The day started like any other at the special needs club where all organisers are volunteers.
Taking about half an hour to set up, and then clear up at the end, those of us who do the majority of the work can spectacularly fail in our own parenting skills while we try miserably to give new members some attention, with half an eye on any potential squabbles or blood drawing incidents.
We do TRY to keep our eyes on our own kids, and do all we can for the new members with a chat, a coffee and some time out for them. Some need to talk about diagnosis and schooling, and hope that those of us who are further down the line have some gems of wisdom to impart. I am not ashamed to admit that my imperfection as a mother can spill dramatically out into my public life.
Some lovely new members have arrived over the last few weeks. We old hands recognise the symptoms as we’ve all been there. A freshly frown lined face with grimace attached is permanently on show with the shocked new diagnotants. Some are relieved to find a friendly voice, or just to have 5 minutes being told that feeling guilty is normal.
Others are reassured to hear that sometimes little kids who have disabilities are actually just acting like little kids, with nothing to do with the diagnosis.
Before I tell this story, I have to set the scene as I may have to make sure I duck incoming missiles of potential fallout when crossed eyes settle on my sour face of blabbery if this gets out.
With slight trepidation, I followed the janitor to a room which had been broken into. I say broken into, but really, the glass panel slid easily aside. The as yet to be determined culprit was rumbled because the walls had been whitewashed for the return of kiddies to the new term, which was only 36 hours away. Unknown kiddie winks had climbed in and left a dirty great footprint on the wall.
Gathering all the kiddies and their parents into the offending room, we spy the whiteboard which has been decorated and included F*** You, F*** You, You Ass**** in what looked like two different children’s handwriting.
Swallowing hard, I sort of recognised the writing of one of my brood of perfect little darlings. In the way that your heart sinks when you realise you could actually be responsible for the potential kicking out of said club from premises forever, I keep my opinion in check. All the kids stayed silent when they were asked if they knew anything about it. Of course they did. Who wants to get outed and spoil potential future young Banksyesq fame in public.
Animated faces walked back to the large play area, and theories abounded as to the guilty party. Someone points their hand at middler and says that it was him. Kids jump on the bandwagon, and soon his face blushes as red as a beetroot.
“It was me.” he shouted, face getting redder, and repeating it over and over while he stamped his feet.
I sort of inappropriately laughed, and then said:
“He can’t write, and he can’t write his name yet, so how on earth was he going to be able to do the writing on the whiteboard.”
“How do you know he can’t write?” says a voice.
I was at a loss for words. He might not have far to go to reach my height, but I’d know if he could write his name.
I repeat :
“He can’t spell and can’t write, so the only person in the whole room that it definitely was NOT, was middler.”
Quick as lightening, a new parent who is a teacher moves in behind me and delivers the killer accusation.
Standing in front of middler, she says:
He looks at her as if she’s grown three heads.
So there it is. The accusation in two tiny words. No direct standing and pointing her finger at me. A snidy, teachery attempt at making me look a fool.
Here I sit, in front of my keyboard.
I’m a liar, a fraud and I’ve been challenged in public.
Challenged in front of my friends, my peers, and my fellow special needs parents.
Seething in silence, I couldn’t trust my voicebox to behave. I remained tight lipped and dipped my head as I clasped my clenched fists to my shoulder, in a vain bid to pull out the offending dagger thrust at me.
With a real live actual fraudulent uttering of epic proportions, we’ve found out who actually did the dirty deed. My initial suspicions proved spot on the money. The non-existent CCTV that would miraculously appear in the next fortnight to identify the perpetrators, made the convicts sing as sweet as a canary.
It wasn’t middler.
“Polishes knuckles on sleeve.”