Back to School: A Fairy Tale
This is a true story that happened to someone I know. Not me, mind, my children are angels, my life is a Pinterest post.
Once Upon a Time….
To say she was looking forward to the first day of school was an understatement. The kids, whilst generally lovely, were starting to grate on her nerves
to the moon and back, just a little, so it was time for them to be, well, away. For the safety of all.
So it was with great joy that she awoke on the first day of the first term and bounded from bed and into the kitchen to make French toast for her little chicks. They gobbled it up along with their smoothie and their cereal, and it seemed like her day would be charmed. She made the lunches, perhaps singing a line or two of George Michael’s ‘Freedom’ as she filled those Tupperware containers and thought about her day ahead. She thought about silence. And a cup of tea, drunk whilst still hot. She thought of having a wee without anyone coming in to ask her if they could play Minecraft… Ahhh pissing in private: bliss.
She pulled into the school at 7.57am, a mere thirty-fucking-eight minutes before the bell. Not.one.single.spare.carpark. So she drove out again, and over to the paddock, trying to remain upbeat, even though she knew her youngest always found the walk from there a bit much, what with her little legs and her lack of haemoglobin. Today the kid would have to carry her own bag because of the bloody bookpacks that had to be taken to the classrooms.
She looked around at all the other families; beaming mothers, freshly licked children, and with a sinking stomach stone she realised: The Hats. She’d forgotten the bloody hats.
No hat, no play.
She calmly broke the news to the kids: the oldest started whinging, the youngest screwed her face up like she did when she got a blood test (it meant a hard rain’s a-gonna fall). So she decided to go directly to the uniform shop, and get some new ones, they’d come in handy, maybe.
They arrived at the uniform shop. The queue was eighteen people long. School started in twenty-eight minutes. A minute and a half per person. It wasn’t gonna happen. So she decided to
dump drop the kids in their classrooms and come back for the hats. This did not go well. The youngest was crying, worrying about not getting a hat, and complaining that her bag (containing an oh-so-heavy lunchbox and a water bottle) was made of lead and she couldn’t carry it. She gritted her teeth with a grimace that tried to be a smile and gripped the youngest’s hand to show she meant business. The kid would walk. The kid would carry her own bag. She might have squeezed that chubby little hand, just a teensy bit.
Whilst she was cajoling the kid to walk, the big one walked off ahead, to his classroom. She finally got to his class, crying kid in tow, and leaving a trail of gluesticks behind her, but where was he? He was nowhere to be seen. She grimsmiled at more doting Mothers and sparkling teachers and went to find him. “Stay here, right here, and stop crying, it was just a tiny squeeze,” she told the youngest. The youngest did not stay. The youngest did not stop crying. She wanted to scream out one of the bad swears. Where was that idiot kid?
After a time and a school bell, he came ambling up the path- the space cadet had toddled off to his last year’s classroom. Sweet Jesus.
She dispatched Unit One and his bookpack, scooped up Unit Two, headed to the next classroom.
She only dropped four exercise books and two erasers on the way, so that was counted as a win. They arrived just as the sugar-coated teacher was welcoming all the children. She tried to disentangle, but the kid was wrapped around her leg like Christmas lights. The more she tried to get her off, the harder that kid limpeted on. Eventually the teacher got her free, and she was free.
She resumed a place in the line at the uniform shop, which inched forward. Mothers jostled and jockyed for position, perhaps just so they could say “No, you go first,” to each other every few minutes, and imply greater indolence. In the school ground nowhere to be meant good. Nowhwere to be meant rich.
It was a long wait, and it was hot in the sun, and suddenly there was a cooling splash all up the back of her legs. It was not water though, no, it was something much more zesty, a spew from the toddler behind her. Everyone kind of helped the spew-kid’s-Mum (if by help you mean not moving once inch from their spot in the line, and giving her encouraging but not involved smiles).
No-one asked if she liked that the vomit was soaking into the cork of her Birkenstocks..
Finally, the wait was over, she got the hats, got them to the kids and got the hell outa there. She came home, looked at her World Clock, found it was close enough to 5pm in San Diego, and so opened a bottle of reward.
It was sweet.
How did your first day go? Did you get spewed on?