Tag Archives: school

Party Time

31 May

The Dolly has turned five! To mark this momentous occasion, we decided to have a party for her. For weeks we toyed with various alternatives having been to some amazing parties where thousands had literally been spent (that was just on the mother of the child’s plastic surgery). In the end we plumped for the local soft play centre where the world and his wife go and allow their children to run around like crazed loons whilst they sip lattes and dabble on the stock exchange. We secure a date and pay a deposit which is more than the weekly shop. I ask the doll excitedly, who do you play with? Who would you like to come to your party, bearing in mind we have 14 spaces to fill, she comes up with one name. The doll is the school celebrity, she walks into school where many children greet her and try to walk alongside her, depending on how she feels is how long the chosen child can escort her. She often wears some wonderful accessories to school, for example she arrived at school on the hottest day of the year, trussed up for winter, but also wearing sun glasses. She enters the classroom where a space is secured for her on the carpet between her two favourite friends, another child takes her book bag from her and places it in the box, another child takes her coat, she does not even put her name in the basket. This is remarkable to me as she has a communication delay, quite how she has managed to command such respect I will never know, I must have taught her well!
After much questioning, I manage to get some names from her, I happily write the invitations out and come up with a brainwave, I will fill the invites out and ask the teacher, then just fill the names in as I go. I sidle up to the teacher at kicking out time and shamefully ask who the doll plays with. She runs off a list of names and I shove the invites at her, I also have to ask her what these children look like, some of the children are two years above the doll but she doesn’t care. I lose track of the names and decide to hope for the best. I begin getting texts and emails accepting the invitation, I answer back as if I know who these people are. It’s all going well, I have been organised, I am writing names down and saving numbers in my phone for future purposes. I’m down to two people that have not responded, I decide to tackle this head on. I’m in the school playground one morning, I spy a child who looks vaguely familiar, I can’t remember which parent she belongs to and I don’t know her name but I’m sure she’s been invited to the party. I spy a man handing her a book bag, I assume this is dad and I swoop in. “Hi” I say, the man freezes, I bend down and adopt the same position, I smile and say hi again. The man gets up very slowly leaving me bent over speaking to the playground gravel. I pretend I’m cleaning my shoe and ping back up, I smile manically, the man starts backing away I follow him, I ask him if the girl (I’m so bad with names) is coming to the party, he’s backing away quickly repeating that his wife deals with these things and he’s just doing the school run because his wife is busy and he doesn’t know me and doesn’t speak to anybody. He backs into the fence I have him trapped, I want an answer, he must see this in my eyes, he tells me he will get his wife to talk to me, I think he’s scared. I let him go, and I watch him power walk out of the school scrabbling for his phone, to contact his wife, the oracle of the family. Later I get a text from the oracle, to my horror she was one of the first to rsvp, I’ve scared a husband for nothing, the poor man, he must be traumatised, he will never do the school run again for fear of being hounded by a maniacal woman. I apologise profusely and send a few emoticons in a bid to make peace.
Fast forward to party day, I spend the morning worrying and panicking, who will come to the party? Who will fake the plague so they don’t have to come, it would have to be a good plague as I will find out, will I lose a child? what do these children look like? I decide to stand in full view of the entrance and just smile at everybody who walks through the door in the hope they recognise me, yes, this is a plan. I ask the doll to wait to greet her guests, she has better ideas and runs off and leaves me greeting children who may or may not know her. People begin to arrive, I only mis recognise a few people who spend the rest of the time closely guarding their children from a strange grimacing woman.
The party guests arrive and we have a full quota, my next panic is that I didn’t get too carried away and invite the whole school and have just forgotten that I did. I spy the parents who have all gone into little groups, I dot around and listen to snippets of conversations to see which group I could join. The first group is talking about the best places to go skiing, the only thing I know about skiing is eating the yogurts you buy at the supermarket, next group, they are discussing the benefits of morning yoga, I’m just looking at them and wonder if they fart while getting into the yoga positions, I mean seriously, how do you overcome this? This is why I avoid yoga, if somebody farted at a critical time I would have to laugh, I wouldn’t do a discreet giggle, I would go full blown (a bit like the fart) laugh out loud, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate, I would disrupt the class and get thrown out and probably be barred. Anyway the yoga group discussion is not for me, the next group is discussing spreadsheets, I can blend into this one, I can pretend I know how to use a spreadsheet. The group participants gush about how theirs and their children’s lives are run by spreadsheet, my family is run by me screeching like a headless chicken, running around looking for shoes and accessories ten minutes after we should have left the house. I decide to chip in and say how I use a spreadsheet at work to organise myself, I’m getting nods of approval, I’m in the group, everything is going well, until I’m asked what my job is. I share my profession and the group freezes. The conversation begins again politely and I swig a large latte in The corner of the room.
The party guests begin to congregate around the table, they are hungry and wanting food, it’s not time yet, I can’t find the party host person, I decide I will chase the children around the centre, I tell them I will count to five then I will chase them. This will get me brownie points, people will see me and think wow she’s great, her kids must have such fun, what could go wrong? I’ve counted to five, the children have scattered, I pick some children to chase, it’s going well, people are staring, I’m trying to suck in my stomach so that my fat does not cause a minor earthquake when it wobbles as I run, while sucking my stomach in a decide to make monster noises, it’s going well, the children are screeching with delight, I’ve done a few circuits of the centre, I don’t realise that I’m only chasing one child now, making strange noises. I notice the child shuddering and making her way over to her mother, she runs desperately into her mothers arms crying and shaking, I’m still chasing her like a deranged dinosaur, I stop dead and try to casually look for another familiar child to style it out, heck, there aren’t any, I have to approach the child and ask if she’s ok, I tell the mother I saw another child who may have upset her, the mother comforts her, I nod reassuringly and edge away, the child suddenly stops crying and points at me, I hear her tell her mother that it wasn’t a child it was me, the mini mother groups all stop and stare at me. I have no choice, they are all staring at me, I have to appease the baying crowd, suddenly I have a brainwave, I begin to offer coffees and teas, everybody loves a hot drink, it works, hooray, they love me again. Ok to be fair, I had to buy muffins and cookies as well, but what’s a few cakes and biscuits between friends.
The party continues without a hitch, I’ve only had to scale to soft play apparatus twice to rescue my daughter, I’m feeling happy, it’s kicking out time, the party bags arrive. I too have also bought some extra sweets. I dole out the party bags and the extra sweets and a balloon the children go happily on their way. I spy another guest, I give him a party bag and encourage him to take extra sweets, “go on”‘ I say to him “have lots”, he is very reluctant, I don’t understand, I move on to the child’s brother, again I encourage him to fill his boots, it’s the end of the party, relief is encouraging my generosity, the child backs away. I try again, I really do not want to take home bags of Haribo and have to eat them as well as the cake. I thrust the bag at the boys again, the mother swoops in, she has an icy smile, she touches my arm and informs me that her children do not eat sweets, she doesn’t eat sweets and therefore her children don’t. I look at her and begin to tell her that my children don’t like sweets either, I recount a story where the doll spits out sweets, (granted, this was a year ago, she loves the sweets now), it’s going well, the mother is engaging with me and nodding along, I may just be able to style this out. I tell her about our healthy eating household and how the food served at the party was a strict one off. The woman asked where I get my organic groceries from, I tell her it’s delivered from a local source, Tescos delivery counts doesn’t it??. I tell her I cook all my meals from scratch, she tells me about the juices she blends and the meal plans that she spends her free time researching to optimise the potential of the food she cooks. I’m feeling ready to end the conversation, when my son approaches and asks if we are having nuggets or pizza for dinner and could I not overcook the smiley faces like I did last night as they were too crunchy. I try to laugh it off and blame my husband (sorry lush), but my son will not have it, he continues to point the finger and say it was me, I need a get out, I need to stop him, I try to laugh it off and inform the mother that he goes to stage school because of his comedy skills, she is looking sceptical, I give up and thrust the bag of sweets at him, he shouts yay dinner, I surrender and wave goodbye Mrs non sweet eating organic non friend.
Moral of the story, never rely on a child to have your back.

Much love x

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School

6 Oct

September marks the start of the school year and boy did it start with a bang! The bang being my thumping heart when I had to pay for two sets of uniform. My little heart broke a little when I waved the Dolly off for her first day, I had already attended the “meet the other rivals”, sorry parents, coffee afternoon and was on nodding terms with a couple of them.  I saw them clucking in their little groups that they’ve been in since conception of their little treasures and I couldn’t decide which group to infiltrate.  There are the designer mums with skin so tight Phil Collins could do a rendition of in the air tonight on their faces, the “I dress in gym clothes to make you look fat mums”, the harassed working mums, the competitive “my child is sitting gcse’s in reception because I listened to Mozart and ate omega fish oil when I was pregnant” mums and the superior elite mothers who have their own section of playground, their own minions and their own heated thrones, ok not thrones, they survey the playground and pick out victims for the minions to milk of information to build their empire.

We are all waiting on tenterhooks to pick our little darlings up from their first day, there is a hushed anxiety in the air whilst we all wait to hear the teacher regale us of our child’s first day and how they have settled in so wonderfully.  Except there was no glowing fairy godmother-esq teacher with young fledglings flocking around her adoringly, there was an almighty screeching sound bellowing out from the open classroom door, a child’s arms and legs flailing around and the teacher trying to close the classroom door to protect the parents from such a scene.  The tension in the playground reaches fever pitch as eyes dart around looking for the owner of the flailing screeching child, me, my eyes didn’t look around, I involuntarily begin creeping to the back of the playground in the hope of being able to fall into the big hole and be swallowed up.  My backwards steps are suddenly shoved to a halt, I turn around and look and I’m face to face with a skin tight mum who is desperately trying to smile but the god of Botox is conspiring against her, her eyes are looking up at her forehead as she tries to fashion a concerned frown but only ends up looking like she is constipated.  I look at her and she demands to know if that is my daughter, now you know and I know that this is my daughter, she doesn’t know yet, she’s never seen me before, I can swing this, I can pretend, I begin shaking my head and do the obligatory eye roll, all eyes are on me, I’m smiling like a maniac and the evil eyes are penetrating my soul.  I’m doing well and I think I’m getting away with it I’m still grinning and eye rolling but it’s warding them off.  The door opens again and the teacher is looking more composed, I duck behind gym mum in the hope that I can be one of the last mums to collect to reduce the pointed stares, but no, the teacher is calling my name, my daughter is screeching and wailing for her mummy. I have no choice, I have to step forward and claim my prize, I wonder if they will applaud me. The crowd parts to let me through and I do the walk of shame to the tuts and the twittering, as I reach the door the teacher informs me that my beautiful Dolly has kicked her with her shiny new expensive shoes. The gasps could be heard far and wide, I tried not to giggle, I really did but it just slipped out, the teacher gives me the death stare and both my daughter and I had to do the walk of shame together.
After this incident, I was surprised to receive the email inviting me to coffee and croissants by the queen elite Mother. This was to be a “small social gathering, to meet the other mums and to network” hmm, network, as I have no friends I thought I would go, you never know there may be another crazy mum who cannot trust what escapes from her mouth. I go for it, I accept the invitation and trot along to the “gathering”. I was having anxieties over what to wear, do I go smart, gym, casual, or work attire, on the actual day, I went for the first clean thing to fall out of my wardrobe, not everybody’s cup of tea but hey ho. I get to the venue and I am ushered in my a minion and given a cup of filter coffee and I am told that the croissants are due to arrive any minute from the bakery on the corner, I politely asked if that was morrisons, clearly by the reaction, it wasn’t. I was guided further into the venue and put before the queen superior mother like a lamb to the slaughter. She was in the middle of telling the gathered star struck audience the tale of how her husband negotiated with the builder so that he could have his man cave and she could have her own dressing room all for such a bargain price, the star struck lovelies applauded his feat and made wowing noises, I made a loud slurping noise, cue to pointed stares again. Queen superior mother switched her focus on to me, oh heck, I knew I was in for it now. She waved her hand at me as if to flick some dust away, she indicated that she wanted to know my name, as I was about to answer, a minion stepped forward and gave her a run down of my vital stats, name, job, area I live in, bra and pant size, well it might as well have been. I scored some points in the area I live in box, my area is posh, people have money and connections, me, I don’t have a pot to wee in but I have a mobile connection courtesy of Vodafone, that counts as a connection doesn’t it? The minion also proceeded to give me the tag line of “the one who’s daughter kicked the teacher on her first day” I smile nonchalantly as you can only do in these types of situation. Then the questions begin, does she normally do that? How do you control her? What did the teacher say? What did you buy her to apologise? I felt I handled question time well and was encouraged by the amount of horrified looks there were, this only serves to encourage the lottery of words that fall from my mouth. I’m also informed by one of the mothers that her daughter has spoken endlessly about my daughter’s long hair and how she wants it for herself, I jokingly said that I would ask the teacher to keep the scissors away from her, I thought this was funny and snorted coffee and croissant out from all orifices, she, however, muttered that her child was brought up not dragged up and left me with an icy smile.

Days have passed with no incident, until I get a letter in both book bags asking me to collect junk building material. This you may think is an innocent request, it isn’t, it’s an extension of the lunchbox police, they are no longer content with rifling though the contents of the lunchbox and judging your parenting style, no, they want to see what junk you feed your children when they are not around. My eyes move to the recycling bin and quickly move back. Let’s look at the contents and explore the endless possibilities and judgements. A wine box, stressed mother, low income, hasn’t got a wine cellar, could be turned into a castle, the foil bag, once rinsed, could be an astronaut’s something or other. Maybe leave the wine box, ok I have a cereal box, please be granola please please, nope, honey sugar ball things, again a castle or a wing of the replica house that queen superiors mums child is building to replicate their own house. A cider bottle, no, coffee jar for the “hangover” of the cider and wine, it’s a cheap brand, why couldn’t it have been the brand that costs as much as a tank of fuel. The bin rifling is not going well, there must be something that is worthy of the clientele at the school, and there it is in all it’s glory, a glimmer of hope, an empty box of organic crackers, I have been saved, I’m organic I eat crackers not crisps, I will show those mothers. I proudly trot into the school with my cracker box on display waving at everyone with box in hand pointing out the word organic. I am stopped by the ruler of the playground, she looks at my box and sniggers, the snigger brings about her little gang and they fall into formation around me. She asks me if I eat these a lot, clearly I don’t, I’ve never seen the box, I have no idea how it got into my bin, but she doesn’t need to know this. I nod my head with conviction and inform the group how addicted I am to these and eat these for dinner when I’m on a starvation day, yeah right, the only thing I starve is my soul when I haven’t logged in to Facebook for an hour. Queen mum is looking intrigued and really interested in what I have to say, she asks me if I put any toppings on the crackers, I tell her about the oak smoked Scottish salmon, the finest cream cheese, I get carried away when I mention caviar but she was really interested, I was doing well, she might let me into the gang. The mouth lottery is flowing well until she rudely cuts me off, I stop mid flow, mouth wide open, she asks me what the rabbit eats. I don’t understand, I don’t have a rabbit, what is she talking about. All eyes are on the box, my eyes are now on the box and it all becomes clear. These so called crackers are fancy rabbit treats, I don’t understand, the box is too nice, how did the box end up in my bin, what about my salmon topping, what am I going to do now? I can hear a voice chatting away, I zone back in and I realise it’s me who speaking, what am I saying oh lord! I catch up with myself and realise that I am discussing some so called research that I have read telling me that the rabbit treats are the answer to eternal youth. I haven’t read any research but suddenly everyone is interested in my findings, they begin complimenting me on my youthful skin, I’m asked if I have had any “help” I laughed and couldn’t stop myself, I waved the cracker box my audience gasped, I could almost hear the cash registers pinging away and sales going through the roof, the whole population going mad for the rabbit crackers and me with my little known research being nominated for an award for being good or something, I’ve got into the gang they love me. I must dash any how, I’ve got some rabbit crackers to fancy up for the bring and share.

Much love xx

The run up to christmas

15 Dec

Its that time of year again, it crept up too quickly, I’m sure last week I was filling up the paddling pool in the garden for the wild children.  Every year I vow to be organised, just for once I want to be THAT person that puts the fear of god into people by being the first person to send a Christmas card to them, I have some seriously organised friends, the wonderful ones that send birthday cards on time and Easter ones and moving home ones, I’ve moved house so many times recently I wouldn’t have blamed anyone for photocopying the original moving home card and just doling out a copy each time, times are hard I get that! I realise that I’m not organised in the card sending department, but this year I have checked the final posting day (one better than last year) AND I’ve bought the cards, whether or not anyone will get a card before next Christmas is another thing.  I feel like I’ve totally achieved something when I post it in a letter box, I feel like high fiving myself and doing a glory lap round the post box to victorious music playing and confetti and glitter streaming down from above, wait sorry got carried away, back to the serious business of Christmas.

On the theme of vowing to be more organised, we decided to get the kids presents relatively early.  The danger of this is that they grow bored of the character that you bought every item of- in our case fireman Sam, so over the past few weeks I have cunningly been sky plussing fireman Sam episodes and putting them on at every opportunity, Ryan the naughty 4 year old has worked out how to use the computer and has found a fireman Sam shopping page and every few minutes I hear the familiar ‘can I ‘ave it mummy’ I take a deep breath before I view the latest must have item and say a silent thank you when I see his finger jousting at the screen displaying what is tucked away upstairs.  We did have a small breach of the Christmas present stash, I was alerted to this fact when Ryan appeared beaming from ear to ear,  rather than complimenting Ryan on his lovely smile, my instant thought was one of fear and a questioning as to what deed he had done.  He produces a present, my eyeballs almost fall out of my head and then we embark on a ridiculous tom and Jerry chase around the kitchen and the living room, whilst chasing him I am trying to think of an excuse as to who the present could possibly belong to.  I finally manage to get him and wrestle the present from his clutches, he then asks who the present is for, err right  ‘well Ryan the present is for the poor children’ phew I did well, I’m just removing myself from the tom and jerry catch scene smiling and commending myself on my quick thinking, ‘Mummy, who are the poor children, where do they live, can I see them’ oh gosh, now I’ve opened up the can of worms.  I find myself describing a scene from Annie, where all the beds are lined up and the girls have nothing etc etc. Hoping the curiosity has been satisfied I once again begin my retreat, ‘Mummy, can I speak to the poor children’ ‘No darling they don’t have phones’ ‘Can I go to their houses’ ‘No darling they don’t have their own houses’ it continues on and we go into their clothes and their messy hair and shoes.  I need to stop this conversation before he thinks we live in Dickens times.  The conversation is bought nicely to an end by Ryan’s sister who has kindly undecorated the Christmas tree and is wearing all manner of decorations, cue another tom and jerry scene.

Ryan has recently started school after a long process of appeals and my poor facebook friends being subjected to my constant whingeing about him not having a school place, I bet they all praised the Lord when I announced that finally my foot stomping, screeching and sob storying had gotten him a place.  Bear with me this story does go somewhere.  We go and view the school and its lovely and fine and Ryan is given a start date.  When he arrives for his first day, unfortunately his eczema has flared up rather nastily on his face.  He looks like an abused child and its awful and the more you try to explain to the teacher the more you look guilty.  For the first few days I stand alone in the playground and then a few of the mums begin to saunter over to get the goss, which is fine, I can deal.  One afternoon I am standing in a small group of above said mums and the children begin filing out of the classroom.  Ryan is one of the first out, I’m not sure if this is engineered by the poor exhausted looking teacher who cannot bear to look at him for another second or just his eagerness to look at his beautiful mummy.  I stay and listen to one of the group conversations and have a little laugh to myself, really, if picking the right pair of Uggs is all you have to worry about then I suggest you read a book or something.  Ryan is tugging at my sleeve and really wanting my attention, the conversation stops and I turn my attention to Ryan who points at one of the children in the group and rather loudly says ‘Mummy is that one of the poor children’  my smile freezes on my face I notice the mum put a protective pair of hands on the prospective ‘poor’ child, I stupidly ask Ryan why he asked that, he then points down to the shoes and proceeds to inform me and the group that he must be a poor child because the shoes are ruined and dirty and have holes in them.  Not content with this, he then turns to another poor child and informs me that this child must also be a poor child because he has ‘bad hair like a girl’.  I make my excuses and run dragging my accuser away.  I don’t think he will be getting any party invitations any time soon and I don’t think I will be invited to the cosy ‘mums get together’ which was billed in the email as , ‘ an evening where we can get together, get to know each other,  let our hair down and have adult talk’  I don’t think my sort of adult talk would be acceptable in this group, they didn’t even know what fifty shade of grey was, I hope they don’t ask me to tell them as I haven’t read it.  I must be in the 1% of women that haven’t read it.  I read the first 50 pages and quite frankly got bored, been there got the t-shirt etc, in fact it was the t-shirt I used to….must stop!!

The presents have been bought- not wrapped but bought, the cards are waving at me from the top of my dishwasher, what else have I forgotten?? Oh the actual day with the food and crap that goes with it.  I thought about who to invite, last year we invited some people who would’ve otherwise been alone and some family and it was lovely.  This year these people are no longer lonely as they no have boyfriends/girlfriends which is fab news, this leaves family….the only member of our immediate family on both sides that we are speaking to is my mum and she is on thin ice!! But it’s our first Christmas in our new home and minus a few tragedies and heartaches we aim to have a good time, a personal goal of mine is not to screech at my mother who very kindly informed me today that she would rather have a present than my Christmas dinner!

I wrap (ha ha  did you like that one) this rather not very funny and up to my usual standard blog up by wishing you all a very merry Christmas.  I for one will very much be looking forward to waving this year goodbye- well that’s if we make it to Christmas, we may all be wiped out just before it, what a bloody waste I’ve bought presents and by that point I may have actually sent cards, hang on that’s a perfect excuse for not sending the cards, ‘so sorry I thought we were all going to be mind controlled by the things I’ve seen on Stargate sg1 so I spent my time usefully by watching the episodes so I know what to expect and then maybe I can educate and become a leader of our new population’. I knew I should’ve been made a queen.  Goodbye to a horrid year, for those that know me personally can relate to my eagerness to start afresh and I know that some of my friends will also share the same desire having lost loved ones.

 

Much Love x