Thursday, 29 March 2012

End of term, end of my tether?

OK here’s my latest bad mother story. Not that it really matters in the slightest, but as we all know, it can sometimes be the little things that knock everything out of kilter, sending one’s tightly scheduled (ha! I wish) day spinning into the mire of chaos.

This morning it was Pink’s assembly. They are 5 & 6 years old, her class, Year 1, and most of them still at the remarkably cute stage. They all had to take in aprons because they were going to be telling us about the recipe for making a GOOD story.
There was great excitement in the Recipe Junkie household because the Husband was able to come along too. (Blue had a bit of a sulk because the Husband always seems to be able to make Pink’s assembly but not Blue’s. Mind you, Allotment Junkie also came along to Pink’s last one and thrilled the crowds with her dinosaur impression. But let’s not revisit that...) Anyway, in all the excitement and drama of making sure Pink had matching socks (same length and pattern – something of a result), and the effort it took to scrape her locks into the desired ponytail, I completely failed to notice that she had toothpaste down her dress and only 2 buttons on her cardi.
The Husband’s attendance meant that we got to DRIVE to school – so that he could head straight off to work afterwards. Normally, rain, snow, shine, we walk. At least once a week, I have to explain yet again why we walk to school. We live less than a mile away. Petrol is expensive and we’re doing our bit for the environment. We have legs. We don’t have a second car. I could go on – and frequently do because in the abstract, the children are proud environmental campaigners, telling me that I should be turning off lights and generally saving the planet, but they don’t seem to be able to see how this might apply to real life. Grrrr.

Blue was torn about the prospect of driving. “I want to be with Daddy, but I want to save the environment too.” I tried to explain that on this occasion, Daddy would be driving anyway, so the planet would be trashed regardless – but in the end the moral high ground won and he walked. Pink was unfeasibly excited (clearly she has no principles) and in the giddy whirl that she became, I didn’t notice the uniform aberrations till we got to school.
I noticed the toothpaste first, and after rubbing at it with a wet finger, decided that it would be fine because she could do her cardi up... which of course she couldn’t (or at least not enough – and in hiding the toothpaste it would then be obvious that she was a girl whose mother DIDN’T CARE ENOUGH, and sent her to school with defective uniform.) as always, Pink had the answer – “But I’ll be wearing my apron” she observed. So she would.

I had some respite, and spent an indulgent 15 minutes or so watching the assembly and thinking how fab they all were, and also being relieved that it was someone else’s daughter who bent over to pick something up and displayed her pants to the whole school for more time than any mother could bear, but then DISASTER. The head stood up and reminded all the children that they should try and look SMART, with their JUMPERS ON for the SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHER...
She doesn't walk me properly. She doesn't.
The loser in all this, of course is the poor dog, who hasn’t had a proper walk (certainly not the hard hour’s pheasant chasing that just about passes for a ‘proper walk’ in his eyes) for 36 hours now. Normally, he comes up to school with us and I then head off over the fields after dropping the kids. This was already not going to happen this morning but I had planned to take him out as soon as I got home, straight into the fields. Instead he had to do the long walk back up to school as I delivered a cardi with 4 buttons on it to save Recipe Junkie’s name.

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