Ma, maestra! Hai i capelli bianchi! Arianna is sitting on my lap, supposedly looking at a clock and telling me the time in English, but actually pointing out the grey hairs at my temples, which are all too obvious at the moment as I desperately clip my overgrown fringe out of my eyes. Emilia and Chiara are agog at this new development. They race over to have a look, poking at my hairline and shrieking gleefully. Pinned down by three wriggling, giggling seven year olds, I’m unable to keep an eye out for what the other three are doing, but I can guess. Suspicions are confirmed when there’s an urgent whisper from the door to my classroom. I wrestle my head out of the tangle of tiny hands and arms molesting my ageing hair to see my boss standing there, looking apologetic. Poor guy. He shares a connecting door with my classroom. To be honest, I’m only surprised that this is the first time he’s come in. This class, particularly, always want to slither in behind the bookcase which sits in the alcove next to the connecting door. It drives me demented because they knock all the books out of place, but my boss, sitting on the far side of it, has it much worse. He doesn’t get any of the wonderful moments when I sit down for a second and they all swarm onto my lap for a cuddle, or come up with wonderful, brilliantly imaginative, hare-brained games to play, or just giggle helplessly for ten minutes because – hell – they’re seven years old and that’s what they *do*. No, all he gets is rattling doorknobs and crashing books and a cacophony of babbling noise not half a foot from his desk. God knows how he ever gets any work done.
The girls are irreverently overexcited by this new addition to the classroom. Arianna jumps straight in with the most important piece of information. La maestra ha i capelli bianchi! Guarda! My boss laughs. No, it’s not white, it’s blonde! Right, Kate? He starts to withdraw but just in time remembers why he actually came in. With mock sternness he beckons the two little monkeys at the side of the bookcase out of their hiding place. Come away from there, girls. He gives me a conspiratorial wink then fixes a serious gaze on the tiny troublemakers in front of him. Remember, ragazze – it’s *blonde*. Diplomatic disaster averted, he whisks out of the room before being drawn into any more embarrassing discussions of the Maestra’s failings as a glamourpuss. Never work with pint-sized Italian princesses if you value your self-esteem. There is no-one more guaranteed to point out the fact that you are, whatever you may feel like on the inside, outwardly very definitely a grown-up.
Image by brutapesquisa (Creative Commons)
This post was inspired by one of the Scintilla Project‘s day two prompts: ‘When did you realise you were a grown-up?’