My sons finished the school year on Tuesday morning. It is hard to believe that school is over already as the time seems time seems to have passed so quickly – even eliminating the fact they started the school year in Scotland and had a period of being homeschooled in England before we actually emigrated. They each came home with so much paperwork from school that they really would have had to hire sherpas if we didn’t currently live next door to the school. Overwhelmed, I piled it all up on a table and let it intimidate me for a day before I started delving into it, determining what should be added to their memory boxes and what should be recycled.
This whole business of sorting the wheat from the chaff should have taken me less time than it did simply because I found a lot of their work quite diverting. Among my eight year old’s rainforest of paper there was an alphabetic writing prompt. For every letter of the alphabet, there was a question (with a tied-in key word) that invited him to develop a pithy, personal piece of writing. C was for collection and he was asked to share what he would collect if he could collect anything at all. My eight year old duly answered that he would collect glass human eyes because they are cool and different and “because my mom has always wanted to collect glass eyes”. So very weird but also very sweet and thoughtful. My seven year old wants to collect animals bones. I love my little weirdos.
But I digress. The point of this anecdote is that in several more examples I was referred to as “mom” and not as “mum”. I have written before about how I feel about what this exchange in vowels means to my identity but to see it on page after page really drove the point home. In order to make himself understood by his peers, in order to fit in conversationally and abide by American spelling conventions, even the most non-conformist – diligently, defiantly, determinedly non-conformist – of my sons has capitulated to conforming. Out of curiosity, I then quickly skim read writing by all of my other sons too. All of them were referring to me as “mom” in their written work.
I accept it and I understand it and, therefore, I support it but by jings it feels very odd indeed. It feels weird enough reading it but if they start actually calling me “mom” then that will feel even more alien. It’s only been eight months and my children are being Americanised. Little transatlantic Pod People.