Jyarl ended up using one of Missy's ideas for computerized learning. They set up a large screen tv and console behind a thick screen, operating under the hope that bulletproof glass was also little-orc proof.
Is there a kid anywhere that doesn't love video games? If so, Jefferies was not that kid. Jyarl had parental access and set it so she could play educational games anytime. The entertainment games were limited to 30 minutes a day, but she could earn more time by good behaviour, doing household chores, and completing school work, either on the computer or manually. There was no penalty for getting the work wrong - so long as she actually tried. She could lose time off her 30 minutes for bad behaviour though, and that proved to be a better disciplinary method than anything else Jyarl had tried.
There were a few hiccups. Jefferies destroyed a few game controllers and keyboards in temper fits, until she learned that doing so meant a full day without until a new one arrived. She did well with the numbers, colours, and shapes, but the games to teach her letters frustrated her. She learned the alphabet song, learned what all the letters were called, but couldn't make the jump to the letter sounds.
"C-A-T dun make cat, it make seeaytee," she argued. Usually with the computer, which dutifully replied back: "C-A-T: cat." This would go on for a while, till she screamed in fury, (carefully) set down the controller and went to her punching bag to scream and punch some more.
Once Jefferies had been taught to use a punching bag, the incidence of broken items in the Olearius household went way down. She needed a physical outlet for her anger, and she had learned to delay releasing that anger long enough to reach the bag.
Of course Jyarl couldn't let her keep beating up on that bag with poor technique, could he? He found a boxing sim with motion sensitive gloves and a motion mat to give her points for proper stance and different punch styles.
Jefferies loved it. The game didn't replace the punching bag for anger management, but it gave her goals that she was excited about. She stopped playing first person shooters and racing games and spent all her entertainment game time on boxing. She started begging for extra chores to do to earn more boxing time. She was already in charge of taking out the trash, walking Gorgutz, and pooper-scooper duty, all of which she could do without difficulties. Folding clothes, vacuuming the floor, and washing dishes she did enthusiastically and with little skill. Jyarl gave her the points for them, but often had to redo the work when she wasn't looking.
Jyarl and Missy started to talk about her going to school part time. Missy thought she had learned enough self-control and needed the social interaction. Jyarl worried that since she was still so far behind her age group, it might damage her self-esteem. Missy thought her self-esteem was fine, but she hadn't see some of the more vulnerable moments that Jyarl had.
Finally they compromised, and decided to put her into a crafts class - two hours long, three days a week. Little Jefferies was good with her hands and liked to make things, so she should be on about the same level as the other kids.
The night before the first class, Jyarl found Jefferies sitting in her room hugging the plush beargon that Missy had given her. (No, not the same beargon that Magtok had given Missy for Thanksmas. Missy bought a new one for Jefferies.)
"Hey, whats the matter, champ?" Jyarl said.
Jefferies held up her beargon. "Master Chief is scared," she said. Jyarl knew by now that 'Master Chief' was a convenient way for the little orc to talk about her feelings.
"What is she scared of?" he asked. He also knew that 'Master Chief' was a girl, despite the name.
"She's scared because the uder kids will call her a **** greenie. And den she'll hit them really hard like you said to. But den Missy will say, 'No, Master Chief, you shouldn't hit uder people unless dey hit you first. Dat was a bad ting.'"
Jyarl winced. He remembered telling Jefferies that, the first day he'd brought her home. At the time, he'd been picturing nameless faceless bullies. But of course, they'd be children her own age, small and fragile, who probably didn't have tusks and almost certainly hadn't spend months diligently learning to punch hard. He imagined some unconscious child being sent to the emergency room, with a distraught mother or father worried sick about whether their kid was ever going to wake up.
How do you teach a kid when to stand up to bullies and when to walk away? He hadn't realized how damn hard parenting was going to be.
"You better tell Master Chief that Missy was smarter than me this time," he told Jefferies. "If someone calls her a mean name, then tell a grownup. If someone hits her, then she can hit them back, but only one time. If they hit her again, she can hit them again. But no extra hits. Punch for punch."
Jefferies holds Master Chief up to look in the beargon's plastic eyes. "Did you hear dat, Master Chief? No hitting first." Then in the voice she used for the beargon. "Okay Jefferies. I no hit first."
"Good girls," Jyarl said, and gave girl and toy a hug and kiss. "You'll both do great."
Nobody called Jefferies a greenie. Instead two of the boys laughed at her tusks, and stuck popsicle sticks in their lips to make fake ones to mock her. Jefferies got mad and made fists, then remembered what Jyarl had said. Punch for punch, and they hadn't punched her. They hadn't called her mean names either. Maybe since they had laughed at her, she could... laugh at them? Laughing for laughing? She consulted with Master Chief (luckily Master Chief could hear her even if she didn't say stuff out loud), and Master Chief thought it would be okay. So she went to the biggest of the two boys and said. "Your stupid face looks eben stupider like that." And then she laughed and laughed, and some of the other kids laughed too. And Jefferies wasn't mad anymore.
Best of all, when class was over, Jefferies could tell that her popsicle stick box was much better than theirs. She had finished it early enough to colour it with markers and write on the lid. She only knew the writing by memory. She couldn't understand how the letters made the word. But she knew that J-Y-A-R-L meant 'Jyarl'.