Reach for the stars.

Dear Little Princess Pink, treat

This afternoon your Daddy & I attended your first parents conference at big school, whilst we were there  you had a play date at Marc’s house and had great fun with the light sabre (or light saver as you called it) and the little lego people.  You told me it was good to play with boys toys for a change, and Marc’s mummy told me it was a pleasure having you over.

At school, Daddy & I sat in little green chairs – the exact same ones as you sit in when you are in class. It was fine for me as I’m a little on the petite side, but all 6 foot of Daddy was squished and almost folded in half, his knees were nearly round his ears. You’d have rolled your eyes had you seen him!

Miss K had nothing but good things to say about you (and by the way, having seen her up close, I am quite certain she is 30 and not 7 or 10 as you had first suspected.) She started by telling us what a wonderfully well mannered and kind young girl you are.  She tells us not only are you caring and helpful, but you are considerate to the feelings of others, and will try to help them with their work in a soft and gentle manner if they get stuck, explaining to them as they go why the answer is what it is rather than simply telling them outright.

We hear that you have made lots of friends, and are well liked by everyone in the class.  It would appear that you have your fathers competitive streak, and often vie with your bestest friend Abbie to see who can eek the most praise from Miss K for good work.

We hear that you are patient, a trait that you most certainly don’t get from me, but one I am very glad you have. Don’t let that ever stop you from driving forward what you want though. We saw your writing that earned you the title of Star Writer this week, and the sentence that you compiled all by yourself – ” I like writing a story.’  You are your mothers daughter.

We saw Lola the robot displayed proudly outside the front of the school office along with her fellow robots who were equally fantastic.

We saw a great picture of you walking along a balance beam at gym, you were grinning from ear to ear!

I pointed out a photo of Ryan to Daddy, so he could see who you are going to marry when you are 16. It’s important that he knows. I can see why you told him today that he can be your prince and you’ll be his princess.

I saw your classroom from your perspective today and its exciting. I saw spark and drive in your teachers eyes too. She clearly loves her job and we know if you continue to be the keen, inquisitive, curious and diligient pupil you are, then she will support you all the way.

We’re super proud of you, you are blossoming my darling.

Reach for the stars.

Mummy & Daddy

xxxxxxx

Run Mummy, run.

I’ve heard lots about this ‘school run’, price mind and given Little Princess Pink has now donned her very cute uniform and commenced her classes as a primary one, site I think I need to pay more attention. I’m assuming said school run is the dropping off and collection of small children at their schooling establishment and not anything to do with actual, proper running? I think I would struggle with that given my relationship with my trainers has soured again (not that it ever really got properly off the ground last time, fickle as they are.) I imagine also that running would involve much flapping and flailing of school bags and lunchboxes, would jiggle my blackberry too much and would result in sweaty pits under my suit jacket.

The dropping off and collecting part sounds straight forward, providing I can find a parking space amidst the hoardes of cars belonging to others also participating in the school run.  I’m well aware of the irony in there – school run; car; school run; car. Believe me, if we lived close enough and didn’t have Little Monster Blue to drop off at nursery a whole 7.2 miles away in the opposite direction, then an 8 mile trip along the bustling M8 to the office all before 9am, then I would be quite happy to walk the school run (still not running.) I hear the warnings from government officials loud and clear about the increase of traffic on the roads at peak hours as parents a plenty chose a petrol powered method of getting the kids to school over using shanks’ pony (using ones legs as a means of transport, not surprisingly, this expression is believed to be Scottish in origin.)

What is less straight-forward to me, and the part I’m struggling to get my head around on the whole concept of the school run is the etiquette and dare I say, the rules.

According to one source, a mummy should apply a slick of lip gloss prior to the school run, so she looks ‘together.’ That I can do, though more often than not find the attraction between lip gloss and my hair somewhat limiting in the looking together stakes. Caitlin Moran, whom I adore for her frankness and honesty on the issue of why women should / shouldn’t have children, claims in her latest book that “in the real world, women who always blow dry their hair before leaving the house are freaks, and any mother at the school gates with a glossy bob is the subject of pitying looks from other mothers who can’t believe she wasted 20 minutes and lots of upper arm strength for any event less momentous than announcing her engagement to Kiefer Sutherland at Cannes”.

Therein lies the first dilemma.  Am I to undertake the school run with limited grooming and attention to personal hygiene at the risk of embarrassing daughter, myself and anyone associated with me in order that I don’t become the recipient of helpful suggestions levied in my direction as to how best spend an additional 20 minutes in the morning at the expense of my coiffed barnet? There is also the small matter of adhering to the company dress code when I do actually make it in to the office, and ensuring a professional frontage when I get there.  Lip gloss and freshly washed and blow dry hair are a necessary requirement for this. I’m not quite sure if I fully understand the spectrum of acceptable glamour on the school run.  Is it appropriate perhaps to sit somewhere between unkempt, bed head, perhaps partially hidden by an anorak hood, and the just-stepped-out-of- a-salon look and opt for simply taking a brush through yesterdays freshly washed do? Is it okay to wear the suit that I plan to wear to work, or is that deemed too ‘sharp’ for the school run? Should I veer towards smart skirt and blouse and casual knee high boots with a hell of less than 3 inches? Is a hoodie and pyjama bottoms with dried on Weetabix a step too far in the other direction?  Frankly, if day one school drop off was anything to go by, it makes absolutely no odds what I wear or how I style my hair as I’ll forever be known as the one with the mascara running down my cheeks (serves me right for applying make-up before leaving the house) and snot dripping from my nose as I weep and wail goodbye to my princess.

Which brings me to saying goodbye at the school gate. Is hugging, kissing and calling ‘I love you bear’ after the blonde bouncy plaited head of my girl disappearing into the classroom permitted?  Or will I be mocked for my public display of affection, notwithstanding that it is to my five year old? Should I remain resolutely stoic and unmoving for fear of being regarded as uncool and clingy otherwise, or will this render me the nickname ‘The Ice Mum’?

Should I, and will I, make friends with the other mums on the run?  I’m a newbie, LPP coming from a different nursery to the school feeder nursery, does this therefore mean I will be freely welcomed into the fold and invited to join in with morning gossiping, or will I have to watch on from the sidelines, nervously twirling my hair and wondering how I can strike up a conversation that doesn’t make me look like I’m desperate for a school gate friend nor cross the boundaries of acceptable morning school gate chat (unfamiliar with that as I am.) What topics are suitable for a gaggle of mums who huddle together for 10 minutes at the start of the day and 10 minutes mid afternoon 5 days a week?  I’m assuming with small children in earshot, swearing is not permitted, nor is the ‘Snog, Shag or Marry’ game about the hot male teacher who takes primary 6, the middle aged music  teacher (female, though with a wispy beard) and the school janitor?

Being last to arrive for drop off, just as the school bell is ringing loudly.  I’m assuming this is downright unacceptable, but unfortunately has to befall one of the school run mums (or dads). If it was me puffing and panting as I sprint down the path, arms overflowing with school bag, lunch box the jacket that we didn’t quite manage to get on (despite the rain) and a hairbrush and bobbles for last minute plaiting in an attempt at neatness, would this behaviour be frowned upon?  Could I successfully argue that I couldn’t find a parking space that wasn’t a) on a zebra crossing, b) across someone’s driveway, or c) long enough and wide enough to fit my SUV?  Okay, so I don’t have an SUV, but if we’re stereotyping here…..Perhaps I would be scorned for spending too long with the hairdryer and maybe glean some helpful pointers on the right things I should be spending my time on between the hours of 6am and 8am.

And, what I wonder, is the etiquette as far as breakfast on the go is concerned? Are coco pops bars allowed to be consumed whilst small child runs frantically at double speed to keep up with mum or dad as they power walk briskly up the path to avoid being the last one to arrive?  I suspect this could also be avoided if hair drying is forgone in favour of rustling up a suitably nutritious and nourishing Eggs Benedict or kedgeree for the nippers prior to departing for school.  Surely it’s better that any breakfast which must be dispensed literally on the run is witnessed by the other mums in those scenarios where it just hasn’t happened at home that morning for fear of perhaps the teacher asking to see me after class to discuss the constant tummy rumbling and requests to eat her packed lunch at 10am from my non-breakfast eating daughter? Coco pops bars might be frowned upon, containing chocolate as they do; maybe bananas with their energy giving qualities might be favoured and deemed satisfactory?

I believe I have lots to learn in the ways of school run mum, and will pay close attention on the next drop off, carefully studying those who stand outside the primary two class, smug that they now ‘get it’ after having had a whole year to learn the rules. In the meantime, the lip gloss will remain, after all, the luscious shade of pink matches my Minnie Mouse pyjama bottoms perfectly.

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