You have to agree that Amanda is physically a carbon copy of HRH. However, when it comes to behaviour, she’s very much her mother’s daughter. This may have something to do with my being her primary care-giver, but imagine my surprise when I turned up at her school obstalacathon (yes, I know it is a big word) only to witness my only child, then aged 4, skip two-thirds of the course when she thought no one was watching!
In what is an open joke among my former secondary school-mates, I used to do something similar at our annual 1500 metre run; the distance equated to roughly 7 rounds around the school field but time after time, I only ever completed 6, most of it by walking. But of course, I never told my child that! How would I know my genes would “out me” barely 4 years into parenthood?
And then recently Mrs B and I had this discussion about Amanda.
“You know, as the term progresses, Amanda does less and less work,” said Mrs B.
I’m so glad Amanda has such a wonderfully attentive teacher in Mrs B because I honestly hadn’t noticed the drop in her output. But then again, I’ve been so ill these past few months, there have been a number of occasions when I had even forgotten to pack her lunch for school, resulting in a couple of terse calls from the school’s receptionist alerting me to the fact.
“The thing is, Amanda is capable of much better work, but she’s just not performing,” added Mrs B.
“What seems to be the problem?” I asked, feeling the guilt of Mother Theresa on my shoulders. Somehow, I knew this had something to with me.
Unexpectedly, Mrs B said, “I once had this very boisterous little boy in my class who’s now 15. He rushes over to hug me every time he sees me. It’s funny how children love me even after I’ve scolded them. Well, this little boy used to very active. He could never sit still.”
“Did he had ADHD?” I had no idea where we were going with this.
“One day I saw his father and asked him, ‘Were you like him at that age?’ His father said, ‘Yeah, I was like him all right. I was a little rat bag.'” She took a deep breath. “So my question to you is: were you a dreamer at school? I ask this because Amanda just drifts off with a dreamy look on her face when she’s supposed to be working.”
I couldn’t deny it. “Yes, I used to dream a lot at her age and I think her dad did too.” Actually, we both still do all the time; it’s just that we know better than to do so when we’re supposed to be working.
“Ah, so 2 dreamers married each other. I was just wondering if this was something I might have to put up with until the end of the year.”
“We’re also both total scatterbrains. Her father is like the Nutty Professor. He’s pretty sharp otherwise but after 12 years of marriage, he still manages to lose his car keys, house keys and work tag around the house. Amanda fumbles for pencils and erasers every time I ask her to do homework because she somehow manages to misplace them.”
Amanda’s also managed to misplace our nail-clipper again, thereby forcing all 3 of us to sport vampiric talons while I decide whether to replace it (again) or make her look for it.
“So I might have to give you some post-it notes,” said Mrs B, amused.
“You know, the thing about all this is I thought her shortcomings would be easier to deal with because they’re largely mine…but it’s impossible to deal with something in another you have not dealt with in yourself.”
What I’ve told Amanda is that it’s perfectly all right to dream. Just do so on your own time.