Wednesday, 2 October 2013

School daze...

So, our precious firstborn son has started school.

Apparently, this should have involved me weeping copiously at the school gates, while my beloved offspring clung to my leg wailing "nooooooo mummmeeeeeeee!"

What actually happened was that aforementioned beloved offspring wormed his way through the crowd at the entrance to his classroom and proceeded to make himself thoroughly at home.  When I eventually reached the door, he was installed at a table, doing something unidentifiable, with a definite air of "oh for goodness sake, mother, don't you dare embarrass me by coming in here and flapping around me." 

I therefore found myself backing out of the classroom muttering "er, bye, then.  Thomas, bye.  I'm going.  Er..."  I was eventually granted a vague waft of a hand over a shoulder and a "yeah bye."

I decided, on balance, that a bout of copious weeping might be superfluous to requirements, and slunk away.

The thing is, I don't think Thomas had remotely appreciated how much bloody effort went into getting him to his first day of school.  There was the wailing and gnashing of teeth over school places, and then there was the unutterable joy of uniform shopping - I eventually staggered into M&S during a sale, located a chirpy sales assistant with an ipad and croaked "just give me some uniform - any uniform."

Then, of course, the trousers were too big, and had to be returned.  Which involved trips to multiple floors and lengthy discussions about a receipt.  Which I had, of course, lost.

And once the correct uniform had finally been sourced, there was the extra-special fun-time which was the Sewing On Of The Labels, about which we Shall Not Speak.  What I will say is that there is no way on this earth that any of those little woven buggers are coming off. 

There was much stitching. 

There was even the embroidering of initials.

At around 11pm, I thought I was done.  And then I discovered the instructions for sewing a gym bag.  Which had to be done to a particular pattern.  With the child's name appliqued on the front.

I may have whimpered a bit at that point.

But the bag was duly produced.  I can only assume that this is some secret testing process, to establish which parents to focus on when it comes to making costumes for the nativity play.  Hopefully the wonky, post-midnight applique-ing will sort that one out....

Then there was the paperwork.  I had some difficulty in establishing when he was actually due to be in school.  The phased start involved an incomprehensible combination of mornings and afternoons and lunches and part-mornings, leading to extensive negotiations with the after-school club:

No, sorry, I meant mornings.
No, forget that, he's going to his gran's that day.
Actually, you know when I said he was going to his gran's?  Yes, I actually meant he's not.
No, this is definitely right, I promise.
No, it's not right.

I strongly suspect that the after-school club staff sent someone over every day, just to see if Thomas had been left on the doorstep, clutching his book-bag and wondering if there was any chance of anyone collecting him, or whether he'd be better off bedding down in the playhouse for the night.

There was stuff I had to sign, and fill in, and read, and read and sign, and fill in and sign, and I have absolutely no faith that any of it was signed and filled in and read correctly.

And things are not improving.

Because Thomas, ever the possessor of an over-active imagination, has decided to take things to a whole new level, lately.  He has identified the exact spot on our morning school-run where I am just fractionally too far away to turn back, and then he casually drops a bombshell.

Thomas: Mummy.  Can I tell you something?  I've forgotten [insert vital item]
Me: Aaaaaaaaaaargh!
Me:  Thomas?
Thomas:  Yes, mummy?
Me:  That's not actually true, is it?
Thomas: No

Thomas:  Do you know, mummy, there are no school dinners today.  Everyone is supposed to have  a packed lunch.
Thomas:  No, no school dinners.  I need a packed lunch.
Me: [hyperventilates]
Pause [suspicion dawning]
Me:  Thomas?
Thomas:  Yes, mummy?
Me:  That's not actually true, is it?
Thomas:  No.  No, it's not.

His timing is impeccable.  Halfway up the hill, in the really narrow bit, where there is no way of turning round.  And even if you did, you'd be fighting against the steady tide of commuters coming down the single-track lanes.

So I'm not exactly the epitome of calm at the moment.

I therefore decided on a displacement activity.  When stressed about one thing, find something else to stress about.  Since Thomas is now, courtesy of school, just about able to sit still for five minutes and do drawing or letters,  I decided to make a craft table.

She's making stuff again.  This should be good for a laugh...
As usual, with my projects, this did not go as smoothly as predicted.  But I got there in the end.  So, in case anyone else is feeling like they could do with a bit more stress in their life, here are the instructions.  It is broadly based on this table that I found on a blog, but obviously I couldn't just change things.
leave well alone and follow the instructions - that would be too straightforward.  No, I had to


Ikea Lack coffee table x 2
Plastic tubing
2 x Curtain pole brackets
2 x Ikea rails and accessories from the kitchen department
Packet of metal screw-in hooks
Piece of elastic

An attempt to photograph the back without
moving it away from the wall
I assembled the table with a surprising lack (Geddit? Lack?  Geddit..oh never mind) of difficulty.  I'm not very good at flatpack furniture, but there's very little that can go wrong when all you have to do is screw four legs to a table-top.

I then screwed the shelf that came with the table, upright to the back edge of the table, using three screws.  I then sat the second tabletop upright on top of the table, and attached it to the shelf/support using six screws.

*NB  At this point, make sure you are on a flat surface.  I didn't.  This is why, having completed all the following steps, I had to undo them all and re-position the shelf.  There was swearing.

The two brackets went onto the side. 

* Another NB.  Put the plastic tubing, with the roll of paper on, in place BEFORE, screwing the second bracket into place.  This will avoid further swearing.  There is probably a clever way of not
having to remove a bracket to change the paper roll, but I couldn't think of one, so screwdriver it is.

On the other end, I put in two screws and fastened a piece of elastic tight between them, to keep the paper flat.

Finally I added the rails and hooks in convenient places, and hung the baskets and tubs.

And then I sat back, feeling pleased with myself for all of five minutes, before discovering that Ben likes to eat crayons and would much prefer to use felt-tip pens on his brother, his clothes and
his own face, than on the paper.

Oh well, you win some...actually you don't.  You never win any, where small children are concerned.

1 comment:

  1. You are a hoot!

    Whereas I blubbered like a baby and had to make excuses as I ran away... (thank God I saw a friend and got a much needed hug). Saying this, I was on my third and final child... I didn't cry with the others! HA