Just after we all three sat at the dinner table yesterday evening, this quick conversation, initiated by Young One, ensued:
Young One: I did really well on my verifica today. I ...
It prompted a simultaneous, concerned interruption from both Richard and me.
Me: You had a test?! I didn't know about a test. Did you know about this in advance?
Richard: Wait a minute! A test. What kind of test? This is the first time I hear of this test.
There had been an issue with a test in October, and since then we committed to preparing her, studying with her before any tests. It's what parents do, right?
Young One: And this (with heavy, adult-like emphasis on the word "this") is exactly why I did not tell you about it. You guys freak out (similar emphasis) any time I have a test. This was on the articoli indeterminativi (indefinite articles) and I only missed one. All of those on the paper and I only got one (emphasis) wrong and it was only because I don't know how to say "igloo" in Italian and most of the kids got that one wrong anyway but you guys freak out if I tell you I have a verifica. I have another verifica tomorrow, too, but I am not telling you anything about it. Don't freak out.
A ha. Enough said. Message to control "freak out" factor duely noted.
The irony, of course, is that we are careful not to place emphases on the grades she earns on these tests, and use phrases peppered with "doing your best " and "being prepared." We take that preparation seriously, though. There is absolutely no "freaking out" over grades in this house, and now I know there is perhaps too much of it concerning the preparation.
What a job, this parenting.