When kids jerk you back to reality

Tsale Makam

Tsale Makam

I am shouting at my Grade 4 child for unnecessarily losing marks on a maths test. Such careless mistakes are unforgivable.

I go on a mini-tirade. If only she had followed the instructions: "Show your working out," she'd have had six more marks instead of two for sum six and seven! The first sentence on the exam paper reads: "Read carefully." Does she not understand the meaning of these words, I demand to know.

Poor thing is holding back tears. Her former teacher's words echo in my ears: "When helping children with schoolwork, always leave them with their self-confidence intact."

Terribly gutted, I take a deep breath and praise her for a good effort. I calmly explain the importance of reading instructions carefully. With fake enthusiasm I suggest we look for something red and white to wear to school on Valentine's Day.

Her school calls it "red and white day". For R5, each child can wear civvies on this day. You are not forced to pay the R5, but if not, your child has to come in normal school uniform. Who wants their child to feel left out?

In the bedroom we find lots of white clothes. It becomes obvious we'll have to buy something red.

On Saturday, we return with a pair of red leggings to go with a white top and white skirt. As I flop onto a chair my eyes fall on the school newsletter. I re-read it absent-mindedly.

The part about February 14 says: "Learners may bring R5 donation, which will allow them to wear jeans with a red and or white T-shirt and takkies." Why didn't I see that part before?

"Maybe you didn't read carefully mommy." But she says it sweetly and without a hint of sarcasm. With my tail between my legs, I admit my mistake.