Together with all the information sheets, they gave us two Power Point’s prints.
“Huh?” we looked at eachother, sat on the blue plastic chair of a Grade 5 or 6 class. It had window facing a yard, World War I posters on the wall and some Mandala hanging from the celing – you could easily spot the pretty ones made by girls.
The Headteacher came in and started the speech. Well, it was not a speech: it was a real Power Point presentation, lasting at least fifteen minutes. She explained everything about the primary school that Viola will attend next year, starting with general rules, following with info about the school uniform (that will solve the closet panic my daugther already has each morning) and ending up with directions about how to behave after a tummy bug.
She also pointed out: “no holidays on school days, not even if you find a deal on Ryanair” causing panic and terror among expat parents.
When she asked ‘any question?’ noone spoke: her speech was effective enough.
Actually, I had a question in mind but I tried to be silent in order not to be classified as the classic italian mom. I just wanted to pretend to be an easy going parent, just like the others.
So I kept my mouth shut.
Then the turn of the Reception Class teacher came. She looked like sixteen but I guess it’s ok since here University is shorter (it’s all right. it’s ok. she’s not that young. repeat again.). She presents a Power Point too, explaining the basics with some ’emmm…’ between one sentence and the following. The impression is overall positive.
“…and as you can see, the yard door is always open…”
Why is it always open? You live in the Uk, land of everlasting November. Come on, close that door!
“…so kids can go in and out all the time…”
Great idea! A red carpet for bronchitis!
“…and I tend to take them out with any weather…”
WHY?? Why’d you do that?
“…so that kids can see the yard in different conditions.”
The yard is in concrete. Have you seen it? There’s no rainforest in the yard. No flowers blossoming under the sun or snails coming out after the rain. You can only see the spectacular difference between dry concrete and soaking wet concrete.
“So bring some Wellies for your kid.”
And I was PANICKING.
My typical-italian-mommy question was just there, ready to be asked. I struggled not to say a word while, around me, chinese, indian, french, brits and aussie moms were smiling, pretty satisfied about the idea of kids playing under the flood.
It’s easy for them: their kids (I don’t know why or how they do it) wear short sleeves with 12 degrees. That super light jacket I’d wear on a chilly summer evening in Rome. School summer uniform is a cotton dress with short sleeves and they start wearing it in May, whatever the weather. It seems they don’t choose how to dress depending on the temperature, but depending on the season. ‘Oh well, it’s May, then it’s spring, then let’s go out in short sleeves’, and outside it’s 10 degrees.
I’d freeze to death.
Well, in the end I spoke to the teacher, letting show all my italian-mom blood.
“I have an important question.”
“It is a pretty serious matter.”
“The coat. Do you let kids go out without the coat?”
She smiled at me, with the face of a person thinking ‘oh God, not another mental italian mom’.