The “see how she’s settling in” interview with my daughter’s principal was due. Wanting to make a good impression, I wore a dress – something I don’t do normally. I also added makeup and heels. The professional look, you know.
“Please don’t, Mum. You know how you are in heels. And that makeup makes you look funny.”
“What do you mean?”
She just rolled her eyes and sighed. “Fine. Whatever.”
I arrived five minutes early and took a seat in the waiting area where I discovered a magazine that had an article on black holes. I engrossed myself in looking studiously at the words so the principal would be impressed by my deep understanding of all things scientific. Daughter’s brains definitely Mum’s side of the family.
I was summoned into the office by a stern looking brunette, whom I’m sure was responsible for the rug lip that jutted just above the carpet level that my heel managed to snag.
As I sailed through the air toward the Principal’s desk, I caught a glimpse of her arched eyebrow before I hit the carpet – but by the time I’d recovered, there was no trace of it.
“Please have a seat,” she said, indicating the child-sized chair across from her. After a moment or two watching me squeeze myself into it like a clown in a mini, she said, “Your daughter is settling in very well. Are there particular issues you wished to discuss?”
“No, all good. Seems like she’s having a good time.”
“Yes, socially, she’s adapted very well,” she said, peering at a clipboard on her desk.
“Did you have concerns?”
“Nope. Just curious.”
“Her teacher feels she has some good intellect backed by discipline, so from our perspective she’s doing very well.”
“Great, I guess that covers that then.”
She leaned forward. “Your daughter did mention that she has chocolate for breakfast.”
“We don’t really feel that chocolate is a good breakfast choice for enquiring minds.”
“Heh, heh,” I said. “Her Dad. Spoils her.”
She returned to her clipboard. “A good diet is vital for an enquiring mind, and you do no favours by feeding her chocolate.”
“Yes, well it’s not like every day. Sometimes she has – ”
“Yes, apparently sometimes she has jelly slice.”
Silence lasted for a while and as she stared at me intensely, I felt the need to babble inanely. I clenched my jaw until the urge passed.
“The jelly’s raspberry flavoured. Vitamin C. And it’s not like there’s vodka in it,” I said, grasping at the straws that were quickly disappearing down the black hole of authoritarian disapproval. “Um, well if there’s nothing else, I should be getting back to work.”
“Of course.” She smiled tightly. “Let me see you out.”
That night, my nervousness had turned to petulance. So when my daughter asked for a bowl of chocolate bubbles for dinner, I said, “Sure thing! Just remember to tell the principal about it, or you won’t get dessert.”