Friday, 5 October 2012

My little Berry

My little Berry
5 October 2012

My darling little Amber-Berry is a delight.  She is extremely witty and very sharp with her tongue and is capable of cutting anyone down to size, with a single comment alone.  She is able to sprout these comments, without giving them what appears to be even a second’s thought.  And should anyone be brave enough to give her some lip, chances are her comeback would be 100% accurate and spot-on.  Successfully preventing you from ever verbally sparring with her again.

So, what I find amusing then, given her verbal prowess and obvious sharp mind, is her blessed ignorance when it comes to certain things.  She is an independent little girl in many ways.  She loves helping to prepare meals and baking in particular.  She is the queen of the killer salad, toasted cheese, the salad sarmie and fries a mean egg.  Chocolate mixtures are her forte and she enjoys little tasks like making freshly squeezed orange juice for the whole family.  And believe it or not, she would just about sell her soul for a strong cup of coffee – scary thought, especially given the fact that’s she’s only ten.

She is extremely creative and is forever busy making something.  At present, she is doing an awesome job of cleaning me out of my entire rather vast collection of embroidery cotton – for the express purposes of making cotton bracelets for all and sundry.  A passion she is indulging in at present and absolutely loving.  She dabbles in a bit of beading and also loves designing clothes – on paper, that is.

She is independent with regards to her school work and is a diligent pupil.  I never have to nag her to do her homework – she just gets on with it.  She practices the piano daily, without me encouraging or even threatening her to do so.  Sometimes, she falls prey to the whole last-minute-dot-com thing.  “Oops, I forgot to do my piano theory”.  Or just before bedtime, “I need to take coloured straws, purple paper and silver spray paint to school tomorrow”.  To which, I invariably respond “sorry for you”. 

Whereas I had to light a cracker under Luke’s bum to get him to study and hold his hand the whole time, Amber wants to do it on her own.  So, perhaps Luke got higher marks at the same stage – but possibly, this was only so, due to my input and diligence – drumming it into him.  I used to sit with him, weeks in advance, making mind maps and explaining work to him in detail, ensuring he completely understood it.  I always helped him to make little rhymes and funny little things to help him to remember his work.  It was a huge time sucker-upper for me.

Amber, on the other hand, insists on doing it her way.  Whenever I offer to help, her response is “It’s okay, Mommy, I’ve got this.”.  And remarkably she has.  Her marks aren’t on the same level as Luke’s were, but they’re her own.  She’s for the most part above class average, and takes extreme pride in her work being her own.  And so do I.  She has her own little system and it seems to be working for her – sort of.  She knows that I’m there for her, to help if needed.  But it would appear as though for the most part at least, I’m surplus to requirements.  On occasion she asks for my help, and them I’m happy to help out.  But long gone are the slogging days I suffered through with Luke.  In fact, on the few occasions that I do help her, I can see that whatever I’m trying to teach her doesn’t even go in through the one ear and out of the other.  It literally bounces off her head again.  She cut me down to size the other day, when she said that I just distracted her and wasn’t of much assistance in any rate.  She far preferred doing it her way.

During the past test series, she came to me very embarrassed and upset one day.  She got a mere 45% for her Geography test.  I commiserated with her and we tried to get to the bottom of the question paper when she brought it home.  Sadly there were loads of mistakes, explaining the poor mark.  I told her not to worry.  I was sure she would do better next time.  I told her that perhaps it would be better in future if I studied with her, just to make sure that she understood her work.  I didn’t want her to feel too badly.  In the grand scheme of things and the bigger picture of her life, her third term mark for Geography in Grade 4 is not that important after all.

Still, I thought it was time that I perhaps stepped in a bit.  So, over the weekend that she was studying History, she once again assured me that she was doing fine and didn’t require my explanatory services – lest I forget how distracting I was to her on previous occasions.  I told her “sorry for you”, you can study all you want, but on Sunday afternoon, I will be testing you, so best you know your work.

So, what I find amusing then, given her verbal prowess and obvious sharp mind, is her blessed ignorance when it comes to certain things.  To set the scene for those of you, not in possession of a child doing Grade 4 History, in South Africa, this is what they learnt in the 3rd term.  They learnt about our fight for freedom, to ensure equality for all of our citizens.  They learnt of the bravery and vision of two great leaders – Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi.  They learnt all about the South African Constitution and what basic rights all of her citizens are entitled to.  When it came to our allotted time, all was going swimmingly, and Amber seemed to be in command of the work that she needed to know.  And to be honest, I was feeling rather chuffed with her and ever so proud.  Until we came to a double page in her work book – photocopied notes all about deciduous, citrus and subtropical fruit.  The characteristics of these fruit, what they look like, how they reproduce, what they need for optimum growth, what climate they need to be in, etc.  And my darling little bright-as-a-button Berry, had simply never cottoned on, that these were perhaps the missing Geography notes.  You know, the Geography notes she hadn’t even known she was missing.  She just carried on studying them regardless.  Never mind the fact that they were slap bang in the middle between our beloved Madiba and children’s rights in our new constitution. 

And hence the shocking Geography mark all of a sudden made sense.  In her infinite wisdom, Amber had stuck her Geography notes in her History book.  So given the fact that she had only studied half of the syllabus for her Geography test, she got 95% for the portion that she studied.  Well done, Angel-Pie!  You did really well!

And in my opinion at least, the most important thing to know about deciduous, citrus and subtropical fruit, is how they taste – whether that knowledge forms part of History, Geography, Natural Science, or even Mathematics is of no real importance in any rate.

1 comment:

  1. Hilarious Helene!!
    She is a character - in looks and habits very very much like her mother.