Friday, March 28, 2008

In which Ms Salina is extremely cheeky (and regresses her mother)

Yesterday, after a wonderful afternoon of not annoying a migrainey (yes, AGAIN) Mummy while having a tea party with her new best friend from 2 doors down, 'Salina overfilled her indulgence quota and went scarily close to being in BIG TROUBLE.

See, the problem is that 'Salina has a tendency towards precociousness (I wonder where THAT came from) and, while it can be endearing and cute in small doses, it has a tendency to do certain adults heads in (especially migrainey heads) given in large quantities over extended periods - and the threshold was overreached yesterday afternoon.

"Stop being so cheeky" I screeched. However, even as I screeched, I remembered a certain incident 25 years ago that was scarily close to being re-enacted.

I mentioned previously that I spent some time in boarding school.

Now, boarding school is one place where the threshold for cheek is quite low. Imagine the average cheek of the average teenage girl and multiply by 200 - that is what is designed to send boarding school mistresses over the precarious ledge tethering them in the belief they are in the sane realm.

In an attempt to restore sanity to the average boarding school mistress (easier said than done), draconian rules and regulations were installed and rigorously adhered to.

Eventually I did learn and worked out how to dole out my cheek in methods designed to slip through the cracks and fissures - but that was about my second year of boarding school. In my first year, I hit their sanity threshold on many an occasion.

There was the moment when I broke my toe playing truth, dare. There were the times when I broke music study regulations. There was many an instance when I had to stand through meals. And then there was church.

We were a non-denominational school - which meant that every Christian religion was offered to boarders every second Sunday. To keep costs down, the majority (Anglicans) were sent to early church, and the buses then took a second load of boarders to late church of their choice.

Drawing the short straw and being christened Anglican meant you had to be up earlier than your luckier Catholic, Uniting, Lutheran, Protestant, Presbyterian or Baptist sisters. It means you got the cold breakfast as the kitchen staff were not going to indulge at such an early hour. It meant being dressed in your "white with gold trim safari suits" (otherwise dubbed "Ten-Tonne-Tessie Dresses") and Panama hats before 6.30am to be bussed to the Anglican Cathedral.

I really feel for the good worshippers at that place, as their early morning crowd was well and truly outnumbered by the little heathens that we were. One good game in church was to see if you could get all around you scratching by tipping your Panama back and having a go - then there was the yawning contests and giggles and whispers as the poor mistresses attempted to put out fires.

But the really superior (?) thing about going to first church, was if you got up someone's nose enough, you could get detention - which meant double church.

And yours truly did some great nasal investigation during her first year.

It got to a point that Mrs L, the matron, would just look at me in the morning, find any detail to get me on and sentence me to save another mistress the hassle at a later stage.

By third term, I had spent the majority of Church Sundays in Anglican first church and then another denomination of their choice. I subsequently have absolutely no time for organised religion!

Mrs L greeted me this one morning about how messy I was. This was an ongoing banter we had going, earning me a special name from Mrs L of "Princess Grot".

Anyway, I think I may have grunted or not been quite humble enough in the face of her opinion, thus I received the usual "double church" admonishment. "Whatever" may have been my reply - it was definitely my attitude.

To put it into polite words, her threshold broke and she upped the ante. "Double church until the end of term!" Again, I failed to heed the flashing caution signs and may have replied something about whether that was the best she could come up with - don't quote me on it.

"DOUBLE CHURCH UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR!!!" she thundered, turning a lovely shade of purple. Her only bolthole after this was until the end of time, so I shrugged, rolled my eyes and taunted her to use it. She saw that she had nothing left to offer and she was infuriated that such punishment no longer worked.

She did retire at the end of that year - I am sure I had nothing to do with it, as she was already 106 and had been threatening to retire for years.

Anyhow, back to my own daughter, and her moments of driving Mummy (and V) mad.

Where was I?

Oh yes, "Stop being so cheeky" I screeched.

"What is cheeky?" said the monkey 'Salina. Word to the wise - not the phrase to employ if trying to defuse a situation.

"Cheeky is giving a smarty answer rather than just doing what you are asked. Do as you are ASKED" I valiantly attempted not to be drawn.

"Oh, what do you mean by smarty?" says Ms Smarty-Pants the endangered 'Salina.

"J-U-S-T D-O A-S Y-O-U A-R-E A-S-K-E-D-!-!-!"

Later, I explained how, when we were children, we learned the definition of cheek from our parents. Ah, the good old days, when the threat of a belting or wooden spoon helped us in our understanding of the world.

Whatever happened to fear as a tool for parental control? There are moments when it would make my job so much easier.

Either that, or we are going to have to start threatening a bit of religion around here.


Jen at Semantically driven said...

I think I could handle some cheeky. I'm going to one-up you and give you a suspended son o'mine on Monday for being naughty at school. He's soooo in trouble from me too.

Alison said...

I think Ms Salina and I would get on like a house on fire. LOL!
Sorry, I know it's not funny when you have a migraine (or even when you don't) and it's your own child being cheeky.
Loved your boarding school story. I can so imagine the- is that the worst you've got?- attitude!
Hope you achieve peace soon :)

Pencil Writer said...

Commiserating (heavy empahsis on the 'mizery' part) with you on the migraine front. They are NEVER fun. Interesting in the "aura" stage, however. And as for cheeky kids--I have four of them and well, they just get better at it and more challenged with how to verbally sink the Mom. (My four have somehow survived into their twenties and thirties.) They were all precocious! Scarily precocious! My oldest began talking at six months. She'd pronounce 'bottle' with distinct "tees" not like her Mom who pronounced the word as if it had "dees" in the middle. (She's the one with an English degree. She never lets me off the hook.) She began at 10 months drawing conclusions and sharing them with me. Talk about one scared, defensless Mother! Then #2 daughter came along, 14 months later. Now she's the parent of 3 VERY precocious children. We all have to stop and remember that when her 2 yo son starts pitching fits and acting like a 2 yo he really IS 2. He converses/understands things far beyond the norm for 2! For instance, about 7 months ago he and his Dad were doing something together in the garage. This guy is all about helping and being included in all activities. He Dad said, "Come on, Son. Let's go in to eat." Son's reply, "Wait a minute. I have to put my equipment up." Dad said to Mom, "Where did he learn to call his (play) tools equipment?"

This child won't be 3 until May this year! And, of course, on top of everything else, these 3 grandchildren are not only precocious, they are absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I'm their grandma. My other two children, bless their little hearts, are in their 20's. Son . . . another of those precocious, cheeky kids. Loves to try to get me whenever he sees an opening. I simply refuse to get drawn into his philosophical debates when he gets on a roll! I'm no match when it comes to debating. Never have been. Never will be. I drop the ball openly and rue the day I learned I wasn't nearly so smart as my offspring!

Love your stories. Thanks for being verbose, as your sister, BB, explained! Kiss your babies for me. I love little cheeky kids! (Esp. when not mine!)

Julie Pippert said...

Here we call it sassy, but same thing (and often same reaction from me LOL).

And more boarding school stories!

Anonymous said...

ROFLOL. We have a 10 year old with exactly the same problem. Some days we wonder where on EARTH his brain is. Is it really that hard to keep your mouth shut and not get yourself into more trouble???? I'm SURE he doesn't get his cheekiness from me!!!!!!?????!!!!! *whistles innocently*


So THAT'S where Tessie was before going on holiday with me.

Hello, I'm Tessie the Typical Tourist. Where do the locals eat?

Maude Lynn said...

The Anglicans had to be at church by 6:30 am? That would have assured my conversion!

Tracey said...

I think I had a very easy childhood compared to your boarding school experiences.

Mine are getting a bit cheeky in their old age, but I can see that they are picking up their "sparkling wit and repartee" from their father and the way he stirs me up. His genes, and following his lead. None of my genes WHATSOEVER! Some days it really takes me over the edge.

jeanie said...

Jen - I consider myself one-upped.

alison - generally I get on really well with her, too. Just that when we lock horns it ain't all that easy to extricate.

pencil writer - we constantly live in fear of what the future years will bring, which is why we are working so hard right now.

julie - sassy or cheeky, it all sounds so much more FUN when you are not the grown up.

lightening - I nearly had kittens the other day when I realised that this year she was going to be 9! You often wonder where the switch is and why they can't access it.

elizabeth - honestly, I don't think that the Tessie suit would be one chosen by even the most innocent of tourists.

mama zen - I always wanted to be Baptist, because the Baptist girl got to go to church in her civvies with her guitar and actually had fun.

tracey - of course its all his fault - and don't ever let him forget it!