I may have mentioned my youngest son, I like to think of him as the Horror from Outer Space. My mother-in-law describes him as a dear little fellow, but he is the kind of child who is best in small doses. And I’ve just had two months of him. And today he went back to school.
Going back to school raised mixed emotions in him. On the one hand, he adores his school. On the other hand, a whole lot of new stuff. His school is all organised and had an introduction to your class morning last December, so he’s met his teacher and knows who is in his class (she’s new to the school and they seem to have given her all of the problem children). But will she like him? Will she make him sit next to someone he doesn’t like? Will she listen to his strenuous objections if this is the case? What kind of punishment will be handed out for strenuously objecting and will it make strenuously objecting worth it or not? Will these punishments be cumulative or will each objection start from a clean slate?
These concerns cause him to wake up before six which gave him plenty of time to start airing them. I get up early anyway, from natural inclination and also because builders start meandering through the hall a touch before seven and I like to be washed and clad before that happens. I thought a bath might be a soothing way to start the day, but the Horror never has any qualms about following me in there. “I wonder if she’ll start off with a timetable? Mr Pollard didn’t last year, but he did after four or five days because everyone wanted him to.” “I’m sure there’ll be some timetable,” I reassure him. They have language lessons, art lessons, music lessons, sports lessons with other teachers, that’s not going to be spontaneous. “Yes, but is she going to tell us? How far in advance? Will it be on the website or will she write it on the board?” “You know what? You’ll find out soon. Do you think you could go and polish your shoes and leave me in peace to have my bath?”.
Well, that worked for about thirty seconds. “Look, are these polished enough? I think they’re a bit tight. But I don’t mind wearing them for a few more weeks.” I avoid shoe shopping with the Horror, he has some kind of condition that invariably causes him to be thrown out of shoe shops. “Why are you spraying me with water?” I ask in my mildest tone. “Oh, sorry, I’m just making sure my hair looks very neat, I want to make the best impression. I’ve packed my lunch, I’ve got a carrot, an apple and a bread roll. I’ve also got my pencil case and an exercise book and my iPad, I think most people will forget to bring their iPads, but I’ve remembered. Do you think there’s anything else?” “No, that sounds fine,” I say. “Well, I’ve got my lunch, my pencil case and my iPad. I think there should be something else, don’t you think there should be something else?” “How about your sunhat?” “I KNEW IT!!!”. Well, that got rid of him for another thirty seconds. “Hey, do you think we could go to school now? We could wait in the coffee shop for school to open”. The gates weren’t due to open for over an hour and it takes us ten minutes to get there. I remain calm. “Get out,” I say calmly. “Get out now”.
After my bath I put him to work finding the Muffet’s school badges that she removed from her uniform approximately nine weeks ago and hasn’t seen since. I’m not sure how throwing boxes and hitting his sister with an exact replica of Voldemort’s wand was helping, but it kept him out of my hair for a bit (we didn’t find the badges). We did end up leaving early because he actually started ricocheting off the walls. I managed to talk them into a first day of school photo
Note the merry band of builders in the background, warming up for a jolly day of tossing old roof tiles from a great height into their truck. Their accuracy is impressive. If they were any other ethnicity than Aussie they’d be singing some rhythmic tile tossing song, but instead they’re not listening to an easy listening radio station.
Anyway, the car trip consisted of the Horror’s speech getting faster and faster and shriller and shriller, punctuated by his sister throwing drink bottles at him and the Moose trying to stop him from talking by reaching around from behind and pulling his cheeks back towards his ears. It’s a miracle we ever get anywhere alive. I eject him at school in the middle of a high pitched musing on the best spots to sit in the playground and which ones would now be vacated by last year’s departing sixth grade, interspersed with a discourse on whether you could really call an open box a locker if it didn’t even have a door, yet general usage referred to it as such. I could still see his mouth moving as he walked through the gate. I’m completely sure he will be fine and will have an awesome day. I’d better make sure there is substantial afternoon tea.
So after I get rid of the other two I am child free. I also don’t start work for another month and have only a few footling committee bits and pieces that need my attention. What I would normally do now is get a giant takeaway coffee, take it home, then lie on the loungeroom floor for a bit. But this is what my loungeroom floor currently looks like.
Actually quite a bit more like a bomb site than usual. So I treated myself to breakfast at my current favourite local, Single Rosetta.
The butter could have been less stony cold and there could have been more of a sourdough tang in the fruit toast, but I am fussy about my fruit toast. And the coffee was excellent. There was a terribly pretentious magazine for me to read, printed on matte paper with lots of tiny interviews with bands that I’m not sure actually exist, and little musings on how nice it is to have breakfast, and isn’t it rotten when all of your friends want to go to a noisy pub that only serves free range chips and beer made in their sink and you just want to lie on your vintage couch that you found in the Mosman cleanup in your hemp pyjamas and hate watch American Idol. It was very serene.
But now I’m back to reality, and I think my ears have stopped ringing. I shall attend to my housewifely duties, dust the plaster off the kitten and go and choose some bathroom tiles. And then I shall be ready to hear all about the first day of school.