The calm before the Storm
So you've braved the battle zone of Clarke's and dented your credit card for a spanking new uniform (what do you mean polo shirt collars aren't meant to curl up like stale dirt sandwiches?).
You rugby tackled a granny to bag that last Moshi Monsters lunchbox and labelled everything in sight with permanent marker, including your husband's suits.
The alarm's set for stupid o clock and the kids' bedtime has moved forward from the end of Love your Garden (if only it would love me back, the heartless cad) to the start of Corrie.
This can mean only thing. Welcome to the start of term, kids!
|Our first day in Reception|
The school year starts positively, with the fresh promise of making friends, learning new skills and being part of a friendly community.
Everything's shiny and new, like the overpriced school shoes, and the sun's come out just after the summer holidays. It's just one big love fest. BFF.
By the end of the year you're hiding from the playground Mafia, avoiding the PTA and, like the tape holding together the kids' scuffed shoes, you're clinging on for dear life.
The Moshi lunchbox stinks of curdled Frubes. Even the monsoon that's arrived just in time for your Cornish holiday is preferable to another school run. It's just one big stress. BFFF (Best Friends for a Fortnight).
Duck and Roll
Here's a week by week guide to that first term.
Week 1: Shiny, Happy People
Pristine uniform; early starts; conversations; Dallas style family breakfasts (Jugs of freshly squeezed OJ, Triangular toast in a chrome rack, boiled eggs with Horse Guard cosies. Granola.
Ok, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. Duh! Everybody knows rectangular toast is better.
Plenty of time to relax, enjoy the journey and arrive at the school gates. Polite chat.
You make a concerted effort to befriend the quiet lady with perspiration issues and teenage Chav Mom, as she talks you through her Asbo.
Strolling home; a game of tig, savouring the 'Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness'. Uniform hung up immediately and into PJs. Early bedtimes. "Goodnight, John Boy."
|The boys' first day of Year 1|
Week 2: Organised (no) Chaos (yet)
The new routine is working well. Loveliness transcends across the house. Ironing done, creases pressed in trousers.
Lunch boxes lovingly prepared with fresh and healthy snacks that tick all food groups.
A new friend is invited over for tea and a weekend visit to a stately home to help with the class project on the Edwardians.
Their paintings are pinned up with pride and we listen furtively to talk of teachers and times tables.
|A visit to a National Trust property|
Week 3: Half full
The mid-term point. No time to feel bored. Ha! it's flying by. Fleeting thoughts of half term and Halloween.
The calendar is filling. Gentle requests from school for tins of corned beef for the Harvest Festival; donations for the Bring and Buy; invitations to that first party and the PTA's AGM.
You circle the date. This year will be the one you give something back.
You're mid smear test when the call comes. You gotta take it because it's school. Little Timmy has been bitten by the class thug, Damian, who was replicating the Philippine Cobra from Deadly 60.
You rush to pick him up. He's sporting the dreaded 'Oops I bumped my head' sticker. It's not a good day for Little Timmy.
Meanwhile, your other child comes home with his PE kit for washing. Trouble is, it contains a pair of Hello Kitty knickers and a bright pink vest. Plus he's wearing different sized shoes....
Week 4: Contagion
Along with week 5, this is the hardest. Sent to test every core of your fibre. Have you got true grit? No, but I've got something that rhymes with it....
The teachers are frantically wet wiping vomit off the Church pews. Clearly the Norro outbreak does not hold the Harvest Festival sacred. "We plough the fields and splatter...."
Old Mrs Brady is just praying that her allocated tin of corned beef has been spared. She doesn't realise the key is missing because the kids wanted to replicate 'Biff and Kipper Unlock Dad's Shed'.
A head lice infestation and the Pox linger around Nursery and Reception. It's a plague out there, as kids wearing balaclavas and character masks (have they Even heard of Ronald Regan?) loiter outside as their parents collect siblings. A big X on the gate should do it.
Meanwhile, you're doing the one child well, one child poorly dance before the sickness and diarrhoea spreads to another family member. You. But you gotta make that school run (or should I say school runs?) leakage or no leakage. Thank God for Tena Lady.
Week 5: Endurance
It's midnight and you suddenly remember you need a costume for tomorrow. But where are you going to get a maroon medieval butler's outfit with pink piping at such short notice?
By now your calendar has moved from a few casual appointments with question marks to a regimented schedule of events, in bold and underlined.
Red letter days from school as book bags burst open with final demands for lunchtime clubs, party RSVPs, the sponsored arithmetic-on in aid of new whiteboards, plants, saving the clock tower (sorry, getting mixed up with Back to the Future).
The days are dragging. Everybody moves in slow motion.....Except for you, running around like a blue arsed fly.
Silences and yawns replace conversation as your children nod off into their bowl of Choc Slops.
Cobbling together a packed lunch. You manage to find a Banana Yazoo (fruit and dairy, double check) Beef Monster Munch (protein and veg, double check) and a Dairylea Dunker (fat, cereal and dairy, triple check).
Too bad you accidentally packed a Peanut Butter wrap, which results in a mass evacuation of the dining hall, and a sandwich quarantine, while an allergy risk assessment is carried out.
The school run is timed to perfection as the bell rings, thus avoiding having to make eye contact with anybody.
When your little angels recount their day, your default reply is: "Really?" as you contemplate dinner.
The artwork is growing daily and creations go straight into the recycling. More on this in my previous blog: http://thenews-on.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/slam-dunk-da-junk.html
To top it all, you've sent a child in as Carson the Butler on the wrong day.
Oh well it's one day less uniform to sort out.
Week 6: The End is Nigh
The home stretch. Ticking off the days. Bring it on. I can take what you've got.
New age Mom, come and talk to me about your mental health issues.
A magenta unitard and lumberjack outfit for World Profession Day? No sweat.
One hundred cup cakes each depicting a year from the 1800s? Easy!
Of course I can recreate Sydney Opera House using tubes from Thirsty Pockets and old Cheerigo boxes.
You cannot break me.
Rummaging around in the laundry basket for a pair of matching socks and picking the crusts off sweatshirts to wear again (reduce, reuse, recycle).
Dragging the kids out of bed and munching a Pop Tart in the car.
A detour to school to avoid your overly tactile stalker with the eight Midwich Cuckoos children http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Midwich_Cuckoos who insists on telling you her life story. Embellished a little each time.
The Finish Line
Saved by the bell. You've made it. Half term has arrived. Lie-ins and snuggles. Family day trips to museums and galleries. Or back to back Power Rangers and Mario Party 1000. "Can you move out the way, Mommy?"
A chance to prepare for the next term and all it may bring.
With its cheeky flu bugs, dark mornings, icy pavements ( = broken limbs), getting stranded in the snow, scraping windscreens and dressing for a fortnight in St. Moritz.
Plus, there's the added threat of having to portray an elf for the Christmas fair. Because you volunteered to give something back (and we're not talking about Hamlet, the class hamster, RIP).
|Baby, it's cold outside|
Only another 29 terms until senior school.