This New School idea is all very well, but it seems to have put paid to the idea of attending Old School all but completely.
Now, while I do recall mumbling something, under duress, about cutting the Creative Genius some slack, school-wise, a while back, somehow the teenage brain completely re-jigged this to mean,'You can totally stay home with me until, y'know, like, next January'.
Which I'm pretty sure is not what I meant at all but it's academic anyway, because she just went to school less and less, and now attends so rarely that I'm surprised no one's pulled her up to ask her who she is.
I was freaked out, at first. Kids are supposed to go to school, right? Otherwise Totally Scary Dudes in Suits turn up on your doorstep and take your children to the workhouse and you to a Gulag in Siberia.
But I'm nothing if not flexible, and more than a tad rebellious myself, and rather than force an unhappy teenager to attend Old School, which I know from direct personal experience would see her disaffected and wagging all day every day, (along with so many other Supposedly Enrolled Students that the school would do well to hold classes in the McCafe up the road), my inherent pragmatism (and Machiavellian cunning) inclined me to lose this battle gracefully, while retaining a stake in The War.
We cut a deal. No computers or TV in the daytime. Under Punishment of Death. And while I am available to facilitate activities, I am not obliged to invent them. CG's time is her responsibility and she is expected to present me with creative proposals (subject to approval) for how she is going to use it.
It's inspiring what a kid will think up when motivated.
She paints. She draws. She reads. She writes. She has completely cleaned her room without prompting and is keeping it neat and tidy (those who know her well will gasp in wonder at that one). She arranges excursions for herself, going to work with family friends and colleagues to see what they do for a living. She visits sick old ladies in hospital. She's even managed to earn herself some money.
But best of all, the Creative Genius bakes. She bakes impressively. And she bakes almost every day.
My pantry's never looked so good.
And if she keeps all this up until the end of the year, I shall be obliged to concede that she will have learnt more in her last term at home than in the previous three terms of Old School combined, maintaining, what's more, a happy and well-adjusted disposition throughout.
Teenagers. They might drive you bonkers, but there really is a lot to be said for listening to them.
Mym's Melting Moments
6 oz (180g) softened butter
2oz (60g) sifted icing sugar
6oz (180g) plain flour
2oz (60g) custard powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2oz (60g) softened butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons milk
Preheat oven to 160 C (325 F). In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. sift flour and custard powder 3 times, then mix into butter and sugar mixture. Stir in vanilla essence.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Roll large teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on tray. Press biscuits down lightly with a fork.
Bake on the middle shelf for 15 to 20 minutes. Take care that biscuits show only the slightest hint of colour.
To make filling, cream butter and sifted icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla essence, then gradually add milk, beating well. Ice cooled undersides generously, and sandwich together in pairs.
Give away to Deserving Friends, lest your skin break out and you gain unnecessary weight.