Posts Tagged ‘the school run’

Nothing says “Welcome home” more than the sound of all three of your smoke detectors going off. 

You see, I had managed to merrily set off on the school run, leaving biscuits that I’d deemed to need only “a few more minutes” trapped in an oven that was hotter than the sun.

In many ways, it was a good thing I didn’t remember the biscuits until we were actually at the school otherwise I may have been faced with one of those terrible “Get A Late Pass or Save The House” decisions. Somehow, I think the house would have lost out, particularly because I still too much of a soft cock to show my face in the school office (see “Sorry, It’s School Policy“). And it is quite possible I might have regarded the house burning down to the ground as one hell of an effective way to get out of doing the dishes…

But once Mr Justice had been delivered through the school gates, my mission was clear: Get. The. Hell. Home.

Of course, the journey back was fraught with many obstacles: for one thing, we had to swim against the steady stream of parents heading to the school, who said stuff like “Oooh, you’re early today!”, “No late pass today?” and (my favourite) “Did you forget your son?”.

No, I didn’t forget my son! I’m not *that* irresponsible – I’m merely burning the house down!  I felt like shouting. But I didn’t because then they would have said “Oh, why?” and I would have had to explain the whole situation. Which is probably why fire engines have such loud sirens so nobody is tempted to ask them where they’re going or why they’re going there. 

Still, all that nodding and smiling and “Ha ha ha ha!”-ing takes up time and energy, people! But when I finally got clear of the school rush hour, I came face to face with another school mum, carrying her newborn baby.

Now etiquette dictates that you have to pause and fuss over the baby and ask for details of the birth, etc – you can’t just say “Yeah, yeah, nice baby. Sure… Uh, gotta dash! My house is burning down!” It’s just not The Done Thing. 

Also, if the truth be known, I’m a sucker for newborn babies – they’re so itsy-bitsy-ickly-wickly cute with their ‘ittle-wittle ears and fingers and toes and nose and… But I digress.

However, the etiquette surrounding our next encounter was a little less clear. We saw a cute little baby dog running cute little baby dog circles on the road in front of considerably less cute and larger oncoming traffic and somehow “Sorry kids, that cute puppy has to die so that our house may live” just didn’t seem the appropriate thing to say. And so we had to carefully shepherded the dog back across the road to the house he’d run out of, knock on the door, explain to the owner, be thanked by the owner, get away from the owner, etc, etc. ETC. 

After all that, I literally sprinted down the rest of the road pushing the Valco Mobile Home, to find a) the smoke alarms heralding our arrival; b) the house (thankfully) still standing; c) the dishes still undone; and d) the biscuits only fit for use as charcoal to scratch the words “TURN OFF THE OVEN, YOU FREAKING IDIOT” on the inside of the front door for next time. 

What kind of person bakes cookies before the school run, anyway? Sheesh!

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A letter to the principal of [NAME OMITTED] Primary School.

Dear Brett, 

I had the great pleasure of receiving my very first late pass of the year yesterday morning because I was less than five minutes late in getting my eldest child to school. Thank you so much for bestowing me with this great honour. You have no idea what it means to me.  No, really. You have No. Idea. 

You may be wondering why I’ve enclosed a pair of scissors with this letter. Well, there’s a story behind it, just as there is a story behind my tardiness yesterday morning. And I’d really like to share both with you – if you can take the time out from processing all those late passes, that is. 

On my late pass, I wrote “Sore finger required band-aid” as my reason. But actually that was just the tip of the iceberg – or even, tip of the finger, if you’ll allow the joke. Which I hope you will. Because I would hate to have to fill in any further paperwork if you won’t. 

Anyway, we were on the verge of leaving the house when a skirmish broke out between Mr Justice and The Pixie at the front door, causing Mr Justice to “gravely” injure his finger. Actually, to be fair to The Pixie, I think the finger injury was from a few days ago when he pulled the smallest bit of skin off next to his fingernail but then had forgotten about it until The Pixie had dared to pull his finger (not in the comic way, I’m sorry to say). In any case, he decided that the injury required immediate attention – and if sticky-tape can fix any broken object in the minds of my children, band-aids and hugs can fix any human suffering.

But could I find a band-aid? No, Brett, I could not. I could find plenty of empty band-aid boxes in the toiletries cupboard that, handily, maintain the illusion of us having a plethora of band-aids whenever I do a last-minute stock check before the weekly shopping. But not a single band-aid to be found in any one of those boxes.  

In the meantime, The Pixie tried to climb into the Valco Mobile Home by herself and managed to tip the whole thing over onto herself. And at the very same moment, T. McGee, who had emptied the contents of his freshly-filled drink pot onto the floor, slipped over slap-stick style in the puddle of his own creation. They both started crying loudly, so I had to do a quick visual assessment of them both to make sure no bones were broken. Satisfied that they were still intact, I continued trying to find the band-aid because Mr Justice, too, was crying at this point because his finger “hurt so much”, so then they were all wailing and my mobile phone started ringing and somehow all this wasn’t helping me find the band-aid at all and I started shouting in my Linda-Blair-possessed-by-the-devil voice: “WHY. DON’T. WE. HAVE. ANY. BAND-AI… oh, what’s this?”. And there between two hand-towels was one lone band-aid. Of course it would be there. Where else would it be? 

So I administered first-aid on the (apparently) life-threatening injury, gave hugs to all three children, set the pram to rights, mopped up the slipping hazard, refilled Tiddles’ drinky pot, got everyone’s hats on and them into their appropriate seats and we set off to school – some 8 minutes later than I’d intended. 

And yet, despite all that, I was still less than only 5 minutes late. 

But instead of being able to release my child into the classroom to get an education, I had to do a fifteen point turn with the Valco Mobile Home to go back to the School Office, where I found myself blabbing to the largely-indifferent office staff that all three of my children had eaten breakfast, were fully-dressed, wearing sunscreen, hats and matching shoes and even all of us (me included) had clean underpants on and that I had, in fact, made my son’s “litter-free” lunch at 5:45am that morning and cooked everyone pancakes for breakfast and even put on a load of washing before we left and that it Just. Wasn’t. Fair. But no, none of that in any way nullified the five minute delay and the Late Pass was issued. Rules are rules. Apparently. 

And then, when we finally got back to the classroom, the teacher made a big point of thanking Mr Justice for getting a late pass, but she said his name wrong like it was “Mr Jar-stice” and I yapped “It’s Mr Just-ice!” like one of those pathetic half-rat/half-dog things that live in Paris Hilton’s handbag, and then, as much as one can when manouvering the Valco Mobile Home, swept out of the classroom in a huff. I then spent the rest of the day either ranting about Late Passes to anyone who would listen (not many) or feeling terrible that I’d lost my temper and made a scene in the Office and snarled at the teacher all before the first week of school was even finished.  

And so Brett, we come back to those scissors I’ve enclosed with this letter. Those scissors, my friend, are simply for you and your underlings to Cut. Me. Some. Fucking. Slack. 

Yours sincerely,

The NDM.

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I try to make my children walk to the school every morning if I can – not just because the 1km walk is “good for the constitution” but also there are mornings where I just can’t face the bitch-fight over parking if we go in the car, particularly if it’s one of those days when I think I’ll completely lose my reverse-parking mojo in front of a large crowd of onlookers and with no less than seventeen cars up my arse. 

Most of the time when we walk to school, we are part of a thriving walking community. I’m on waving terms with many a fellow parent, and have even recently upgraded some of those to a “How’s it going” or even a “Strange weather we’re having” relationship. Ah, good times. 

But every now and then, we’re walking to school and it’s like we’ve stepped onto the set of “The Quiet Earth”. The streets are completely and utterly deserted and Mr Justice fearfully tugs on my sleeve and says “Mummy, we’re the last ones walking”. And we both know, deep in the pit of our stomaches, that this means we have slipped into late-pass territory.

Late Passes. Ach, don’t get me started. But what’s that? You really want to know? Well, okay. Officially, you don’t have to get a late pass unless the roll has been already called by the class teacher. Now I like Mr Justice’s teacher very much but does she have to call the roll before the bell has even stopped ringing? Many a time, we’ve run the last 200 metres to the school (with me pushing the Valco Mobile Home and Mr Justice carrying a bag roughly double his body weight) and we’ve poked our heads in the door at 9:02am only to get the thumbs down and have to do the Walk of Shame back to the school office. 

And then, when the “time of arrival” is noted on your late pass, it’s the time it was issued and not of the time you actually arrived at school. Which pisses me off no end. Because we weren’t actually 15 minutes late, we were 2 minutes late and it’s not my bloody fault it took me an extra five minutes to herd everyone back to the School Office and then had to queue “patiently” for another eight. It’s all I can do to stop myself from yelling “My child is missing out on an education here, people!”

The final insult is that you have to give a reason for being 2 minutes late. I mean, I’ve got three children 6 and under. What other reason do I have to give? They’re lucky we’ve turned up at all, really. And not one of us still in our sleepwear. Not a single one. Hell, they should be giving me a freakin’ Mother of the Year Award rather than a green slip of paper. But noooooo, it’s apparently Education Department Policy that I have to cite a reason more specific than “Life”.

Usually, I end up writing “Slept in late” on the slip. Hah! As if *that’s* ever happened in this household. Why do I lie, you ask? For one thing, there isn’t enough space for me to write the whole reason – not without compromising my One True Vanity (see “What’s in a Name“). And in any case, if they were ever to call my bluff, I’d end up snarling something like “You want the truth? You can’t HANDLE the truth!”.

If the truth really must be told (*sigh*), here are a few of the real reasons behind our frequent tardiness:

Tiddles’ nappy exploded shortly before we were due to leave the house. 

Someone somewhere declared today to be International Slow Walking Day and all three of my children chose to observe it. Closely. 

Thieves broke into the house overnight and either hid or stole all the car keys, hats, shoes and/or drinky pots.

The Pixie needed to finish her princess-fairy-song-dance in the loungeroom before we could leave.

I’m shit.

My children hate me. 

And if you manage to slip your child into class after the roll is called but without getting a late pass, you get an officious yellow note sent home, demanding you provide a reason (and a signature) for their records. Because you were five-frigging-minutes late. Aw, come on! By the time all the paper work has been issued and filled in at my end and returned and then filed away with their records, it’s taken up far more of their precious minutes than we were actually late in the first place. 

One of my friends, Nat-T got handed a yellow note by her daughter in the middle of writing a eulogy for her grandmother.  No doubt fueled by grief and a substantial quantity of wine, she scribbled a message to the principal on it along the lines of “Is this officious bullshit truly necessary, Brett?” His response was that apparently it *is* necessary. Perhaps I should just dump one of Tiddles’ fresh steaming nappies on the office counter or, better still, just leave my three kids with Brett and friends for half an hour. Something tells me they’d never ask me why we were the Last Ones Walking again.

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