Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Difficult, home educated, shoeless, and late

We have to do something about this speech problem. Half the time I can't understand Squirrel, especially over dinner when she's got her mouth full of mashed potato and begins the prosecution routine. Most unbecoming for a lawyer-to-be.

Anyway, when it's not the mashed potato or the lentil burger or the stew which she loves, or the cereal, or the cheesy rice - honestly, I'm taking the plates away from her when she starts - when it's not all of the above, then I have to come down to the conclusion that Squirrel's speech is getting worse. And if it's not getting worse, it's certainly not getting any better.

Squirrel, Shark and Tiger have always tended to the speech style of 'dug' for 'jug', 'dis' for 'this' and 'dat' for 'sat'. But most kids grow out of it. Well, not ours.

'Are we going to see the bikings?' says Squirrel in anticipation of a history festival.
'The bikings?' I ask. 'Who's biking? Where's the bike?'
'The bikings in the Dark Ages' answers Squirrel. I gently move away her plate of pasta and tomato sauce.
'Eh? They didn't have bikes in the Dark Ages' I answer. Since Squirrel's usually such a good prosecutor, I am bound to have fallen into her trap. Unwittingly I will have confessed to a crime like eating the last slice of chocolate cake, which OK, I did do, but there was no-one else around and it would have gone off. Anyway, because she's such a good prosecutor, I look at Dig for reassurance and ask, 'No-one did go biking in the Dark Ages, did they?'
'The bikings!' shouts Squirrel in glee, assuming I'm off again on what she calls Mummy rubbish. 'You know the bikings, mummy. After the Celts!'

Ah, we're not talking about biking in the Dark Ages, are we? No, we're talking about the Vikings.

For a start I blame being a triplet. Tiger can sound her 'f'. Squirrel can sound her 's', just. And Shark can definitely sound 'th' and 'j'. But as soon as they start talking together, then out comes the triplet language. We call it the doo-bee-doo. And they're still doing it.

I console myself with Shark. At least she can do her 'f' sound now. She can say fish. This is good. She used to pronouce the 'f' as 'p' which gets us to pish, but then the 'sh' became just another 's'. Thank goodness it doesn't anymore. Because Shark's interest in fish has got us a few troubled looks from the woman at the library in our time. As we trawl through the books, my five year old Shark has been known to shout out in glee, 'I've got a book on piss!'

But we're still not there, that goal of lovely clear pronunciation of 'f' and 'p' and 'th' and 's' and 'j'.

Of course we could always go back to the Speech Therapist. Ah, of course. The Speech Therapist. Now I apologise if I've told you this tale of grit and woe before.

Grit, being a dedicated mother, worries, of course, over her five-year olds tripletty speech issues and drags everyone off to the Speech Therapist. This is a disaster.

At the first meeting it's just me and all the other concerned mums. I have to leave half-way through because I have a French session booked for our home educated children. That's home educated, I explain. They're not at school. First naughty mark and stare from the Speech Therapist (ST).

Then ST sits me down with all the other mummies and within seconds I am going bonkers in my head. She makes me play stupid games about 'Who am I?' and 'What are you feeling today?' 'You are aged six and someone didn't undertand you.' I think I am in the wrong place. They clearly don't understand me. I am aged 45. I have been a professional communicator. I have written articles. I have written advertising copy. I want to get out one of my old ads and say, 'Look! I wrote that!' I am not aged 6. So of course I won't play. I get all subversive and start changing the rules. Second naughty mark and stare from ST.

The second session doesn't get any better. It is me and Squirrel, Shark and Tiger with the other mummies and their daughters Lucy and Pauline who are in school uniform and already promptly in the first big proper session at 9.15. We are late. Naughty mark from ST. I get told we are making it more difficult for Lucy and Pauline. Be on time next time or else.

So I sit down with the mummies of Lucy and Pauline and keep my mouth shut. We can watch the children being led through the language session on a little TV in another room, so we can see what the ST does. She holds up cuddly crocodiles and lots of cards and gets the children to say words. Looks like what we do at home. Then, disaster. ST says, 'Who can line up to play a game?' Oh, foolish woman. I watch the inevitable as Shark, Squirrel and Tiger knock over a table in their haste to join forces, sending the cuddly crocodiles flying, and ST's game sprawling across the floor; they're grabbing each other, and forming a wall across Lucy and Pauline who are cowering under the window. Lucy and Pauline look like they've been taken hostage in Toddler's Beirut. Lucy bursts into tears and has to be led from the session. I get told to suggest to Shark, Squirrel and Tiger what lining up means for the next game. Very naughty mark and very big stare from ST.

The third session was the worst of all.

It just so happened that it was the day that the Washing Machine Man called to look at the broken washing machine. Dig didn't have any trousers on, of course, being only 9am in the morning, so I had to let in Washing Machine Man and point out the washing machine, and press buttons that did nothing and say, 'look, now it does nothing'.

Then I look at the clock. More disaster. It is 9.20. ST's session begins at 9.15. I suddenly stop talking to Washing Machine Man and scream at the children to get in the car. On the way out I scream at Dig to get his trousers on.

Window wipers on at full pelt we turn into the car park of ST's office at about 40 mph, screech to an emergency stop and throw the doors open to let the junior Grits fall out onto the wet gravel. Running down to ST's office I can hear behind me Squirrel, squeaking 'Mummy! Mummy!' I turn around to see Squirrel, hopping over the puddles. She's not wearing any shoes.

Suffice to say, there was no session four.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

lol re chocolate cake. I got caught out yesterday for eating the 4th and last chocolate croissant when obviously I should have saved it for Madam to have for breakfast this morning rather than eating it secretly in the kitchen whilst Madam was lounging on the sofa and His Nibs was still alying in bed. I figured I deserved it as neither of them had done anything and I'd heated them up, distributed them and done a load of hand washing AND put laundry on. Effort should be rewarded by a greater volume of chocolate.

The 6 year old didn't agree and said that I was selfish !!!!!!