Thursday, 2 September 2010

Study Day

Not much to report today. Man-flu downgraded to cold.

Just as I was closing down my computer last night, an email clicked into my inbox. My OU assignment was ready for collection. It had been marked and now returned. The fifth of six. If anyone follows me on twitter or is a friend on facebook  - they will know this. 

89%. I nearly fainted! For a third year uni academic course I feel I deserve a pat on the back. So I did a little jig. Not a full on dance, as I was trying to keep my balance and stop myself from fainting. The question?
Critically analyse some of the key factors influencing change within children’s services. What are the implications of these changes for practitioners and the way in which they work with children and their families?
 Anyone wanna give me a job?

So today I've done some more studying as I have the last assignment to submit by 17th September. As I'll be away working hard at my nursery 7th-18th Sept, I need to have it written and sent before I leave. 

House-husband has stolen The Complaints back as he was reading it first. Hope he hurries up. I want to see how it pans out and write a review. 

A friend from Facebook who I met a few years ago, back when we both lived a different life, today posted that she was late in collecting her sons from school. Here's a (true) story that I hope will cheer her up ... 

(first published in Write On, 2008  based on real life events 2001) 

In Loco-Parentis

It was with something of a swagger that the better half and I went into town. Our young boy had just started his first day at school. His big sister was already there and his little one had been  deposited at nursery. It felt good.

The first week is quite traumatic for new starters, so they  say, and the school ask parents to collect the children at lunch time, to take them home for a snack and bring them back again for the afternoon session. Experience told me that it would be difficult to return them back to school for the afternoon once they'd been home. Oh well, the school is the boss and teachers are almighty. They know best.

            Having taken the week off work to complete my motherly duties, I enjoyed the opportunity to spend some kid-free time with my husband. He had to go to work for a late shift, but we still had a couple of rare hours to be together. We did a bit of shopping and even held hands in style of lovers.

            Glancing across to one of the many travel agents in our town, I saw a bargain advertised in the window. The fluorescent orange star glared at me, a holiday in Costa Blanca - two weeks for a family of five. It must be fate, I thought, as ‘bargains’ are often just for four. It was the home of my mother-in-law and the accommodation was a new plush hotel with fancy flamingos painted on the walls. The perfect thing!  I nudged my counterpart and he agreed to come inside and have a look. 

            In less than a minute we were seated across a table facing a well made up local girl with a vast knowledge of prices and locations. She tap-tapped on the computer keyboard and brought up the details. I hugged myself in delight, fantasising about an autumn holiday. We would be away for our eldest daughters’ birthday and mine too. It couldn’t be better with a marvellous price and good timing, right over the school half term holidays. What a deal! We paid the money, on the credit card of course, and smiled at each other, proud of our purchase.  We left the shop, linking arms.

            Strolling along happy and content, I looked at my watch. “It’s only twelve thirty, plenty of time before you’ve got to go to work.”

            ‘Great, shall we see if can get some cheap sun lotion for the kids? They’ll have to be covered, even in October.’

            ‘Yeah. Oh, I can’t wait. In less than six weeks ...’ I dreamt on.

            Smug, we wandered arm in arm around the shopping centre, oblivious to worries and woes from home. I didn’t just feel good, I felt fantastic.

            Then it hit me, like an instant thunderbolt crashing down on my uncovered head. The fastest time-travel thought from a sunny Spanish beach spiralled back into the UK. I jolted, pulling my husband back as he walked on, oblivious.

            I screamed. I panicked.  ‘Look at the time! We’ve forgotten him!’

            ‘NO! Flippen’ eck!’ he cursed, only not so polite.

            Neither of us had run so fast or so hard in our life. Batman and Robin had nothing on us. Stares from the other shoppers didn’t register. They probably thought my husband was a mugger, or we were thieves. I didn’t know, I didn’t care.

            The school was three and a half miles from town, and I don’t encourage speeding, but at sixty miles an hour I was telling him to go faster.

            ‘Poor kid, fancy forgetting him.’  I was frantic, wringing my hands, leaning forward in my seat, urging us forth.

            He concentrated on his driving, silent, grim faced and staring hard.
            I willed everything from our path. ‘They’ll think I’m a bad mother!’ I bemoaned. ‘What will they say? Please, hurry up. Go faster.’ I pedalled like Wilma from the Flintstones.  I hadn’t thought to take a mobile with us. We were only going to be an hour. I imagined his little face, streaked with tears, distraught, left by his Mummy and Daddy.

            We screeched to a jerky stop outside the school gates where cars are not allowed to stop. I flew out, not bothering to slam the door behind me.

            The look on his face when we collected him at twelve forty-five – well. I hang my head. And he only had fifteen minutes left of his lunch break. I can’t forgive myself. Dejected and forgotten, I matched him with a look of pure guilt.  Dad had stayed in the car of course. The teacher? Well, let’s just say they still remind me of my days at school. I’m surprised I never received a detention.

            ‘It’s ok Mummy. They gave me a biscuit.’  He forgave us.

            If only I could forgive myself. I was there at eleven thirty for the rest of the week. 

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