Before Easter, Mini took some of his treasured postcard collection into school to share with his class on Show and Tell day. The particular postcards were from Australia. I had a report back in his home-school book to say how Mini had enjoyed telling the class about his overnight visit to Australia that weekend. A TA tried to catch him out by asking who wrote on the back of the cards, but he had it all worked out and shared how mummy's friend had taken these photos, turned them into postcards and sent them back via super fast post. He later told another teacher that he was visiting Africa the following weekend but he'd be back in time for school on Monday.
At the time, we found it amusing, but the teacher was right in sharing it with us as it's quite out of character for Mini to be so...colourful in his imagination and story-telling. I briefly brought it up with Mini, but the pink of his cheeks and the hurt in his eyes was enough to tell me to back off.
This week I got called over to speak with Mini's teacher after school. She never comes out to see me, but rather sends Mini over to fetch me. She wanted to tell me about another exaggeration that occurred at school.
They were talking initially about birthdays. Mini shared that Dollop's birthday is coming up and we've booked a session at a private swimming pool. Then he said that his other sister is coming. The teacher expressed surprise because she didn't know Mini had another sister. Oh yes, he replies, he's got lots of sisters, about 10.
Given the previous exaggeration, you could forgive the teacher for not believing this one either. Truth be told, I think Mini got a bit confused, or maybe said sister but meant cousin. Because in fact, it's Baby Whizz's birthday a few days before Dollop's, and so the four of us, Baby Whizz & her mum, and nanna & grandad are all going to the pool together.
As she was telling me about how the conversation had gone, I slowly saw some realisation appear across her face. I think I was probably giving her 'a look' too. She seemed to remember that the family she sees - Mum, Dad, Mini and Dollop isn't the only family that Mini has. Although, she still seemed pretty surprised when I told her that 10 sisters wasn't too much of an exaggeration. I thanked her for telling me, but told her it wasn't really anything to worry about. Given his background and circumstances it's pretty natural that he would get confused about something like this - he still believes that Baby Smiler (the NC's Godson) is his brother. I told her that it highlights that we need to do some more life story work with him, but had been advised to hold off on it at the moment.
Sadly, the lack of teacher's discretion caused a few problems - Mini was ashamed that she thought he was lying, and we didn't have the easiest afternoon afterwards. But it did open up an opportunity for Mini to ask a few questions about his birth family, and I gently answered them until Mini became distracted by the Lollipop man wearing a coat on such a warm day.
So there you go. Should I admit that I was a little amused at the assumption, then the dawning realisation that followed?
It's good that despite knowing how our family came to be, she, like most people I hope, sees us for us and not how we are made.