Friday, December 5, 2008

More on the High-End Offspring She's Raising

The Matron has expressed recent concern regarding Merrick's reading abilities, or more appropriately, lack thereof. Her recent teaching experiences, combined with Merrick's disinterest in all things Academe, have rendered the Matron seriously concerned for this 5 year old's future!

So . . . yesterday, packed all sardine-like onto the freeway and going just about that pace (the dead salty ones, that is), her instructional impulses were piqued when Merrick said: "Mama? Does that license pwate spell cow?"

H W A 4 8 1

Matron: "No, that doesn't spell cow. License plates don't spell words -- but (insert inspiration!) we can read the letters and numbers. What letters do you see?"

Merrick: "Q? Is the fwist one Q?"

Matron: "It makes an huh sound. Like HAmburger. Try again."

Merrick: "B?"

Scarlett: "Don't even bother, Mama. He's hopeless."

After an agonizing romp through three letters (he knew A), the Matron inquired after the first number? 4

Merrick: "B?"

Small silence while the Matron wondered if her bloodline was headed to Planet Ivy.

Merrick: "Mama? What's the B wowd? Can I say the B wowd?"

Hmmmmm. . . child unable to and uninterested in reading, makes Inquiry into the Word. Doesn't matter which one - does it?

Matron: "Yes! Yes, you can say the B word. You can spell it. Sound it out."

Merrick (JOY): "Weally?"

Matron: "The B word is B - itch. What do you think that second letter is. iii sound.

Scarlett: "Mom! You're teaching him to swear!"

Merrick: "Is the lettew a A?"

And so it went, through the traffic jam, two B words ("What's the letter that sounds like ah?"), one D word and one A word, arriving home just before running out of fairly harmless language choices.

Profanity as pedagogical tool! Now there's high end parenting. Today, he asked for another. The Matron gave that child the all time, most dangerous BAD swear word- ever.

"Frankenberry! Frankenberry is the WORST. Merrick, don't ever ever say that in public! Now what letter does that start with? FFFFF sound?"

Merrick lit up like a Christmas tree. "Q?"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One of the Three Hysterics in the House

Sunday was the last performance of The Sound of Music.

The Matron started steeling herself for Monday about seven days ago, immersing herself in prayer, meditation, herbs and alcohol. After two years with that daughter-actor, the Matron knows all too well what happens the day after a show closes.

Friends, may you never have such knowledge.

So Scarlett is simultaneously upbeat and nostalgic on Sunday night, still basking in Audience Glow and Cast Camaraderie. But Monday?

The Matron entered this round of Post Production Hysteria when she returned from her morning run around 7:30 am. The sound blast of Scarlett screaming (strategically still located in her bed) nearly knocked her back outside.

Matron to husband: "What's with her?"

John: "You know."

That child wept and pined for nearly an hour, declaring herself tragically and mysteriously unable to stand by her own volition. After much cajoling, she managed to reach deep down into the wellsprings of superhuman strength in the face of great, life-threatening challenge--you know, the place people reach when they're stranded on a mountain with no food or water or have to hurl automobiles off of small children--and was able to get out of bed, and hallelujah, get dressed.

She was unable to eat breakfast from her position on the living room floor, where she collapsed from the efforts described in the previous paragraph.

Aside! Break in the linear narrative! For those of you who sometimes read these blog posts and think, oh my. Family life could not be that exciting--she must make some of this stuff up!

True. Hyperbole and the Matron are longtime companions.

But she actually refrains from blogging too much about Scarlett, lest she lose all credibility as a narrator. She could not make up what is already incredible. Truth is stranger and all that.

Back to the the living room floor. After crawling to her boots, Scarlett managed to secure those on her feet. While weeping.

Matron: "Scarlett! What IS the matter?"


Absolutely, totally 100% true.

Here, some spirit with a wicked sense of humor possessed the Matron and she decided to unfurl Scarlett's unconscious before that child's eyes.

"Scarlett, you're not sick. You're just sad because the show is over and you'll miss all those people. This happens every time a show ends."

Whereupon Scarlett fell to the floor again, flailing in agony. "MY STOMACH! MY HEAD HURTS! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE FORCING ME TO GO TO SCHOOL LIKE THIS!"

The Matron understood then that her daughter was either simply too young to tend to the complexities of saying good-bye to people with whom you've worked intimately for three months and will probably never see again OR is exhibiting what will be a lifelong pattern of hysteria, denial and displaced emotion.

Either way, the Matron threw up her hands.

Scarlett continued to weep and wail about her stomach, her head, her lack of breakfast, the game she will be forced to play during gym, the way Merrick holds a spoon and the 20 some days of December to get through until Christmas before FINALLY lurching out of the van to school, nearly forty minutes late.

Scarlett (sobbing): "Look at me! I can barely walk and you're forcing me to go to school." And that child staggered into the building, dragging one useless leg behind her (apparently injured while sitting in the van on the way to school) the entire way.

And when the Matron picked her up at 3:45 pm? She was fine.

Scarlett: "Mom? When do rehearsals for The Miracle Worker start? Isn't that tonight? Can I read the script yet? Have you talked to the director?"

The Matron has no doubt that Scarlett has the deaf-blind flail within her. She witnesses that routine on a regular basis.