"Right, let's talk about how (the child's) doing at school," said the social worker. Not my son's social worker - no, he's a student, it was the manager.
I smiled at the deputy. She's been in this meeting with me before.
"I spoke to (the child's) teacher who said he had said "I want to make my mummy happy."
What's wrong with that? There's something wrong with that?
"Let's just check his academic record first," said Social Worker Manager and Deputy took up the relevant papers.
"His attendance is 96.6%...Lateness...lateness..let's see, no, he's never been late." I was abit surprised about that to be honest, we do tend to make it in on the bell, not before it...
"He is doing very well academically, he's above average for literacy, science and numeracy. He's playing well with his friends, he's not isolating himself anymore, his teacher said there's been a marked improvement since December."
She looked at me and I nodded. That eviction wasn't easy but I'm back now! I said without saying.
"He's still displaying signs of anxiety, for example he cried when he forgot his book bag."
She then spoke of an "incident" recently, she "didn't know too much about it" but "the teacher feels.."the situation was made worse for (the child) because Sue placed all her anxiety about the outcome onto her son.."
WHAT? Reel, reel, reel, reel, back.
"I know the incident you're talking about," I said a bit later, when I had the chance to defend myself. "A parent devastated my child and I didn't know who to turn to so I turned to the school."
Support, of which I now believed to have none, came from an unlikely source. My son's art therapist, the woman who hears him slag me off since I told my son he could do that with her.
"Listening to all this," she said, having been witness to the all the housing chat aswell, "Sue's dealing a lot of critisism. Wouldn't it be better if...."
Later at Kung Fu, I see Brightsmile Mum ("Kung Fu? When did he start doing that?" had said support worker. They'd all responded positively to this latest development in my son's life)
"My son wants me to be happy," I told Brightsmile. "He didn't say, I want to stop my mummy smoking or drinking or shoving needles in her arm, or hitting me across the room or telling me to fuck off all the time. He said he wanted to make me happy."
"My daughter says that all the time!" she said. "You've got to be careful. Once you're on their books, they'll get you for anything."
Hey, I don't know. Maybe the social services genuinely want to help us but one other thing Art Therapist had said.
"Do we honestly believe, that if Sue had got her secure flat, a council flat, that everything would be ok in her life now?"
They all said "No" - No? How do they know no? - but me, I fucking forgot to say: "If I seem a little on edge today, it's because I've got the dentist this afternoon, not because I've got a room full of people, shining a spot light on me and my parenting."
I'm afraid I can't advise anyone on how to "be" should they end up in a meeting like this. Though upon reflection, if you can bring someone with you, do.