Today is not a good day. Today is a day for being someone else. Today is a day for running away to sea, for joining the foreign legion for being anything but what I am. Yesterday was not a good day but today definitely stinks.
Today is so bad I may have to attack the kitchen. I have already embarked upon a blitzkrieg of my studio under cover of darkness and look and smell like something the cat has peed in so what do I have to lose if I now scrub the work surfaces with some vile toxic potion guaranteed to kill all the jolly microbes in the fosse septic? Not my equilibrium that has gone already. Nope, today I am not a happy woman.
It is blowing a gale outside, how apt as I am brewign up a storm inside too, and autumn, freshly arrived with a scowl, has brought an air so thick with damp that my joints ache and my fingers are too stiff to paint and I keep dropping things. Our Broadband hates bad weather and the only thing that has managed to fight its way through cyber space is an invitation from a women’s international expat group to ask me if I will blog about life in France. Ladies today is not a good day, my writing is not going to encourage or inspire people to travel and embrace the expat life. They will read my blog and weep.
The morning started if not with joy at least with hope. Hope that after yesterday things might in fact have improved. I was woken at 5 by a nightmare which involved my trying to recapture our Labradors whilst being berated by a small dark French woman complaining that they should not be allowed to roam free. I totally agree madam, no need to invade my already distressed psyche to tell me that but if you can find a way to repair the electric fence then please be my guest because it stumps me. Breakfast was fine if you ignore the fact that it was eaten at 7am to the accompaniment of the sound of the wind impersoanting a train outside and one of the cats licking blood from the floor, he having caught his own breakfast, and another of them savaging me as I went past to put the kettle on. The school run was bearable and, on the way home, we even remembered to post the terribly urgent letter we forgot to post on the way there.
At home I collected the eggs, only dropped one, got youngest mustered for school and we were doing fine despite the contents of the kiln looking as if they have developed small pox because of a glazing fault. I was ignoring the feeling of rising panic in my chest, ( you know that feeling when something tells you that you are really should runaway very fast whilst your brain is ignoring it,?) until we got to school and I kissed smallest on head and said have a good day and try hard with your writing at which he dropped his head and he said “I always try my hardest but my teacher doesn’t believe me she says I don’t. But it’s Ok you don’t have to go in and see her.She thiks there is nothgin wrong with me I just don't try”
Is manslaughter still considered a crime of Passion in France because I may well have to kill this woman? Woman? Well actually barely out of college so more a post teenager, a new teacher determined to be firm and sure that we parents are just being namby pamby English and if we only pushed him harder he would be fine. A teacher who has, it seems, decided that in the one term she is gong to be there (she is covering maternity leave for yet another new teacher) she will cower him into writing neatly by sheer force of her scowl and meanness. The school knows he has dyslexic and dysorthographie but she it seems with all the conviction of youth knows better than the orthophoniste ,,to whom he goes once a week to help him fathom the unfathomable depths of writing, the specialist well, no actually the two specialists, who conducted a barrage of tests on him and have decided that is what he is and are trying to decide what can be done to help him. Nope this new teacher says, he must try harder at writing, keeps him in at break time because he doesn’t finish his work, rolls his eyes when he comes back at the end of the day to collect the books he has forgotten and has told him no, he can not use the specially shaped pens recommended by all the aforementioned professionals he must use the ones school provides, which are basically cheap and flimsy and terribly for handwriting but hey what would I know I am only a mother and a teacher and old enough to be her mother at that and if I was I would box her ears.
I know any child needs to be encouraged to develop a positive, determined attitude and that hard work is necessary to overcome the obstacles presented by dyslexia. I also know children will reflect the attitudes of their parents and teachers so authority figures in the child’s life need to help develop personal confidence and inspire the child not to give up, not demoralise them even further when they already feel they are letting everyone down by falling so far behind their siblings and school mates.
And I write this not for sympathy nor for effect but to so I will keep my promise and not go into see teacher and I will not give in to my strongest of urges to run away with him and protect him form all those people who think deep down that its just laziness and pure bloody-mindedness and quite frankly a bit of an embarrassment to have a 9 year old who can’t write as well as his friends.
This is why today is a bad day and which is why next time the cat bites me in passing I may have to go and bite the cat back.