School Daze

My youngest has now completed her first three weeks of secondary school. She has found her way around the maze of corridors, and is getting to know people. She is even confident enough to leave far too late every day, purely so that she doesn’t have to walk to school with her sister and ‘risk people thinking we’re related’ 

Sadly for her, the teachers are all far more interested in the concept of siblings than any of the children are. They have all asked who has older siblings, and when my daughter has grudgingly admitted to having a sister, replies have ranged from the rather worrying ‘Oh my God!’ to ‘Of course! You look just like her!’ to one of the teachers actually stopping my older daughter in the middle of the corridor just so he could excitedly inform her there was a smaller version of herself wandering around the school somewhere, as if this were the first she was hearing of it.

They don’t mind it really though, and they both seem to be settling into their new school years quite well. Not that we haven’t had setbacks.

There was the time my 14-year-old casually asked me one Monday morning, whether she had any homework due in that day. I was forced to (less casually and considerably more loudly) point out that it wasn’t my job to check for her homework, and did she really think Monday morning was the optimum time to do this?

She discovered she did in fact have a piece of homework due in that day, but don’t worry it was fine, she would do it between lessons and before her teacher arrived in the classroom. She then very wisely left the house immediately, leaving me to wonder how on earth she could have turned out so like me at her age? Especially when I’d done absolutely everything in my power to lie through my teeth and pretend to be organised? I guess nature won over nurture with this one.

Other setbacks have included illness. They have both come down with The Worst Cold In The World thanks to so many months of isolation and nothing to test their immune systems. I’ve been testing them what feels like every five minutes, but luckily they have escaped Covid so far. They have also been informed that there are only two reasons for being off school: 

  1. Having Covid 
  2. Being Dead 

Knowing this, my youngest did try to pretend to be dead one morning during the second week, but Bungle (our Labrador) gave her away by jumping up on her bed, therefore forcing her to admit that not many dead people shout out ‘eww Bungle, your willy is on my duvet’. At least, none I’m aware of anyway. 

If and when they finally make it into school, the children can earn both good and bad behaviour points, and are rewarded or punished accordingly depending on the number of points earned.  Thankfully it’s all been good so far, although I think there is room for interpretation with some of the comments. For instance we’ve had: 

Drama – very good at directing (bossy as hell) 

Food Tech – wonderful enthusiasm for the subject (ate all the sample cakes) 

Science – good understanding of safety procedures (able to put out the fire she started) 

Modern Languages – great knowledge of why languages are important (hopes to one day chat up Giovanni or Aljaz from Strictly with relative ease) 

Nothing for history yet, but given that she recently asked me whether make up had been invented when I was a girl, this comes as no surprise. When I pointed out that the ancient Egyptians used it, she asked if that was why I only had black eyeliner. It’s no good arguing. Whatever I say, she remains utterly convinced that my existence began several thousand years BC, and that I have spent these last few millennia carefully honing my nagging skills. 

My older daughter agrees. Apparently it’s unreasonable of me to expect my child NOT to stand on a stool, put a selection of half-eaten food at the back of the highest shelf of her wardrobe and then leave it there for 11 months until we finally locate the source of the heinous stench.

It’s also a massive overreaction to insist that she take down the bed she has made for the cat under her desk (using every single towel in the airing cupboard, lovingly wrapped in her school blazer and several pairs of tights). It’s futile anyway and she knows it, because there is only one place the cat will ever sleep. Which is on her pillow, lying across the top of her head, occasionally getting irritated and smacking her in the face if she dares to fall asleep and stop stroking him.

I told her she hasn’t known sleep deprivation until she’s slept with a man who snores louder than a wild pig with a heavy cold, holding a megaphone. And that I’m not above employing the same methods as the cat, to get him to stop. So with that in mind,  

Bring on Bedtime!

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