Conventional nativity? No, no, no. Did Orson Welles stage Voodoo MacBeth? Yes, he did. So why not shoogle The Bairn in the Barn story up a bit?
If we’re getting ourselves out on a freezy, cold night, dodging frenzied parents and teachers and dashing for the mince pie table before all the scran is gone then outlandish, offbeat entertainment is a complete necessity.
Rowdy’s first year at school…
Rowdy’s second year at school…
The Bobcat’s first year at school…
The Bobcat’s second term…
Me: “So what did you do at Forest School today?”
Fed an imaginary bear some leaves.
Drew a map of the Island of Bears on my belly.
By parental agreement one of us took the day off work today to ease the kids back into their respective childcare/education opportunity emporia.
“Ease”. What a lovely word.
“Ease.” What a lovely…hilarious…word.
The first emotional hurdle was actually seeing Rowdy first thing in the morning as she appeared to have actually turned into a full-grown teacher overnight.
It was only a matter of time. (Her teacher is the same height and looks like her tenth birthday is rapidly approaching so it evens out.)
Speaking of time, we’d lulled ourselves into a cosy, traditionally-misplaced sense of security the night before by getting everything prepared for this morning. Bags packed, lunches made, clothes laid out, pep talks… VG tick. What we hadn’t banked on was outright, witless sabotage.
Is there actually an Olympic event for the under 7s where the 100m equivalent is putting your socks on whilst pretending to be a pygmy sloth? Because our two were going for gold.
Mummy: “What do you want for breakfast?”
Muesli? MUESLI?! Is there any breakfast requiring more time?!! Muesli is not even a human breakfast. It requires eight stomachs to digest muesli including regurgitating to chew. This means that to effectively eat muesli you have to be a 2xcow. And have no pressing engagements. Like SCHOOL.
Mummy: “Put your shoes on please.”
Rowdy: “I can’t find them.”
Mummy: “They’re laid out by the door.”
Rowdy:”Ooooh. I found OTHER shoes.”
Mummy: “NO, not those shoes. They’re for when you’ve gone up a size.” (See? PREPARED.)
Rowdy: “But I like them. They’re pretty.”
Mummy: “How did you even find them? You couldn’t find the ones by the door but you found these on top of a wardrobe? In a box. Under several boxes.”
The issue here is The Concept of Time. Although SHE KNOWS that she can’t wait to see her bestie after summer break, SHE KNOWS she has the excitement of a whole new (child-sized) teacher and SHE KNOWS (based on the contents of her schoolbag at the end of last term) that the school Sparkly Creative Play Treasure Trove (beads/stones/feathers/pens/sensory tent) will be left unguarded once again and prey to her inner kleptomaniac magpie and ALTHOUGH she knows this she and The “Why eat the shreddie in one go when you can dismantle it and ponder upon its fragility and accompanying metaphors” Bobcat have zero…NIL…concept of time.
Not even a concept so far as to relate when Mummy says”Hurry up, we’ll be late” to the act of avoiding at all costs removing each and every jigsaw from the shelf and seeing if you can just make one great, lovely, giant one from all of the pieces.
The irony is that on this day on which there is quite a demand to behave like an adult this is what happens:
Rowdy:”Uhhhh…WHY are you jumping up and down in one place?”
Mummy:”Because swearing burns fewer calories.”
And then we get to school and we drop off Rowdy. In stages. Because despite the brief about being a “big girl” and all the AMAZING things that are waiting for her on her return the LIMPET EFFECT takes place. Predictably. So there is de-suckering, steering in the direction of the peg…the blasted peg has moved…where is the peg? Finding a friend, clamping Rowdy to friend, giving a quick, deft smooch, doing that eye contact thing with the TA which can be loosely interpreted as “My offspring is here, in my general vicinity. I’m scarpering before it kicks off. Have a good one.”
Then it’s Operation Drop-Off Two. For The Bobcat this is more of a dealy-oh because he’s changing his early years site. It’s better in terms of distance because it’s within sight of his sister’s school (which he’s very excited about). So this bit (with a sprint and some enthusiastically projected motivational quotes) should be in the bag, baby. The building, the very door, is within our sights, the clock is ticking, the pittle-pattle-scuff of little tiny feet making their way in…
And then this.
The Bobcat: “Ooooh. A thssslug.”
At this point (after a short parental conniption) lying was resorted to. Of the There-Are-A-Million-Slugs-in-Preschool-and-If-We-Are-Quick-Maybe-We-Can-See-One variety. The outcome, happily, was The Bobcat in preschool with staff very conscious that it was his first day with them and parental advice about lobbing a few dinosaurs in his direction if he started looking wobbly.
And then home. A very empty feeling home. Everything still. No evidence of the former maelstrom. And then memories of them as babies flashing up on my Fb timeline just to rub salt into the wound. I’m such a slug.