‘We had diary today,’ said the kidlet. We were all sitting at the table having dinner. This, I have come to understand, is one of the times we learn most about what the kidlet is thinking and what she is up to.
At the beginning of the year, all the kids were given diaries. Each night they are meant to fill details of the the book they are reading and the page numbers they have read for the day. I get why this is important. It allows the teachers to see just how much the kids are reading and the sorts of books on their reading lists. It teaches discipline and it provides a record.
Now, we have a reader. She is one of those kids who reads under the covers with a torch after lights out. When I call out to her and she doesn’t answer, it’s because she is most likely sitting somewhere outside, puppy at her feet with her nose in a book, so engrossed that she doesn’t hear my increasingly-annoyed voice calling her name.
For the first week, the kidlet was a little obsessive about her diary. Every night when Aaron and I went in to tell her to turn the light out, she would say she had to fill in the details. So, she would climb out of bed to find her diary and dutifully write in it.
I started to get annoyed. It was messing with our hard-worked-for bedtime routine with a kid who is the master of delay-tactics. She just had another thing added to her arsenal to delay going to sleep. And this time it was school-sanctioned!
The diligence lasted a couple of weeks. And then, it stopped. I completely forgot about it, so didn’t ask her.
So when she told us that she had ‘diary’ today, I realised that I’d not seen her filling it in much recently.
‘Do you still complete that every day? I’ve not seen it at home.’
‘Nope,’ she said. ‘I fill it in at the last minute while I’m sitting in class. I write down the books I’ve been reading and guess the number of pages. I know that I’ve been reading; I read every day. Heaps! Why do I need to write it down in a diary? That doesn’t show how good my reading is, does it?’ She said this without a hint of sheepishness.
I smothered a smile.
I knew I should tell her that she needs to do what she is asked to do by her teacher. I knew I should say to her that there is a reason for keeping the diary. I knew I should mention to her that it is something all kids are required to do and that she is no different from the other kids.
I knew that.
But I also knew how hypocritical it would be for me to tell her that. If she asked me what was being achieved by filling in the diary each day – how it would improve her reading or learning skills – I couldn’t give her an answer.
There is no way I would fill in a log book of my BGL levels just as a matter of course. If there was a reason for it – checking basal rates, trying to deal with pesky lows (or highs) – sure, I can see why.
But if the reason is just ‘its’s-what-we-get-all-people-with-diabetes-to-do-just-because-we-do’, I’s refuse. I can’t see the point.
Later on, I suggested that the kidlet have a conversation with her teacher about the diary and to talk about ways that she could use it that are meaningful to her – such as listing all the books that she finishes reading, or listing books she would like to read. She considered my ideas and said she’d think about it. (Possibly ten year-old speak for ‘If I say okay, will you stop talking about it, mum?’)
I thought about her sitting there in class just before she was to show her diary to her teacher. I thought about her frantically writing down the books and guesstimating page numbers. I wondered if she was using different coloured pens, so it looked like she had filled it in each day rather that in one hit. And I smiled. Because that’s exactly what I would do. That’s exactly what I did do.
Like mother, like daughter. And then I stopped smiling. Those teenage years are gonna be a nightmare!