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When you’re five, you wear glasses and go to an international school where the average kid your age is about 1 and a half your size life can be a jungle. 

On top of that, if you are too proud to tell the teacher when somebody bullies you, life can really suck at times.

Now, one of the differences between the international school my kid used to go to in Milan and the international school over here is that back in Milan I was under the impression that his teachers thought to be those in charge of my kid’s behaviour as long ad he was at school (and – as a working mum – I definitely embraced with enthusiasm such their attitude), while over here families, and therefore – for some obscure reason – mothers in the first place (nobody ever bothered calling or e-mailing my husband, it’s all my honour and privilege) are likely to be considered personally responsible for their misfits and accordingly called to account for them.

Therefore, however empathetic I feel toward my little one, when he comes back home and tells me of his peers’ misdeeds – unless their misbehaviour may result in a possible danger or is repeating itself over and over again – I suggest my son how he should react (including but not limited to reporting them to the competent authorities, which every time he fiercely refuses to do) – but I also feel very empathetic to that poor woman who would be called to advocate for her child and tend to not give them away. I stick to the silence code. 

This whole matter would be no issue at all IF all the other kids were as proud and mine and their mothers were as empathetic as myself, but apparently this is not the case. Thus what happens is that, when my kid “returns the favour” to any of his school mates, I may happen to be the one who’s requested to explain why he did this or that and where on earth he learnt it (and it can easily be something quite embarrassing so the very idea that you son’s teacher may think that it’s something you normally do at home is kind of humiliating). At school he learnt it of course (and you could precisely name from whom actually), but if you didn’t speak out at the right time there’s no point in complaining a posteriori, is it? It goes without saying that if my son learnt it (be it a swearword, a gesture or whatever), it’s because the original perpetrator succeeded in going undetected to the school so that when mine is caught red-handed the school thinks it’s him (and therefore us as a family) who brought the offence in (and forgive me if my wording sounds ridiculously lawyerish).

Well, yesterday my little brat got off the school bus proudly sticking out his middle finger at me. I imagined him doing the same thing at his teacher and literally horrified. His older mate Mia (little girls are so much easier to relate to before they turn into gloomy teenagers) gently informed me that X had made it at him on the bus, very sensibly adding that she was positive my kid didn’t even understand what the gesture meant. And of course I told him that it’s a very rude and unrespectful gesture and to not do it ever again, but I can already envisage his teacher’s embarrassment in writing me that my kid made a gesture at her and could I please save a few minutes to drop by and discuss a little bit on it? 😁

So by this post I’m actually pre-arranging material evidence of the fact WE DON’T STICK THE FINGER AT PEOPLE… 😑