Friday, 28 September 2012

Teething Troubles

It's been a few weeks now and the initial thrill (for me) and trepidation (for them) of going back to school has begun to wear off.

That just-a-little-bit-scared only-just 11 year old who set off on her first morning to secondary school in a slightly too large blazer has transmogrified into an adolescent with attitude surprisingly fast. I'm not sure what the first lesson on the first day was but I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it wasn't "How to Stomp Up the Stairs, Slam Doors and Say Fine."

So far she's reached Degree standard *sigh*

The TeenTwins, who spent all summer looking forward to a laid-back two years of Sixth Form study, coffee in the common rule and afternoon shop wanderings have abruptly discovered doing less subjects doesn't necessarily mean less work to do.

For the past three weeks they have done very little but be jaw-droppingly aghast at the amount of stuff they're suddenly expected to do. We've had conversations but most of them have revolved around William Shakespeare. Which is nice. But odd.

The Boy? The Boy shouldn't have had any trouble at all. After all he went back to the same school with the same classmates but there have been what we shall politely call teething troubles.

So far this term The Boy has had a sharpened pencil stabbed into his palm as well as been bitten on the upper arm by one of his classmates, but there have also been various pinches and punches and bruises, scratches, sore bits exchanged all round and fallings out galore throughout the class.

And this week I had one of THOSE phone calls from the class teacher to tell me that The Boy had been fighting in the playground. And not only had he been fighting in the playground but fighting WITH A GIRL. *hangs head.* Though, in mitigation guv'nor, the aforementioned girl had bitten him rather hard in the crook of his elbow before he well, um, whacked her one.

The Boy takes a dental impression

The Boy says that he lost his temper, he says that he's sorry, he knows it's wrong to hit girls and he won't do it again. His father says he should have whacked the classmate who stuck the pencil in his hand as well for good measure. 

I frown at this, because frown I feel I should. Secretly though I want to go and shout loudly, possibly carrying an axe, at the entire class until they all just STOP IT.

But that's all totally normal? Right?

*Counts down to end of term*

Friday, 21 September 2012

Mum Knows Best ...

Mums do know best, just like men never read the instructions and the Post Office queue is always three miles long, it's an unwritten law, part of an old charter or something. It is a fact of life, it is an IS. Mums ALWAYS know best.

And Mum knows best is something my own children, all four of them, believe fervently. But not quite in the way I would like them to.

I WOULD like them to think that I have the wisdom and experience from which they might learn. That, because I have walked the earth for nigh on five decades, I can pass on the things I've learned so they don't  make the same mistakes that I may (or may not) have made. Like an advance party that has drawn fire, I want to return to my troops and brief them on the dangers that lie ahead.

And I don't necessarily mean the 'big stuff,' I'd be quite happy, at this stage, for the TeenTwins to accept that the heavy application of black eyeliner only ends up in making you looking like a panda at tea-time. Or fake tan always looks fake and never like a tan. Or that saying yes when you really mean no is never a good idea. I'd like The Third Girl to just say "Yes Mummy" instead of "Why?" And I'd like The Boy to realise that there is only one person who knows when it's time to go to bed and it's not him.

The end of a long day at school
.But no.

They DO think I know best at some things though. I know best how to wash clothes and fold clothes and put clothes away. Apparently. Putting the loo roll in the loo? I excell at that and it's a tricky job or at least in a family of six there isn't a single other soul who can manage it. Likewise I always know best where the bin is, it must be an elusive little bugger as well because it escapes everyone else. *Rolls eyes*

And there are many, many other things that mummy knows best at but as most of them involve me scrubbing unpleasant things off of other things while nobody takes a blind bit of notice, none of it makes me bask in the warm glow of achievement to be honest.

*Puts on rubber gloves. Again*

Monday, 17 September 2012

To Jessie J, With Love and Exasperation

The Boy is in love. Properly, besottedly in love. He is six-years-old and his ideal woman, the woman he loves above all others, the woman he WANTS TO MARRY is Jessie J.

Jessie J
Jessie J
I don't really have a problem with Jessie J. She seems like a nice girl, has enviable legs and can actually sing a bit which is not always the case with some pop stars. *Gives The Spice Girls a significant look and doesn't mention Cheryl Cole.*

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Gallery ... Beauty

I'm joining in with The Gallery and the theme this week is Beauty ....

The tumbling mass of Pre-Raphaelite curls that is The Third Girl's hair I think is beautiful. It can be troublesome, sometimes tangled and is mostly tousled but she will NEVER have a bad hair day ...

Trouble is beauty is, as they so often say, in the eye of the beholder and The Third Girl CAN'T WAIT to get her hands on a pair of straighteners ...

Please check out everyone else's entries at The Gallery

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Things I Have Learned This Week.... The Going Back To School Edition

Going back to school IS supposed to be educational but probably, for the parent, not entirely in the way it's supposed to be. Here are a few of the things that I'VE learned this week..

1. It doesn't matter how many options meetings, discussions with teachers or forms (lots) that have to be filled in to make A level choices, it's not until the first hour of the first morning of the induction day of Sixth Form that your child discovers they can't do all the options they picked anyway.

2. Although the words: "And this is your Never-To-Be-Used-Unless-In-Case-Of-Emergency money" leave my lips, when they land in the 11 year old's ear they become: "You should spend this money on sweets daily." For the first week I will do this every day until I think: "Hey, hang onnnnnn...."

3. The day I remember to ask the Class Two teacher what day PE is, is the day it has been PE.

4. I can rant and yes, chunter *hangs head in shame* for three hours solid because the 11 year old's first piece of homework from secondary school is to "Write out and Illustrate the Health and Safety Rules." .......*Rolls eyes*

5. When I decided that we really should get the 11 year old a smartphone because she's at big school now and "EVERYONE else already has one MUUUUUM," I was ACTUALLY performing elementary Cyborg surgery.

6. That even though I like to interpret the non-glasses-wearing TeenTwin's desire to wear glasses on her sixth form ID card as a statement about women, intelligence and stereo-typing, I secretly know it's because she's a Hipster. *Sighs*

7. That if you give a child a uniform, they put on an attitude..... *11 year old stomps off and shouts "Fine" for third time this week*

8. That little, niggling worry that the TeenTwins being in Sixth Form means having them hanging around the house all the time is entirely unfounded.... *watches tumbleweed roll silently across TeenTwins bedroom* AND Sixth Form hasn't even properly started yet.

9. The VERY best time for the TeenTwins to say that they require not one, but two copies of Twelfth Night for Monday morning is generally about 8.30 on a Saturday night. *nods wisely*

10. Sports socks are the most elusive member of the Sock world. *Reaches for harpoon*

*hushed whisper in the manner of David Attenborough*
"An elusive, lesser spotted, higher ribbed Sports Sock, the youngest of it's tribe, caught in the act of escape."

What have you learned this week?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Gallery ... Back to School

I'm joining in with The Gallery this week and the theme is Back to School...

I've done lots of Back to Schools, sometimes they're emotional, sometimes they're welcomed and sometimes not. Sometimes, for me at least, that first day back to school is like a gasp of fresh air at the end of the hectic, breathless tumble of summer. Suddenly there is silence and the world is still and you can BREATHE ...... generally the novelty of that wears off about 12.15.

Today's Back to School was ... 

... The TeenTwins starting sixth form. Though that actually translated into two hours at school and five hours round at their mates talking about the two hours at school *rolls eyes* The TeenTwins don't actually start actual lessons until next Monday but today was the Hanging Around A Bit, Signing Up to Some A Levels and Checking Out What Everyone Else Was Wearing day. It appeared to go well*

And the Third Girl started secondary school *gulps a bit* ..... And. Well. It was fine. We got up in time. Which was good. I coaxed her into eating a breakfast she said she didn't want. Which was good. She dressed herself but allowed me to fuss, faff and straighten with only the minimal amount of "Oh Mum." Which was good too.

And she liked it. Enjoyed it. Had fun. Didn't feel phased. She possibly even giggled a bit. She came home in the same clothes she set off in and with a smile on her face, which is ALWAYS good. She was just a little later back home than we expected. There was, it can't be denied, the tiniest, teeniest, merest thought of a panic blooming in the far recesses of my mind.

But I can. after six years of seeing the TeenTwins though the same school, gauge the walking-home-from-school-time to within 30 seconds and, unfortunately perhaps for the Third Girl, can also tell when SOMEONE and their BFF has discovered the newsagent that still sells tuppenny sweets on the way home. *Tuts*

And The Boy moved into Year Two. He had to be dragged out of bed for the first time this summer. He complained about breakfast. He complained about his uniform. He sulked a bit. He kicked things. He stomped a bit but only until he met his best friend on the walk to school.... and then they ran all the way to school, ran around the playground and, when the bell went, The Boy ran into school waving a cheery goodbye.

The Boy that for the last two years I've had to coax into the classroom? Yes, THAT Boy. 

I did not cry.**

 This is my entry for The Gallery

* TeenTwin2 had to change her A level options entirely, but everyone said she looked fabulous so that was alright.
** I did.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Back To School

It's back to school tomorrow and, apart from The Boy who only has to move one classroom along to Yr 2 *yawn* it's new schools and new ways of learning for all of the girls.

The TeenTwins stacked up an admirable array of GCSE results this summer *proud mummy beam* and their back to school is, as they KEEP telling me, back to college really. Secretly, though, I call it the Sixth Form because, well, THAT'S WHAT IT IS. *Tuts*

Sixth Form or College or whatever they choose to call it has different rules to school (*whispers* even though it is the same actual school they were at). You're ALLOWED to wear jewellery and make up, if not absolutely, actively encouraged to do so (this IS according to TeenTwin2). 

And uniform is defined by the words "business wear" which has, at least for the TeenTwins, a very, VERY wide interpretation mostly involving extraordinarily small skirts, tight jackets and, um, fur, sequins, beads and superhero badges ....though not all at the same time or on the same twin. *Rolls eyes*

TeenTwin1 is studying art and psychology, TeenTwin2 drama and textiles and both of them are studying English literature because that IS the law *looks around shiftily while holding entirely fictitious rule book behind back* and I'm annoyingly, embarrassingly, excited for them. I LOVED sixth form, I LOVED the freedom it gave after the constraints of GCSEs though, in my day *cough,* we called them O levels.

*Sighs a bit. Wistfully*

And The Third Girl. My baby girl. The child that only turned 11 less than TWO WEEKS AGO, tomorrow she starts secondary school. The same secondary school the TeenTwins have just broken out of so we have, as a family, been there and, quite comprehensively, done that. Not that it makes it any easier the second time around and, in some ways, it's harder because the first time I sent twins and this time not. Though she is practically welded to her BFFs Forever and well, to be honest, they seem to get on much better with each other than the twins ever did.

She's excited too, beyond excited. Bursting with anticipation. She has *looks at time* JUST settled into bed after springing out of it every three minutes for the past three hours with yet ANOTHER question, hypothesis, query, wibble and worry but she's bouncing, glowing. She CAN NOT wait, but then she never could.

I, on the other hand, know tomorrow morning I will panic about the time. I will worry. I may even shout a bit. I WILL try to make her eat porridge when really she's entirely happy with a bagel and a cup of tea. I will check she has her lunch money about five times, and tuck her shirt in three times and I'll faff with her hair until she goes "Ohhh Mum" and stomps off to sort it out herself. And then, when she leaves the house, I'll have a bit of a cry.

But in a good way.

Child3 + Uniform = Emotional
*Pulls self together*
*Walks The Boy to school* 
*Gives him the biggest kiss EVER*
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