A visit to the teacher


This afternoon I had my first parent teacher meeting. I skipped lunch in order to free up some time, and at 3:30, just as they were serving up chocolate éclairs in the office to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I was rushing down the fire escape to catch a taxi to Tiong Bahru.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Well, that’s not entirely true; I was expecting my wife was going to turn up too, but after a quarter of an hour, three unanswered calls and a brace of texts, I gave up and had the meeting with La Serpiente’s teacher by myself.

La Serpiente is full of energy at home, always rushing about and doing things, whether it’s hugging her sister or playing with crayons or throwing a ball or just yelling. So I wasn’t too surprised to hear the feedback from her teacher that at school she spends her time jumping up and running around as well. Plus she has my wife’s assertiveness; apparently La Serpiente is always volunteering and going to the front, and perhaps sometimes the shyer children are being intimidated by this muscular two-year old we’ve produced.

Perhaps we could get La Serpiente to exercise more, the teacher suggested, to burn off some of her excess energy? I tried to explain that she’s always a little blonde whirlwind, at home or abroad. When she develops empathy, maybe she’ll calm down a bit. Or we could try to compromise her physical development by getting her to watch TV all day.

The teacher also asked how we discipline La Serpiente, and I was sort of at a loss, because mostly she has a pretty free rein in the house. When she does act up, we usually try to tell her why she shouldn’t do what she’s doing, but there are times when she acts out and we end up in a stalemate, both of us yelling at each other.

Or I pick her up and move her, like I did on Wednesday morning. I hope our teacher wasn’t sounding us out to find out why La Serpiente regularly turns up with a banged up face, but that’s her overconfidence, not abusive parents.

She asked if there was anything I wanted La Serpiente to learn this year. I wanted to say the basics of algebra and projective geometry, but I wimped out and just hoped she’d be more socialised by the end of the year. I’ll have to wait to get her going on eigenvectors and linear transformations, I suppose.

Later, my wife called me, a little worried by all the phone calls, to find out what was up. She’d taken La Serpiente swimming, and totally forgot about the appointment. I went back to the office, where there were still approximately sixty mini chocolate éclairs. Willpower intact, I lasted another day without added sugar.


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