As we’re seeing in the current reprints, Elly has something of an ally in her struggle to destroy the incomprehensible need Mike and Lizzie have for the attention she believes to be an unfair demand on her time in their elementary school teachers. We’ve seen that Miss Campbell and Mrs Hardacre seem to be as transfixed by the notion of destroying Mike’s need to have someone pay him attention as Elly is of withholding it from him owing to her insane, counter-productive fear that doing so will make her into a babbling imbecile only fit to blither witlessly about the irrelevant concerns of her children. Unfortunately for her, the experiment succeeded and her children turned into the passive slugs that poor Aunt Bev had to babysit every summer because the weaklings she calls a brother and sister-in-law can’t even handle the fitful attempt at genuine rebellion Mike and Liz mounted.
The reason that I mentioned this is that I remember that by now, Meredith and Robin are in elementary school and, I should think, looking for the attention that the Delicate Genius is too zoned out to pay them and Deanna too frightened of the idea that they can move and think and speak without her willing it to happen to have given them even if she weren’t tired of supporting three children. My gut tells me that Deanna probably regards the teachers of the world as just more people like her horrible mother owing to their awful, awful suggestions that Meredith and Robin act up the way they do because they’re not in the ‘care’ of a grandmother who runs from them in fear, they have to contend with a dad whose mind is thousands of light-years away and a mother who barks “Sit down and stare into space until the awful, horrifying need you have for stimulation goes away forever.” This is owing, of course, to something Mira actually did wrong. Nothing in Deanna’s past suggests that she ever baby-sat or had any exposure to minors until she gave birth to them. It’s like watching Elly’s horrible failings as a pet-owner in that we have someone who has no idea what she’s doing making a destructive fool of herself proving it.