Tuesday, 2 October 2007

First Day of School

Yesterday was Egg's first day of school. In true 'Griswold' fashion (yes, our family nickname is 'Griswold' after that 80's Chevy Chase film 'Vacation'…if these blogs aren't evidence enough of why this is so, then give up now as you'll never get it…but I digress…)

Anyway, a few weeks back we had tried to engender excitement for the advent of 'school', culminating in a special card, present and giant box of beloved 'smarties' from Grandma, and a promise of homemade blueberry pancakes for breakfast from Mama. Sadly, Mama and Dada got pissed the night before (it started innocently enough with a shared bottle of champagne with some good friends, then descended into downright drunkenness after Dada was dispatched to the local off-license to procure even more booze in order that they both keep riding the high).

So come Monday morning, although Dada (used to indulgent booze intake any given night of the week) managed to roll out of bed at a reasonable hour, Mama was not so fortunate. She had a headache and was rendered incapable of movement until way too late. However a promise is a promise, and darn it if her darling Egg wasn't going to get his precious pancakes. So with a dopey Dada in the way, mucking about and generally causing more chaos than necessary, we tried to get our son off and out the door for the first day of the rest of his collegiate life.

He was, of course, late.

They say start as you mean to finish, so actually it was quite fitting, but no less distressing for Jay and I as we realised the combined genetic inheritance garnered from Abou-Keer/Johnston genes means that Egg (and Noah for that matter) may as well get used to arriving late at nearly all functions and events in life. 'Aim low and you won't be disappointed' is one of our family motto's. Or better yet don't aim at all – merely stab out in the dark and hope you hit something sometime.

Egg's class is currently comprised of six children: three little black boys, one girl in a hijab, a shy little slip of a girl, and the requisite 'fat chick'. Perfect. Jay and I weren't reassured to see the less-than-cursory glance Egg gave the toilets during the tour, but were pleased when he struck up an immediate rapport with the two female teachers. (He's always gotten along better with adults – much like myself at that age – and I don't doubt he'll soon be helping 'run' the class alongside them in a matter of weeks.

Weeks are all he may have however, as unbeknownst to him, Egg is likely to be suddenly and cruelly ejected from this – his first real peer group – when we move (HOPEFULLY!) early December to another part of London. Sadly, he'll have to befriend another group of thugs come January, although instead of being on the dole, in prison, or MIA, his new peers will likely have parents who earn scandalous amounts of money and holiday in places with foreign sounding names.

Being an outgoing child he'll have no trouble fitting in wherever he goes. He's lucky like that. Dada and I are another matter though, as we don't quite fit into any parenting brigade we've so far encountered in London yet. I'm as far away from 'mumsy' as one can imagine, and am known for always carrying lipgloss but rarely remembering to pack nappies. I've yet to have a package of wet-wipes on hand and my children may not know all the farm animals but are well-versed in the different coffee varieties of 'latte, cappuccino, frappacino, etc.'….a skill of which I'm rather touchingly pleased.

The other day in the park as Jay and I shared a bottle of white wine (honestly, we've only done this twice in the past several months, it just sounds bad) and some delicious fish n' chips, we watched Egg play 'king of the castle' with a group of children and noticed all the different 'tribes' of Dad's. There was 'Ponytail Dad', 'Executive Dad,' 'Weekend Dad', 'Over-enthusiastic Dad' and various others. We realised that Jay is a 'P.H.D.' (Piss Head Dad) and as befits a brilliant nickname, Jay has taken to the new moniker like a fish to water...or should i say an Irishman to Guinness.

So today Jay dropped off Egg for his second day of nursery and rang to tell me that he had been taken aback by the tiny flutter of 'awwww' he felt inside while leaving. All of our friends who have gone through this experience, and all magazines and books attest to the heart tug a parent feels when their child first begins school. My own mother still recalls the day I started nursery and how she wept all afternoon. When I finally arrived home she ran to the door and experienced the first of many child-inflicted wounds when I announced that I absolutely LOVED it and begged to go back again the next day.

Here's the thing. As I told Jay yesterday as we exited the school gates for the first time, en route to a celebratory cappuccino, I just can't muster up that first day of school anguish! I don't feel sad I feel relieved! Hurrah…two and a half hours a day with only one child on hand…

I feel positively 'child-less'. Bad Mama.

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