The Angelicscalliwag Challenge: Part One

When I was at primary school I was the little girl who was sat (permanently) in the naughty chair, which was situated next to the teacher’s desk and the other naughty chair.  That chair was occupied (permanently) by the naughtiest boy. My school reports were boringly similar.  Must try harder.  Must stop talking.  Must concentrate.  Must..must..must…

At 13 my mum, probably out of desperation (she had already threatened to leave me on a church step if I didn’t buck up my ideas!), took me along to a lovely all girls private school.  I had to pass an exam.  I sat it, failed miserably, and was called into the head teachers office.  She proceeded to ask me lots of questions, most of which are lost in the echelons of my mind.  One stands out on account of my reply.  She asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I instantly said a brain surgeon!   How she didn’t roll on the floor with laughter and my mum sink to the floor in embarrassment I shall never know.  (Remember, I had just done abysmally in the exam).  They both showed remarkable restraint.

Miss Hilton, affectionately known within the walls of the school as ‘Hitler’, took somewhat of a shine to me and offered me a place at her school, albeit a year below my age.  Maybe she saw something that day, never seen by anyone before; something that told her intuitively that her school might just be what I needed.  Whatever the case I remain forever grateful.

I will always remember my first day at her school.  I breathed deeply, air filling my lungs along with the utter feeling of belonging.  This was home.  I felt it with every inch of my being.  I never looked back.  I was passionate about my school, my friends and my teachers.  I threw myself into everything the school had to offer.  And I never once was called to sit on the naughty chair!

My school reports were nothing short of miraculous given the contrasting ones at my primary school.  By the time I was in the 6th form I was one of eight prefects.  Not bad for the girl who had sat in the naughty chair for the first 6 years of her school life.  Academically, whilst not quite (or even remotely nearly!) brain surgeon material, I surpassed my family’s expectations and my own.  I suspect not Miss Hilton’s however.  She always seemed to have full confidence in me.

My brain has always had hyperactive tendencies.  In my first school it was seen as something negative, in my second it was seen as something to be harnessed and utilised.  I learnt that in order for it, and therefore me, to flourish I needed to keep it busy.  Occasionally I’d like an off switch, usually when I can’t get to sleep at night.  You see, as a youngster I used to wonder why people bothered with sleep at all.  Life was too exciting to miss for a few hours of sleep.  I simply couldn’t wait for the next day.  And so it is now.  Unfortunately as I age my body groans for lack of sleep.  My mind however seems to know no bounds.

In order for me and therefore my family to thrive I know that I need to keep busy, otherwise I inevitably get into mischief.  I am asked all the time how I manage to do so much with the children.  Now you all know.  It is a requirement of being me.  A survival technique, if you like, to keep me from getting into trouble!  And I love it all.

What happens though, when a hyperactive burns out?


  1. I get into mischief when I’m not busy too, and your report cards sound very familiar! That headmistress sounds like just what you needed and I wish I’d had one of those – by high school I showed up only for exams and spent the rest of the time reading in my friend’s used book store downtown. I still aced the classes which was probably why I didn’t turn to a life of crime!

    I can’t tell you what happens when a hyperactive burns out but I suspect it involves high-speed ranting. 🙂

    1. High speed ranting? Lil’ ol’ moi? Never! (well, almost never!)
      Gary and I have a plan, and I’m very excited. In fact it’s keeping me awake at night just thinking about it…..!

  2. I smiled A LOT when I read your post. As a (retired) teacher, I had many ADHD children in my classes. (For those who do not know the acronym – attention deficit hyperactive disorder) The 4 grandchildren I teach had no hope of avoiding it at all. Both parents have either ADD or ADHD. Only one of the g’kids is missing the hyperactivity component but they, all 4, have the attention deficit. BUT, give them something that grabs their attention (and it varies for each child) they are completely harnessed and focussed and productive. School/homeschool is a very interesting place, trying to find the “hook” for each child and using it consistently, while trying to get some more mundane academics into them – i.e. math facts. School/life is never dull, is it?
    P.S. I don’t think a hyperactive ever burns out. They cope/adapt.

    1. This hyperactive doesn’t want to burn out! The usual prescription of a few weeks total break would be very difficult. Not just to achieve, but to motivate myself to want to achieve. I can recognise I need a break, but probably only from home-school. So I’ve got me a plan…..

      1. You know the saying “A change is as good as a rest”. In your case, that is most probably true. My curiosity is piqued.

  3. You’ve got my curiosity going with your plan/challenge. 🙂 Can’t wait to read about it.

    I think there’s nothing wrong with having high level of energy. The term ‘hyper’ seems to suggest that it’s too much for others to bear, ie that it’s something to be frown upon or to be worried about. I think as long as you can direct that energy positively, it should be celebrated instead of being discouraged or suppressed. You’re very lucky to have met that headmistress who understood you and who let you thrive in a suitable environment. I don’t switch off mentally either, but I don’t think it bothers anybody apart from my husband who wishes I can relax a little bit more. 🙂

  4. I really don’t know how my teachers let me get away with what I did in school. I read during class, I doodled, I was horrible. And teachers either loved me or hated me, there didn’t really seem to be any middle ground, and that continued right on through college.

    Sounds like you found a good headmistress there. So, just what does a prefect do?

    1. A prefect has a position of responsibility (ha, I know your probably spluttering with laughter!) We looked after the younger girls just starting school, showed round parents on parents evening, showed round prospective parents on open evenings. Nothing very exciting but it was a real privilege to be chosen and great to put on your CV for university! Basically we represented our school.

      1. Okay, that makes sense to me. They don’t those at schools here, so our main exposure to it was from Harry Potter books and a few other British authors I’d read. To get the idea from HP, you’d think it was just to act self important :).

  5. I loved reading this, Claire! So much fun getting to know you a bit better 🙂 My favourite ADD quote is that Ben Franklin one Savannah posted recently (can’t find it now, typical). Something to do with an abundance of things to focus on. I can relate to that.
    My mum had me at 18 then had post-natal depression and split up from my dad so I lived with relatives for a year when I was 2. I think when I moved back with my mum I was determined always to be “good” – I don’t think it would have been my natural character at school otherwise! Especially if my kids are anything to go by 😀
    Having your energy must be amazing – you seem to get so much done – but I get that it comes with a flipside.
    I’m looking forward to reading later about your idea. What comes to my mind is that you have already taught your children so much and they clearly love learning so much, that you could easily take several years off and leave them to it and they’d undoubtedly turn out just fine!

    1. Oh, Lucinda, You have got to stop leaving hilarious messages on a Sunday! Collapsing on the floor in laughter is not a pretty sight!!! I’m still giggling!
      I’ll not be leaving the children to their own devices- heaven help us if I did!
      It’s even more exciting than that possibility (well, exciting to us- everyone else will probably think it’s a bit boring!!)

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