Tuesday, 7 February 2012

chugging on school premises

so what is the deal can someone please tell me with this constant request for money? His royal highness 1 (HRH1) started reception in september and i was caught off guard. in nursery i sort of just ignored/ forgot/ eventually got round to donating as the whole school thing was a bit of a shock to the system. but now he is a fully fledged member with uniform and book bag it's almost impossible to continue my dreamy, i'll have it tomorrow i promise approach.

life is complicated enough. switching off from work and getting back into mummy mode twice a week, keeping parents happy as they do the school runs, being cleaner, cook, diy-er, bank manager you know the score and then trying to look sultry and seductive at night for baddaddy when really all i see when i look in the mirror is a terrifying mess. the last thing on my mind as i run out the door to work or attempt to be just in time for school is a flipping pound. but i will try if only for the sake of HRH1 who the last time i forgot promptly told me off and looked at me as though i had been very very naughty.

if only they chugged once at the beginning of term and asked for a tenner up front. i could deal with that. but no. someone told me the point was to encourage charity donating from a young age. so making yourself feel good about 'helping' without really doing much is dressed up as philanthropy. great.

and now you think i am tight and stingy eh? well no on the contrary, i think people should do more to help others and i have seen my parents do so my whole life. they sent money abroad and have helped many many people. but they and others like them in the diaspora supporting and enriching lives back home aren't really recognised or valued in the media. instead we kid ourselves that giving one pound will make a difference and that getting really stuck in isn't necessary. we don't look at the poverty on our doorstep or the fundamental causes of poverty worldwide.

ah so what do you do i hear you ask while calling me a miserable so and so. well nothing really, just a bit of volunteering each week. but i teach inner city kids which i sort of think is doing my bit especially when they're not listening and i want to give each one of them a slap. is that enough to justify what looks like selfishness? perhaps not... i guess i'd better start remembering to send the kid in with that pound then eh, even if it does mean i raid his money box, take out a 100p loan and attempt to pay him back later.

Friday, 3 February 2012

the guru

i have this friend. she is the guru. she gives me the no nonsense approach to being a mum.  she tells me to stop being stupid when i am being stupid. she tells me what do when i am in a panic.  she gives considered calm rational advice. she has been there.  we are out of child sync but her words of wisdom are not preemptive.  she lets me figure it out but is there when good honest sense is necessary. if you don't just happen to have a friend like this, you should get one. gurus are great. and if you are super duper lucky you may find multiple gurus. in addition to guru numero uno i have a couple at work. i have one who i met through a friend. i have mumsy who provides medical guru advice. and i have baddaddy who though not strictly speaking a guru, does add a surreal silly sense of humour to childrearing which is always a good thing.

the drop-off and pick-up routine (part 1)

my mother usually took me to school. my mother usually picked me up. she usually took the car and did not leave the driver's seat. i now know why. she wanted to avoid the school gate congregational meeting.

but i am not as anti-social as my dear mumsy. in september i was keen. i was ready. i left my sarcastic sour self at home. i wanted to meet other parents really i did. but what did i find? a reinactment of the bad old school days.  there were cliques - the polish, the hijab wearers, the chinese crew, the mockney cockneys, the i've got a kid in this school and have friends already thanks crew, the our kids are bestest mates you can't join in crew and the i can't see you and i am going to walk and talk as if you are not standing right in front of me bitch crew.

so recently i have adopted a tactic of being just in time. and it works, usually. my child is usually not the last to be collected and neither is he the only one rushing to get in line or squeeze through the door in the morning. so just in time works pretty well. because let's face it, what's the alternative? beg friend? i point blank refuse. i have decided to be selective and talk and smile only to those who return the gesture. i am only going to make an effort with people who are nice you know just nice. no hidden agenda good vibe nice. the one love approach did not work and it was stupid anyway to think that popping out a kid makes a person warm and friendly because let's face it there are some horrible cunts out there reproducing aren't there?

Tuesday, 31 January 2012


never ever take a nap during school hours. no matter how in tune you think your internal alarm clock is with the school bell, it will fail and there will be no snooze button to save you.  if you are lucky you will get a polite call from the school asking who is picking up your child and as you swear like fury in your head another part of your brain will kick in and tell a smooth small teeny tiny lie so the authorities won't get involved and your card at the school isn't permanently marked.

never ever take a nap during school hours as the guilt will force you to make a proper cooked dinner when all you were planning to do was whip out a couple of fish fingers from the freezer and fling them into the oven with some frozen chips. instead you may end up doing an emergency defrost in the microwave.  you might have to start chopping and frying and stirring instead of sniffing to make sure nothing is burning under the grill.

we had spaghetti bolognese for dinner today. it tasted lovely. every cloud has a ... you know the rest.

Friday, 27 January 2012

the playdate

no one told me about the 'playdate'. when i was growing up mum and dad never mentioned the 'playdate' or any other such variation of the name.  i played with (or tried to injure) my brothers and when my sister came along ten years after me  (annoyingly young but nevertheless a bonus) i played with her.

i could hardly call my siblings friends could i so what was there other than these familial relationships?  answer: one girl who was my age and whom i adored but she lived in battersea (gasp), a distant drive away. there were a few teenagers who, to their credit, blessed me with their company but  clearly didn't want to play with someone so short. anyway both were the children of my parents' friends. and so when it came to my social hierarchy pyramid of friendship, to me they did not actually count.

when i was old enough to leave the home on my own and create my own version of the modern playdate, the routine largely consisted of knocking on doors to see who could come out to play.  ok so i grew up on an estate in east london and i would not necessarily advocate three year olds going out to hunt for other children (mainly because they wouldn't be able to reach the bell and i don't think spyholes allow you to look that far down) but it was fun and my parents never knew what we got up to.

ok so for the first seven or eight years of my life my parents regulated and limited my play to blood and near enough blood companionship but i survived and more to the point so did they which is more than i can say for my own experience of managing the social lives of my two boys. how did we get to 'playdate'?  what happened to that simple life? how could it be replaced with a word that fills me with such dread and sweaty anticipation?