I was fondly remembering my own life as a child earlier today, and to be honest it has made me think that my children need DNA testing. They may look a small bit like me, but then again if I look closer maybe not, and they seem to have some of my mannerisms, but that is probably due to the fact I am always around them. I know I was present at all four births so it is highly unlikely all four were unwittingly swapped, but overall they are alien beings to me. They do not share my humour, they are much more health conscious than I am and above all their attitude to school puzzles, and at times, alarms me.
When I was a young child I rarely got into trouble in school, however that was more to do with my quick thinking than behaviour. If I had ‘forgotten’ to do my homework I came up with a good excuse and delivered it in such a way that I got away with it while fellow classmates were given lines for punishment. I was also very quick with a great memory, so an unlearned poem could be learned just in time, or homework copied and ready before it was asked for. In contrast my own children would not dream of going into primary school without their homework, and unlike their mother they have no creative ability at all, so they cannot lie. In fact so worried was I at their rigid obedience when they were young, I even offered them a bribe if they came home with a black mark against their name. They never took my bribe and even judged me as a mother!
As I moved on to secondary school my lack of interest was duly noted by some teachers. I say, ‘some’ because it was not all teachers or subjects I disliked. In those classes I found boring, I wasn’t noted for answering aloud, I often ‘forgot’ to bring in the appropriate book, and my homework assignments were sporadic. This is in sharp contrast to my children who, regardless of whether they like a subject or not, always make an effort.
Today I watched one of my (alleged) children, sort out school folders, duly tidying up her notes and sorting them into correct folders. I hasten to add she was doing this on her mid term break. I was reminded of my own organisational skills. Instead of individual folders for each subject I brought one notepad to school. Within that notepad were the notes for every subject. Unfortunately the pages were not always secure within that notepad, and on occasions some became detached and became part of the crumpled waste gathered at the bottom of my bag, or just fell on the floor like litter and were discarded. My bedroom also reflected my lack of organisation. Books, notes, clothes and swim gear were strewn about. Today as I shared this detail with my daughter I could see her become agitated by the mere thought of it. When I told her that each night as I got into bed I would kick the duvet up, scattering all books to the floor, I definitely think she got pale.
Later while preparing dinner, I continued to shake my head as my daughter showed my youngest her afternoons work with her folders. Just then my husband arrived home and the book keeper one turned to him and said, ‘Look Dad, what I did today’. He took one look at the beautifully ordered, accounting folder and smiled, “That’s my girl”.
Exactly I thought, that is where it all went wrong!