We were invited to La Fille's school for her "evaluation report". I often hear parents in Britain moaning about the number of tests their young children have to take, but I believe formal assessment at three to four years old - as happens here - trumps anything I've heard from the UK.
We also had to go with La Fille and she had to sit in on the assessment. Some French parents who had been through this before had complained this was horribly traumatic for their children and had marked them if not for life, at least for the following week. The parents on the school committee had raised it with the headmistress but she insisted it was part of the "education process" and the children should be there.
So there we were in the classroom sitting either side of La Fille on titchy chairs, the Frenchman with his knees somewhere either side of his ears, facing the teacher who was giving her assessment and showing us the report. One green spot (top marks), and another and another. But what was this? A small orange dot ringed with green. It turned out the orange spot was a small minus for "talking too much" sometime back in the Autumn when La Fille started school. The green ring around it signified that she no longer does this, we learned. This did seem a little unfair as I'd assumed the "evaluation" was of where La Fille is now, not where she was on her first weeks in school, but it was such a teeny weeny orange dot amid a sea of green I let it go. As I said, she is only four years old.
The teacher concluded it was a very good report and told La Fille the green ring around the orange dot showed how she had grown up since she started school. Immediately La Fille perked up. "I don't want to grow up because I don't want to marry with anyone I want to stay with Mama and Papa," she announced. I considered it best to leave before Sigmund the Psi was evoked. Later, walking back from the park with just the Frenchman, La Fille announced she had changed her mind and wanted to marry him.
I thought this a rather sweet story and have recounted it to both British and French friends. The British, without exception, have laughed and said: "Ahh, bless!" Every single French parent has said: "Ah, the Oedipus Complex. (Freud again). Don't worry they grow out of it."
But I wasn't worried. Should I be?