Posts Tagged ‘It’s All Good’

At a recent assembly at Mr Justice’s school, I devised a new drinking game in my mind. Every time someone is given an award for achieving their “Personal Best”, you have to take a nip from your hip flask. And don’t tell me you don’t carry a hip flask to school functions because, honestly, if you don’t, you really really should. But before you go labeling me an Irresponsible Parent, let me just say – for the record – that I didn’t say anything about alcohol being in the flask. No, not me. That was your assumption. The contents of my hip flask is strictly between me, my flask and my legal team, thank you very much.  

ANYWAY, according to the rules of the game I dreamt up for my not-necessarily-alcohol drinking game, Mr Justice’s award for “doing his personal best in all activities” would surely give me license to down the whole flask. Surely. 

So yes, this was the second assembly I’d ever attended and, since it had my “An Assembly to Remember” experience as its one and only precedent, it was never going to quite live up to expectations. There were a few small highlights (or lowlights – depending on your inclinations):

  • The Pixie sat and drew pictures in my notebook, but every time the principal stopped talking, all that could be heard throughout the hall was her usual singsong chatter, which goes a little like this: “Shibby-shibby-shibby. Shibby-shibby-shibby.“.
  • Mr McGee seemed perpetually on the verge of spraying his drink bottle champagne-style all over the sixth graders sitting at our feet. And by the looks of how much Product they had in their hair, that was going to cause a Situation.
  • I horrified everyone (including myself) when I actually sang full-voice during the National Anthem – obviously that’s considered to be an Assembly No-No and positively Un-Australian from the number of people who turned to look my way. Next time I’ll just mumble it unenthusiastically with the rest of them. 

Still, despite these minor incidents, it was all a bit dull and not really that blog-worthy. Although one could argue that, since it was the first assembly I’d ever sat through where someone didn’t take their shirt off, it was a Personal Best in terms of my ability to endure such events. And the fact that we got out of there and made my doctor’s appointment on time would also mean another Personal Best, this time in the area of Punctuality and Back-to-Back Scheduling.

And then, during my doctor’s appointment, I managed to successfully avert another Situation by distracting a small person who was twitching the curtain and wanting to see what Mummy was doing behind it – and, if you really need to know, Mummy was having a pap smear. So yes, another Personal Best – in the area of Not Scarring Your Child For Life. 

And I even managed to negotiate my way out of the McDonalds Proximity Clause (according to my children, if you are parked less than 50m from a McDonalds, you have to buy something there – it’s “The Law”) and drove home junk-food free but with yet one more Personal Best under my belt. 

And we made it all the way to 11:34am without turning on the television. Another Personal Best – this time for a Monday morning where I’d had to sit through Assembly without the assistance of alcohol, have an invasive screening procedure conducted on me with small children in the room and side-step contractual obligations to fill my children’s stomaches with pig fat. 

I do believe I’m getting the hang of this Personal Best thing. It doesn’t matter what I do, what gross act I commit, what stunning example of mediocrity I give, I can “spin” it so that it’s a Personal Best! Which surely must make “Personal Best” the “It’s All Good” of the world of achievement. 

And, as we all should know by now, it’s not ALL good. Not Ever.


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The whole “Pupil of the Week” thing at primary schools is a little bit contentious: while some teachers award them only when they feel it has truly been earned, others dole them out every single week to a rotating roster of students for things like “For doing your personal best”, “For being next in line to receive Pupil of the Week” and probably even “Because it’s all good” (Is it? Is it??). 

However, I’m extremely proud to announce that Mr Justice’s recent award was for his “extreme enthusiasm and creativity when story-writing”. I got a big kick out of the word “extreme” because I imagined his teacher and fellow students all cowering in the corner, a bit fearful that Mr Justice’s creative enthusiasm might blow any minute, much like his mother’s cold sore. Or even, as one of my readers (and facebook friends) Nellie remarked, he might have been “writing stories while balancing a chain saw on his nose while walking on a wire.” A remark I chose not to share with Mr Justice just in case he got himself any wild ideas.

Anyway, Mr Justice’s award meant I had to go to assembly for the first time this year. Since The Pixie’s one and only kindergarten session is on the same morning, that time slot represents the only two and a half hours in a week where I regularly just have one child at home with me. Those mornings, it feels like I’ve died and gone to heaven, except that I’m A) still in dire need of a apronectomy and B) still in charge of one child. But what the hey, at least it’s not three (and I still have somewhere nifty to balance my champagne glass when watching TV). So, call me selfish, but I’m not going to blow even ten minutes of that precious precious time hanging out at the school, much like a dog returning to its own vomit, unless I absolutely have to. So because Mr Justice was getting his award, I duly lugged Tiddles to the school gymnasium with the intention of hotfooting it to the cafe for some urgent recaffeination at the earliest opportunity – my own little reward for enduring Mr J’s award. 

And so my heart sank just a little when the first thing the Principal told us was that this was to be a very special assembly. It turns out some of the senior school boys had been taking part in an African drumming workshop and were going to put on a “special show” for us. And by “special”, I immediately assumed that he just meant “long”. It was like someone had been dangling a latte on a string in front of me and then suddenly yoiked it away – I think I might have even teared up a little. 

However, the first bit of drumming was great and I soon perked up. The teacher – a handsome man from the Horn of Africa whom I shall call S – had obviously worked long and hard with these boys, who were drumming with great (extreme?) enthusiasm. Then everyone on the stage swapped instruments and they appeared to do the same song again. And then they swapped instruments a third time and I felt one of my caffeine-withdrawal headaches coming on until suddenly… S got up to dance. It was like some of Mr Justice’s finest and most manic moves all rolled into one routine – including a cheeky waggle of his bottom at the crowd. S was working that crowd like it was Live 8: he grabbed hold of the microphone, he got the kids, parents and teachers all up on their feet to dance and – just when we thought it couldn’t get any more exciting – he took off his shirt. 

Oh yes. Shirt. Off.  

The kids went wild but their enthusiasm came nowhere near that of the (predominantly female) staff and the mothers in the room, whose suddenly beaming faces betrayed them all, every single one. Later on, after school, Mr Justice said he really liked it when S took his shirt off because he thought he was going to take his undies off too. “It wasn’t that kind of ‘special show’,” I replied, with just a hint of regret in my voice. 

After the drumming spectacular finished, the principal thanked S and the boys and went back to reading out notices, stopping from time to time to say what a memorable assembly it had been. I looked around the room and by the flushed looks on the faces of the women in the room, I doubted they could even remember their own names at that moment, let alone register that their own child’s name had just been called to take their Pupil of the Week Award. But hell, if every assembly is like that, here’s hoping Mr Justice’s next Student of the Week Award ain’t too far away, rewarding of mediocrity and all that.

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The other day, I was waiting at the supermarket check-out and felt this little frisson when I looked in my shopping basket. I had realised that its contents  – with 1 litre of no-fat milk, a block of chocolate, cat food and an impulse copy of “NW” magazine – represented a “Single Girl Shop”. I felt all footloose and fancy-free as I walked out to the carpark – there was almost a little skip in my step – but by the time I had climbed up into my 1986 Tarago, noticed the snot streaks on my black tracksuit pants and then the strains of Angela Lansbury singing “Beauty and The Beast” on the car-stereo, the spell was broken and I drove back home with a heavy heart.

It took me back to about a year ago, when my friend JS (she who star-jumped off the wagon with such glee – see “Kicking the Habit“) persuaded me to come into the CBD to meet her and a few girlfriends for a drink or two. It started off badly: I caught the bus in, I couldn’t find the bar because it was too cool to be clearly signposted, and the bouncer looked young enough to be a child of my loins. And then, when I finally located JS and her friends, I saw that they were all fabulously frocked up and drinking exotic cocktails, while little old me (old being the operative word) stood awkwardly with my glass of cheap fizz, in three-quarter length trousers and a large floral hand-bag over one shoulder like some kind of poster girl for Miller’s Fashion Club. As I caught the bus home (which, upon reflection, was even more tragic than catching the bus there), I concluded that I probably would have felt more comfortable wearing a garbage bag held together with gaffer tape and was grateful that nobody had had me escorted from the premises for looking like Somebody’s Aunt.

In my own habitat, I still feel just a little bit cool. I wear vintage cardigans! I’ve never owned a pair of white trainers! I wear “New Media” glasses! My hair is interesting and well-cut by a funky lady! (No-one needs to know that she comes to my house to do it). I had the first pair of Crocs out of everyone I knew and even before Meg Mathews (ex-wife of rumoured ex-member of ex-It band “Oasis”, Noel Gallagher) was featured wearing them in UK “Heat” magazine!! (Okay, so strike that last one). Listen, goddammit: I’m a cool mum!!

I guess the telling sign in that proclamation is that I can’t honestly just say “I’m cool” – I have to put the word “Mum” in there, which is a little like saying you’re an “uproarious funeral director” – both words kind of cancel each other out. Some people like to use the term “Yummy Mummy” but that just rubs me the wrong way whenever I hear it applied to anyone who’s not all laid out on Hannibal Lecter’s dining table. I don’t know why it drives me so crazy – but it does. It’s almost as bad as people saying “It’s All Good” when, clearly, it isn’t *all* good, nothing ever is, and to pretend that it is “All Good” is to be walking around in a state of perpetual delusion.

But anyway, I digress. Last night, when I was still musing on this post and my own state of “Mumsiness”, I found myself walking into the local supermarket with my bicycle helmet still on, a stained t-shirt which kept riding up and an old pair of pregnancy trousers that kept falling down. To protect the public from the Horror That Is My Midriff, I promptly pulled the trousers as high as they would go, so the stunning result was as bad as Simon “Harry Highpants” Cowell would look like if he wasn’t surrounded by American Idol stylists 24/7.  Much to my delight, I ran into a fellow mother-of-three wearing her netball skirt and a heavy metal tshirt from a band her brother was in during the 80s. We regarded each other with the respect we deserved – after all, nothing we were wearing was inside out or could be classified as nightwear and – here’s the most impressive thing – there we were, both chillin’ in the dairy section of Coles, without our children while our husbands were at home doing the childwrangling. Now that’s cool.

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