From Sex to Secondary school

You piss on the stick – two blue lines…omg! Omg! Omg! You go and buy another test, as the first one you bought was Boots own, but you think you should buy one at double the price, in case the cheap one is wrong. You piss on an expensive stick…the line is even more blue! You knew it was worth the extra money. You tell your partner. Are you sure? he says. It’s a rhetorical question, but it prompts the desperate urge in you to need to triple check. You look at the tests on the shelf, all with slightly different claims. You go for the middle priced one. You insist on pissing on the stick with your partner actually there, so that he can verify its authenticity. Still two double lines – yay!!

That’s pretty much how it all starts, after having sex of some description. (In my case: Daughter 1 – Honeymoon, daughter 2 – ovulation kit, daughter 3 – can’t remember as there was obviously so much wild sex going on at that time with 2 kids under 2 in the house that it all merges, daughter 4 – Spain).

So how have I got to the point where they are all at big school? How the hell did that happen? How do I find myself in a position where people are coming up to me and asking what I think of one of my daughters’ schools, because they are thinking of sending their child there? As they approach, I’m thinking to myself, don’t ask me, please don’t ask me, because I’m shit at the whole school thing. I don’t know the names of all my kids’ heads. I get confused with all my Parent Mail accounts. I actually don’t know which Parent Mail goes with which school, without referring to past e mails, that I usually spend half the evening frantically searching for and then can’t remember the passwords. However, none of this stops them asking. Are you finding your child is coping with the pressure of a grammar school? they ask in a perfectly reasonable way. A cold sweat comes over me. I desperately try to think of any examples of my daughters showing undue signs of stress…erm, I get flashing images of doors slamming and daughters screaming at each other…no, I don’t think so, I reply, scanning the questioner’s face, looking for signs that they will be appeased by this and will bugger off and let me forget how crap I am… but they never do. There’s always more in this earnest parent’s fuel tank of questions. Are you happy with the teachers? They say this with a sweet smile on their face and head slightly cocked to one side. They’ve seen I’m shit at this, I think to myself. They are testing me now. I think back to one of the four parents’ evenings I have attended in the past 6 weeks. Under pressure they merge into one. Get the right school, I think to myself. Don’t make yourself look like a prat. Yes, the teachers were all lovely at parents’ evening and very professional, I reply, forcing a smile back and then, it must have been the stress of the questioning, but I find myself talking about the sperm cake. Yes, the one daughter 4 made for a science homework. The sperm cake she made when they had to produce a model of a seed and no-one else did a sperm, or a cake. My interrogator looks at me and cannot hide her shock and disappointment. The bloody sperm cake has gone and blown my cover. I feel I should wrap this whole ordeal up: I’m sure your daughter will be very happy there, I say, rather pleased with myself for drawing a line under it. The mother is backing away, but holding me firmly in her sights with a glare: she’s got options, she snarles at me, clicks her heels, turns with a swish and hurries away.

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I love the new Parent Mail system used at daughter 3’s school, as every e mail begins: ‘regarding Josie’ written in italics. It’s like they are saying: you know – JOSIE… The one who likes football, strawberry jam on bagel and hates dresses, remember? THAT Josie. Capish?      

I need this sort of guidance.

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