Today I called my daughter’s high school (‘college’ in Kiwispeak). I had her permission to do so, provided the teacher not find out. Not sure of the protocol, I started with her Dean, since we’d become chummy through our recent oops-our-visa-expired-please-don’t-kick-my-daughter-outa-school fiasco. Today I ‘just needed to chat’ about her recent Social Studies exam. She’d prepared really well, after much parental duress, and was well versed in Roman history — particularly the sordid details of the murder of Julius Caesar [pronounced ‘merrrrder’ (roll those r’s!) by her lovely Scottish teacher]. On the day of the test, aforementioned lovely Scot had ‘fallen ill’ [read: was out sick] and the ‘reliever’ [aka. ‘sub’] still gave the exam … which she couldn’t find for the first 15 minutes of class. So, when aforementioned daughter got to the all-important essay question at the end — she was out of time. When she complained upon getting a low score, her teacher had said, ”well, the other kids all finished” (Et tu, Brute?!). The Dean was understanding but suggested I talk with the Department Chair. When I rang her, she was in class. Much to my chagrin, the lovely Scottish voice who’d answered said, “are you sure, I can’t help with your querie?”. I’d by now realised that this was the teacher herself and I guessed she’d surmised who I was, as my daughter’s the only American in the school and I have yet to discover my Kiwi accent. A nice chat ensued, wherein she assured me that she’d adjusted all the test scores, and that my daughter was a lovely, hard-working student who she thoroughly enjoys teaching. We laughed at the fact that neither of us could be incognito on the phone.
Lunch at the Kindy 3 June 2007
Today my hubby and I decided to meet for a quiet lunch — a wee break without kids before the weekend started. We chose a trendy cafe that we’d been to a few times last year after it first opened. We’d thought it was so cool, with its red Mini Cooper with the doors removed, parked right in the middle of the place. ‘It must be for kids to climb in — how clever’, we’d remarked at the time. When we returned today we were surprised to find out our trendy cafe has become a kindy! Well, not officially, but . . . we walked up to the counter to order, wide-eyed as we took in the new scene. Almost all the customers were women in their 20s or 30s — and their littlies. Not that one could tell whose kids were whose as they were all happily playing and running around. We’d been through road-construction hell to even get there, so we rather tentatively ordered and sat down anyway — choosing a table on the very perimeter. As I watched kids climbing in and out of the Mini and playing with the oversized Connect Four game on an adjacent wall, I was harkened back to when my own girls were that young … then was abruptly jarred back to reality by the sound of a 4-year old ‘i’m-pretending-to-be-a-scary-lion’ roar. Amidst moments of oft-interrupted conversation, I felt a mixture of irritation combined with thoughts of ‘what a great place for young mums to get together’. After we’d eaten, we headed for the couches surrounding a large fireplace — an island of calm blissfully void of kids. No sooner had I begun to immerse myself in architecture and fashion magazines than the S.S. Toddler pulled up with a gleeful cry of ‘land ahoy!’ Five littlies began climbing on the couches and chairs, including the one I was on. The 4 ottomons pushed against the hearth – perhaps to keep the kids from getting too close – became a drawbridge for them to walk back and forth across – filled with adventure as the fire was dangerously close. I could see that one slip and they’d easily fall right into it. Yet, their mums seemed oblivious – chatting away without even an occasional over-the-shoulder glance to see what Johnny might be up to. Finally I asked one ‘where’s your mummy?’ and when he pointed I asked her if it was okay if he climbed there … ‘oh, thank you so much’ she said, whisking him from the ottoman and warning him to stay off it. Then she went back and sat down, as he and his mates continued to climb all over the couch we were seated on. I soon gave up and got the remainder of my Chai Latte in a paper cup and we practically ran for the car, climbing in quickly as if we might be followed by Johnny and friends. We now enjoyed the slow going of the road construction and the protected quiet of the car, talking all the way, and decided that while the cafe was great for young kids and their mums, we’d leave it for them to enjoy.
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