I had Mabel’s parent-teacher conference yesterday. I was pretty sure there wouldn’t be much of import to say, but thought I’d better go along anyway just to make sure they didn’t need to tell me she was a sociopath in training or anything. (They didn’t.)

Her teachers opened procedings by assuring me that on the mornings when I pry her off me and leave her wailing in the classroom, the yells have stopped before I’m down the corridor and I’m not to worry at all. Which was nice.

I countered by explaining that those are the mornings when she hasn’t had much sleep. I explained how bad a sleeper she is (though of course I’ve noted this on those days too when handing her over) and how she’s often wide awake for an hour or so in the night, and how I have to go to her and try to help her get back to sleep.

Which left the field open wide for them to tell me what I should do about that. Silly me for mentioning it. They advised not going. I chuckled. (Maybe it was more of a snort.) Or at least a Supernanny-style putting-back-to-bed with no cuddles, over and over, until it sticks, they said.

I nodded and smiled and didn’t say “Well, I’d prefer to go to my child when she wakes and calls for me, because she might actually need me. She might be sick, or have had a nightmare, and I don’t want her to think that she’s all alone and banned from my company just because it’s dark outside.” I only thought of that afterwards.

“No cuddles,” repeated her teacher. Of course, I hadn’t mentioned the booboos component of the putting back to sleep. No need to confuse matters. Oh, fine, okay, so I’m a little embarrassed and don’t want to tell her teachers we’re still nursing at night. If they think I’m a soft touch to be cuddling with her every night, can you imagine what they’d say when I mentioned that she still partakes of the nectar too? Besides, it’s none of their business. But I was conscious of being a bad extended-lactivist.

I nodded and smiled some more, and we talked about Mabel’s “academic” progress (she can cut with scissors!) and social progress (needs encouragement to clean up; needs to work on peaceful conflict resolution, yada yada, four-year-old-cakes), and I took my leave.

It was only later on last night that I realised that Ms S’s references to “cuddles” were code for booboo. Because of course, she’s talked to Mabel about this, and Mabel has no self-censoring device, and Ms S. is no idiot, and hadn’t she just told me that you can have a good, sensible conversation with Mabel? (Not like me, then.)

She should have winked and cocked her head a lot more obviously if she wanted me to understand that she meant “No more booboo.” I’m sleep deprived, so I’m a bit slow on the uptake.

4 thoughts on “Code

  1. mindthebaby

    Now, if she was talking in code and did in fact mean “no more booboo” rather than “no more cuddles”, wouldn’t the appropriate response surely be “eh, you stick to the teaching and I’ll stick to mothering my child as I see fit, thank you very much. Oh and mind your own business”? Even if it was in your head. Cheeky mare.

  2. Joanna

    I know I have said this before so excuse me if I am repeating myself to you but I have major problems with situations like this because people won’t say one word to the parents who goes around drunk or stoned. They won’t say one word to those people because they are afraid of them but they’ll get on their high horse with the average parent because they are not afraid. Only you know how to best parent your child.

    1. (Not) Maud

      Ah, don’t worry, she wasn’t on her high horse. They were trying to help, which I suppose they see as their duty. I just thought it was funny that if she really meant something else it went totally over my head until later on.


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