Daughter Dear (DD) is dancing in a ballet in ten days’ time, which means rehearsals and hours spent in dance studio waiting rooms which are overheated, smelly, noisy and panic-inducing. In between rehearsals & school, throw in castings for other odds & sods, and you have the recipe for exhaustion and/or febrile fits (read my old post here to see why I worry about these). When DD finally surfaced this morning, she decided we were doing ‘home school’ today. Happy days, she is recognising her physical limitations on her own and I don’t have to be the bad guy any more. Well, at least for today.
Her topic at school this term is the Stone Age, so I had to stretch my imagination this morning to come up with Mesolithically-appropriate challenges: if Croog hunts down a bison, and it weighs so much, and he devours so much per day, will he make it through the winter? Will he need to supplement his diet? I could feel my synapses short-circuiting and dreaded the next segment.
Thankfully, by the time we got to the English part of our
entertainment learning, she just wanted to continue reading Anne Frank’s Diary. Great, let’s discuss fascism & genocide for a change. The last time I read Anne’s diary was more than 20 years ago, and I forgot how wonderful Anne is at describing the people in the Annexe and observing life within and without. It’s truly magical to rediscover one of my childhood favourites through my daughter’s eyes. DD has innocence & curiosity in spades, and is a budding writer with a strong voice of her own. She loves dissecting characters, understanding their motivations and challenges. We swept through several diary entries fairly quickly, until Anne starts describing the forced marches through the streets of Jews being deported to Westerbork. “Why, mummy, why?”
Damn you, books! How do I explain to my 9-year-old that this genocide was based on abstract, non-pragmatic ideology—which was then executed by very rational, pragmatic means? How do I explain how decent human beings had to subvert their goodness, their humanity, to keep their own loved ones safe from the Nazi machine? How do I explain the desperation, the pack mentality? While I’m mulling this over, trying to find the right words, she says, “You think I could watch Annie till you figure out an age-appropriate answer?”
YES! Let’s watch Annie. And give husband a heads up that he might be in for an interesting discussion over dinner.