A few days ago, my daughter’s class was asked to write something about their family, in their homework book— anything they felt like. For questions like this, she usually asks us what she should write, but this time she did not.
After she was done with the work and I asked for her book to look through, I saw that she had written about her sister and father. She said her father was funny, and that she liked to tickle her little sister. I was impressed with the way she spelt tickle. She did not get it right but it was a good try.
It was also nice to know that she thought her dad was fun to be with. What worried me was that mummy did not appear anywhere in the picture. I put it down to the girl struggling with the word tickle and having “little space” within which to put her answer.
The next evening, she told us about the class lesson they had concerning family. She was excited and told her dad about how she described us.
“I told teacher that papa is very funny and always makes me laugh!” she exclaimed while laughing. Her father laughed too and proceeded to do things that would tickle her even more. They danced and swung and laughed.
He then asked her what she had said about mummy. Her answer took away most of the smile on my face.
“I said mummy was scary,” she said. Scary? What in the world did she mean by this?
“I am scary?” I asked her. “Yes. You scared us the other day.
You held your hands out like this and did your face like this and then shouted,” she said as she made the motions and put on her best scary face. “But you had asked me to scare you,” I told her in incredulity. She and her sister like to play, the scare game, sometimes. One of them hides as the other is looking, the hider jumps out and makes noise to scare the other. They do jump in fright but end up collapsing in a fit of laughter.
They enjoy it and always ask me to play along. I rarely do, but sometimes I indulge them. The last time I did this though was about a month ago. So why that was the only thing she could remember to say about me, I do not know.
I put it to her that it is a game, created and initiated by her so how come I was being made to look like the bad one?
“But you scared me,” she insisted. I left the matter as we were about to have supper. I have not spoken about it again.
But I want to. Why would she say that about me? Aren’t there some nice things I do? How about the times we have gone book hunting or shopping in the supermarket, some of her favourite things? Don’t they count for anything? Should I be worried about this? Does this mean this is primarily the way she sees me, after all everyone knows her dad is fun?
It might seem small but I can assure you I have had little sleep over this. I need some answers.