutching her newly finished pages, her face got paler and paler, and she was shifting from foot to foot. Eventually, she approached the teacher and began crying. She was feeling too sick to continue. I took her home where she slept all day and then rested all the next day. She had evidently made herself sick and I made it worse by not understanding that she did not understand.
And thus ends another stellar parenting episode by Wiremonkey, brought to you by lack of communication and unrealistic school expectations.