FOUR MORE DAYS. I know. You can feel my level of excitement and it is infectious. Enjoy.
Today was report day. I am now far more knowledgeable about what my children are 'able' to do. Gone are the days of personal thoughts or opinions on children in their care, now all the reports we get from teachers tell me what they are able to do. George is able to count to over twenty (interesting - I hadn't noticed but it turns out she is spot on - he can get to 23), George is able to move with "confidence, imagination and in safety" (bizarre observation - especially as he is always, always walking in to and falling over seemingly harmless objects) and my favourite, George is able to "go backwards, sideways as well as forwards and can jump off an object and land appropriately". I think it is slightly disturbing that they need to tell me my four year old is able to move forwards. How do they think I get him to school in the first place? Obviously I am also exceedingly proud of his ability to land appropriately. How embarrassing it must be for the parents whose children have spent the last year landing inappropriately. THE SHAME. Perhaps my favourite insight from the teacher was from her personal comments, 'His contributions to class discussions are valued and he often asks appropriate questions.' This is more of an insight into the life of a nursery teacher than the mind of my son - I can only imagine the horror of twenty five four year olds constantly asking ridiculous and irrelevant questions. I can totally understand why she should appreciate that every now and again G's questions actually refer to something vaguely relevant to the topic of conversation.
Obviously I realise that the poor woman is very limited by the 'rules' on what she can and can't write about my very talented son, so I hasten to add that she is THE most amazingly lovely woman and G has been ridiculously fortunate to have her as his teacher. After all, it is entirely down to her that he can count to over twenty, 'form recognisable letters' and land appropriately after jumping. I have taught him none of the above.
Bea's report was less humorous and more factual. The only silly comment was that 'She knows, with confidence, the names of the main parts of the body.' If they mean head, shoulders, knees and toes then that is rather underwhelming as even Ted can identify most of those and he hasn't yet celebrated his second birthday. However overall it was a glowing report as she is, obviously, brilliant. The only sadness is that she seems to be taking after me in her need for 'more haste less speed'. This phrase was told to me on far too many occasions, together with 'think before you speak' and 'could try harder' which appeared on every single report I received throughout my school career. They were right of course. I could have indeed tried harder, I knew that at the time but much like now, I clearly couldn't be bothered as my lazy gene was far too hard to override. If I got a report for my housewifery thus far it would still be riddled with such phrases. I am greatly in need of putting in more effort, taking more care over the jobs I do manage to carry out and the way I manage my finances is in dire need of more haste and less speed.
Take today, due to my laziness yesterday afternoon on housewifely duties, a sudden call from a WW leader who needed my help at a meeting this morning meant that I had to put Ted back into the car seat that he had thrown up on the day before. I just couldn't deal with a car seat seeping in sick yesterday afternoon and I knew that I could safely put it off until Monday as we didn't need the car before then. But, as a valuable life lesson to me, I did have to use the car again which meant that I had no choice but to put him back into it and travel around today smelling the sweet smell of my failure. Actually, with the windows open it is not as bad as you might imagine. And my lesson was duly learnt and the minute Ted went down for his sleep this afternoon I bothered to take the offending seat out of the car and strip it back for a thorough cleaning. I am hoping the car will now smell pleasingly of washing powder and Dettol.
So, the reason for the sick. It was the result of another great weekend. This whole new world of K having Saturdays off has changed our lives. We actually have whole weekends to fill and we have been doing extremely exciting stuff with them. We used the last one to nip down to Kent and spend the weekend camping at the War and Peace show in Kent. Now, naturally this is not the sort of sentence you expect me to use so I shall break it down for you. K's mum and her husband go most years as he is a big military vehicle fan and they take their little caravan and his military Land Rover and spend nearly two weeks enjoying themselves with like minded souls. Normally, I would dispatch K with the child/ren who would enjoy this most, but this year I thought they were all at an age where they would enjoy big tanks and mud so I rather gamely said that we would all attend. The caveat being that I would not be camping overnight with Ted. HELL NO. I had cunningly realised before I made the arrangements, that my elder sister lived not too far away from the site and being the genius that I am, I knew that I could merrily leave K with the eldest two and the tent and I could nip off to the comfort of my sister's house. Annoyingly I didn't check she was free, which she wasn't. That was a slight fly in my ointment. However, all things work out for the best in the end, and as luck would have it, her daughter was sick on Friday (the sick bug is seemingly everywhere) so their weekend plans were cancelled and once again, my luxury weekend was back on the cards. I did feel slightly guilty as I left K in the mud and the rain with two ridiculously over excited children on Saturday evening, but the guilt dissipated ridiculously quickly as I arrived at my five star boutique hotel experience - aka my sister's house. It was AMAZING. I drank champagne, I ate the most delicious cod and mash (she can follow a Jamie recipe magnificently - it was quite honestly one of the best meals I have ever eaten) and then I slept in the most comfortable bed ever produced. I even had an Orla Kiely hand towel at my disposal. I didn't use it but Ted did turn the tap on without me removing it from the sink first so it got quite wet nonetheless. He also threw his milk bottle out of the window. It landed on the top of a rose bush which we couldn't reach from the second floor window from whence he threw it or from the ground floor. Ted was slightly perplexed by our predicament, he kept pointing to the window and saying 'done?' and 'milk?'. Luckily the quick thinking sister found a stick and managed to dislodge it. Anyway, he drank the milk from the retrieved bottle on the way back to the mud and the exhausted husband and children and then, just as we approached the entrance, he took his turn to experience the sick bug and threw up all over himself and his car seat. (I must add that obviously I did clean up the worst of it with baby wipes - it wasn't like he was sitting in great big chunks of sick - I'm not THAT bad.)
So far, Bea and I are the only members of the family to escape the sick. G took his turn on Friday evening. In the middle of supper he stopped, mid-besghetti bomonaise and looked at me with scared eyes before he said - I'm going to be sick. He duly was in the conveniently located loo, before he returned to the table to finish his meal and that of his sister's. He really is quite unflappable. Mind you, I fear he may have a lot worse to deal with in a few days time. I came around the corner on the way back from the school run today, to find him licking the button you press at the pedestrian crossing to stop the traffic. I believe I may have shouted extremely loudly. It is too revolting to consider the number of totally disgusting things that he has ingested from that button. Just thinking about the people who might have touched it is sending my mind into overdrive. He may be able to move safely in a forward direction and land appropriately after leaping, but there are very clearly areas of his education that are seriously lacking. I shall have a word with his teacher tomorrow and see if she could teach them how to lick safely now that they have mastered landing.
I suppose as a mother I am slightly culpable for this educational lapse. It's just not good enough. They were right. 'Could try harder'.