Thursday 12th September
The new school year is well under way and so far, so good, well, with only a couple of hiccups!
The first hiccup was on Youngest Child’s first day at the secondary school. Mother in Law had taken her in the morning by train and dropped her at the gates. Her sister wasn’t starting back until the next day so she was going to have to come home, by train, alone. I wasn’t too worried about it, as she had practised during the summer school and there were other children whom she had met who were also catching the train. However, I received a phone call from her shortly after 3pm, whereupon she cried down the phone saying she was lost. I realised immediately what she had done, upon coming out of school you take a right turn to the station, however, there is another right turn immediately next to the first and, of course, she had taken the wrong right turn. She was soon back on track and managed to catch the train back, where I met her at the station.
The second day she managed to get to the station fine but forgot to cross over the bridge to the opposite platform and got herself on the wrong train, heading towards London Victoria! FFS!
Fortunately, she rang me as soon as she got on the train.
“I’m on the train to Victoria, is that right?”
“Nooooo get off at the very next stop!”
Luckily, she had only gone one stop so it was fairly easy to talk her through getting onto the right platform and onto the correct train.
The rest of the week was fairly uneventful (other than a few tears and tantrums over the homework that she doesn’t understand), until this afternoon, when I received another phone call from her informing me that she had lost her blazer. Even worse than this her zip card (the child equivalent of the London Oyster Card and necessary for travelling on the train and the bus) was in her blazer pocket! FFS!
As I was preparing myself for the drive to the secondary school, which was possibly going to take at least forty-five minutes at this time of day, she passed her phone to Mr H. Now Mr H and I have history. He was Eldest Child’s former French teacher and we had a difference of opinion over the fact that Eldest Child was failing French and was so far behind there was no possible way of him catching up to be able to pass his French GCSE. Therefore, Eldest Child wanted to drop French and I agreed, not that I didn’t think learning a language was important, but because, not only was he going to fail French, but as he was so far behind, he was not able to keep up in lessons and this was affecting his behaviour. I felt it was more beneficial to drop the subject and use the extra time to concentrate on the subjects that he was going to study at A Level. Mr H did not agree and our debates on this matter lasted for nearly a whole school year and consisted mainly of me enquiring, if he wasn’t going to be allowed to drop French, what was Mr H going to do to help him catch up, seeing as he was about two school years behind in his learning at this point, and Mr H basically avoiding answering that question and insisting that studying a language for GCSE was a government stipulation. Mr H’s argument fell a bit flat when Middle Child came to choose her options and the new rules said that they did not have to choose a language and could opt to do enrichment in another subject instead, which of course I pointed out to Mr H. Consequently, Mr H stopped responding to my emails and Eldest Child was able to drop French.
You can imagine my delight, therefore, when I discovered that Mr H was going to be the new head of lower school and, therefore, my point of contact for any issues concerning Youngest Child!
On this occasion Mr H could not have been more helpful. He explained that he was doing his upmost to locate the missing blazer, which included sending his colleague on a search of the school and looking through CCTV to see if anyone had picked it up (I personally thought that was a bit excessive but I didn’t think now was the time to start disagreeing with him again). If the blazer was not found Mr H was going to give Youngest Child cash out of his own pocket and if necessary, walk down to the train station himself to help her buy a ticket.
I really don’t know how she does it but that child seems to get people eating out of her hand and running around for her. I discussed this at length with some of my colleagues. Gorgeous reckoned she had given him her sad puppy look and coupled with the fact that she is the same size as a reception aged child, it makes everyone want to look after her. Miss P and I disagreed! We felt it was more likely she had given him so much grief he would do anything for a bit of peace. Mrs C disagreed with us all and felt it was more likely to do with the fact that he knew I was her mother and he had dealt with me before and wasn’t willing to have me tell him about himself again. Either way shortly after, I received another phone call, informing me that the blazer had been found. It seems someone had just picked it up from her classroom and decided to take it to lost property! FFS!
Friday 13th September
I am not normally superstitious about Friday the 13th as I spent many happy childhood years growing up in a house numbered 13, therefore I have never thought of it as an unlucky number, however was it just coincidence that lightning struck for the second time on this day?
I was just thinking about leaving work when I got a phone call from Youngest Child, who was in floods of tears while apparently standing in her school playground.
“What’s the matter?” I worryingly asked her.
“I’ve lost my blazer again!”
Are you fucking kidding me? (I may have actually said that out loud down the phone).
“Don’t tell me your zip card is in the pocket?”
Of course it was! FFS!
I informed her that she had better go and find Mr H again to which she replied that she couldn’t do that as she had only lost it the day before and it was so embarrassing! I pointed out that she couldn’t very well stand in the playground crying and she had to find someone to help her so that she could get home. She continued to wail! With the utmost patience I managed to calm her down and get her to agree to go back into school to the office and explain her situation. Miss P (who was in the room with me while all this was happening) was very impressed with my restraint and pointed out “that was very calm, for you!”
A little while later she rang back to say the blazer (with zip card) had been found.
This time she went to see Mrs M. Now Mrs M is a deputy head and is the only other teacher at that school that I have had a disagreement with. At the beginning of the last school year Middle Child was standing with a group of friends when Mrs M came over to them and asked their names. She then walked away without telling them why she wanted to know. Middle Child told me all about it the day it happened and, to be fair to Middle Child, she is not the kind of child that would lie or act like she hadn’t done anything wrong if she had, so when she said she had no idea why Mrs M had spoke to them, I believed her. Two weeks later Middle Child came home and said “do you remember that day Mrs M asked us our names? Well she has given us an hour’s detention because our school uniform wasn’t correct!”
I enquired if she had told her what it was about her uniform that wasn’t correct but it seems she hadn’t. I was not very happy! Firstly, how can we correct the uniform if we don’t know what is wrong with it and secondly why didn’t she issue the detention immediately instead of waiting two weeks to do so?
I emailed Mrs M stating my grievances. I then entered into a back and forth email conversation with Mrs M’s assistant (Mrs M never seems to deal with anything herself but gets her assistant to deal with most things) where I made it quite clear that Middle Child was not attending the detention, the reason being, that I was responsible for purchasing her school uniform and if it wasn’t correct (it turned out her skirt wasn’t the required length) she should have contacted me to rectify the situation. I also pointed out that had she informed Middle Child of the issue on the day she took her name it could have been rectified immediately. Needless to say, Middle Child did not need to attend the hour’s detention.
So back to the missing blazer and zip card. It seems when Youngest Child had tearfully appeared at Mrs
M’s office door and explained her situation, Mrs M sent the poor assistant off with Youngest Child to try and locate the blazer. While walking around the school they bumped into Youngest Child’s history teacher who must have enquired what they were doing. When he heard the story, he informed Youngest Child that he had her blazer as, after she had left it on the back of her chair, one of her friends had helpfully handed it over to him.
Tuesday 17th September
Youngest Child, loving the novelty that she has the freedom of travelling home alone coupled with the fact that she has a key to Mother in Law’s house (which is on her way home), has taken to visiting Nanny’s house several times a week. I think this novelty is one that is wearing off very quickly for Nanny, as Nanny is often expected to then drive her home after she gets home from work. Oh, and there was the incident last week when Nanny had to reprimand Youngest Child for picking a hole in Nanny’s leather sofa!
It has been agreed, however, that Youngest Child (and Middle Child if she wants to) will go to the Mother in Law’s every Tuesday, the day that I am at college, and she will make them dinner and bring them home. Youngest Child is always the first to arrive, so she has a little bit of time when she is alone in Mother in Law’s house. This particular Tuesday I got a phone call from Youngest Child (I am now starting to dread her phone calls) to say that she was upstairs in Nanny’s bedroom and she was scared. I enquired what it was she was scared about (thinking it was because she was alone in the house) and she replied that she was scared because she had done something and she was really scared about it! FFS! What has the child done now? It seems she was trying to get her earring in and she was struggling to get it through the hole, so she tried to put it through from the back of her ear. In doing this she had ‘accidentally’ pierced herself a second hole in her ear lobe! Really? I’m not quite sure how accidental it was and was quite sure it had something to do with jealously over her sister. At the weekend we had taken Middle Child to have a helix piercing in the top of her ear, which she paid for herself out of her birthday money, and as she is now fourteen, I thought she was old enough to decide to get this kind of piercing. While we were there Youngest Child reeled off a list of body piercings she was planning to have and enquired as to when she could have her nose pierced (The Husband has told her never while she is living under his roof). The lady who was carrying out the piercing soon got the measure of her and informed her that she had to be eighteen to get any kind of body piercing that was not in the ears. It is for this reason that I wasn’t entirely convinced about the accidental nature of her second ear piercing. I was proved right in my suspicions after she returned home, went up to her room, and emerged some time later with another ‘accidental’ second piercing in the other ear lobe! FML!
Today was also my second week at college, having now begun a Foundation Degree (because clearly I have time on my hands). To say it has been a slow start would be an understatement. Last week we were in college about an hour, during which we were shown the library and given a tour of the coffee shop, canteen and the common room. This week we had to meet at the university (it is a university degree and we are students of that university but we will be based at the local community college, which also has a university department) where we were given a tour of the coffee shop, the canteen, the common room and the library. We also spent an hour being given a demonstration on how to find a book in the library and check it out. Now I am sure this is useful information for some people but at forty-seven years of age I have checked more than a few books out a library. Also, I would have thought that if someone was capable of undertaking a degree, then they would be more than capable of working out how to use a library. We were there for a total of two hours this week.
Sunday 20th September
Youngest Child is going to give me a nervous breakdown before this year is out. She had been playing round at Best Friend from Home’s house when she knocked on the door, with the sole purpose it seems, to argue with me about something that I cannot even remember due to the trauma of what unfolded. I was standing at the open door, she was just inside the door and Best Friend from Home was standing on the doorstep with Best Friend from Home’s friend from school (who after several unapologetic breakages by this friend from school I have told Youngest Child not to bring her to the house anymore). Youngest Child was ranting about whatever it was and I was busy feeling annoyed that Best Friend from Home’s destructive friend was standing at my doorstep and wondering if it would be rude to tell her I didn’t want her in my house anymore, so I wasn’t really paying much attention to what she was actually ranting about. So it was that it was quite a few minutes before I really looked at her and tried to take in what she was shouting at me about. As I looked at her a sense of confusion started to cloud my thoughts before the horror of what I was looking at began to dawn on me. Youngest Child had no eyebrows! I repeat, Youngest Child had no fucking eyebrows!
“What have you done?” I hissed, at which point I could see the realisation at what I meant pass over her face.
“Nothing what do you mean?” she asked, trying to look indignant.
I began to stammer at the two girls on the doorstep before managing to collect myself enough to tell them that Youngest Child was now staying home and closing the door in their faces.
When I say I went mental, I mean I really went mental. What I wasn’t prepared for, however was the explanation she was about to give me as to where her eyebrows had gone. She told me how she had found a cotton pad on her dressing table, which was already wet with something, she didn’t know what it was wet with and when she put it on her eyebrows it burnt them off! Burnt them off??? Are you kidding me?? Is the child really telling me she put an unknown, and clearly acidic, chemical onto her eyes, which then burnt her eyebrows off? Apparently, she thought it was nail varnish remover! Why the fuck would she put nail varnish remover on her eyebrows?
This is an eleven-year-old secondary school child, not a toddler. Why would she do such a stupid thing? I screamed and shouted about how she is lucky she hasn’t gone blind and how astounded I was at her stupidity, and finished by telling her to get out of my sight and go up to her room.
A little while later Middle Child appeared to inform me that she had found out the truth about what had happened to her eyebrows. Thankfully there were no acidic chemicals involved, this had been a story made up to stop her getting into trouble!!! (The mind truly boggles). What had actually happened is that she had suddenly remembered that someone at primary school had commented that her eyebrows were bushy, so she had decided to shave them off! FFS! It is no wonder I now have a glass of wine most nights!