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Sweet Temptation – Who’s Right – Teacher or Me? Help…..

We had a situation last week.   I may be reading too much into it, but it really irritated me to the bone.

On the way home from school, elder was very quiet and piped up that he had a letter than I had to sign for him to take back into school.  I didn’t think that much about it at the time and just thought it would be for “yet” another trip for P7’s.

At home, he sheepishly slipped the letter under my nose and I read it with total disgust.  Not in disgust at him I have to say (although I had to show him some displeasure) but in disgust at the contents.

It begins by saying this type of thing:

Dear Mss xxxxx
I am really sorry for stealing sweeties from your desk, and I know it was just too tempting, so please please forgive me and I know you can never ever trust me ever again for lying and nobody likes a thief.   I have to say sorry to the whole class and I hope you can forgive me.
Yada Yada Yada you get the idea.

 Some of you may be shocked that on this occasion, I didn’t give my boy the third degree, or make him bow and scrape to a pretence of guilt in front of me.  Some of you may stop reading right now, make your mind up what kind of person I am, and then you don’t find out my side of the story.

Wind my neck back in for a month and we find a group of “professionals” and I talking about my boy, his future, and his transition to the big school next year.  As part of that discussion, I tell them about my sons sugar addiction and cravings.  Bear in mind that I am not talking about your average pouty child who just likes a sweetie or two.

I have only recently come to terms with the fact that my son is a sugar addict and that it is part of his condition.  I specifically mentioned it at the meeting where his teacher was present as I had only just found out for myself that he was not just an out and out thief from the treat cupboard, but actually has an illness that is a side effect of his condition and compels him to ingest sweet stuff.  He is just lucky as can be that his genes keep him as slender as he is with all the stuff he packs away.

It helps me to understand why we cannot have lots of bags of sweets in the house, or lots of packets of biscuits as if he knows they are there, he will get up during the night and clear the cupboards.  This behaviour has caused many arguments in the family with extended groundings, removal of privileges, promises of treats to leave them alone etc etc etc and NOTHING worked.  I was so in the dark that I thought my boy was just pushing the limits further than is acceptable.

Back to the story.   We have the teacher INFORMED that he is a sugar addict and that it is part of his condition.  Then the teacher leaves a bowl of sweeties on her desk to give to the children.  I can only guess at the reason for the sweeties, but I suspect they are an incentive for good behaviour.

Picture this.  An empty room with no adults around, and a group of boys who probably have little opportunity to make the grade for one of these revered sweeties help themselves to one and congratulate themselves on their cleverness at outwitting the adults.  One of the boys feels guilty, so dobs the rest of them in and says he didn’t pinch any “so I am told by my boy” .  He also tells me that the dobber in got off with it.

At this point, I am fighting the urge not to laugh as in the same situation, if I were a child in their shoes, I suspect that I would have helped myself to one of those sweeties too.  I am also irritated with the teacher for putting such temptation in the way of someone who has a sugar addiction and expecting them not to take one.   I am even more irritated with myself for expecting the teacher to even to remember that he has a sugar addiction.

I will not be carrying on this issue at home though I cannot tell my boy exactly what I think of it all.

They were warned – and my boy had to take the same punishment as the other boys who took a sweetie, but heaven above – why, why, why would you leave a bowl of sweeties on a desk in front of a class of kids.   It is utter madness.

What do you all think?

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School Trips and Gadgets – Opinions Please??

I am all for school trips and I think they are good for children, but there are times when I wonder if schools really have lost the plot.   They seem to think that pupils’ parents have a never ending pot of money to spend out.

I don’t mind the triple whammy of:

  1. cinema outings & shows
  2. museum and event trips
  3. sun cream
  4. uniform
  5. school shoes
  6. gym shoes
  7. gym kit
  8. book fairs (well I do, but that’s another story, more aimed at the people who organise and man the stalls)
  9. toy fairs (I might talk about that this week as well since it is relevant tomorrow)
  10. xmas present shelves
  11. xmas cards (sending a pack home your child has drawn and pretty much holding a gun to your head to buy them) 
  12. dinner lady white tickets you have to pay for, even if you gave your child a packed lunch that day.

 I can forgive almost all of those as ideas that might be appropriate, if they were dealt with slight modifications to how some of them are done at the moment.

My oldest was away with the school for 1 night in April.  It cost £85 and they had to be given £15 spending money.  

A couple of months later, they want another £300 for him to go for a 5 night residential sports outing.   On top of that, there will be spending money and lots of other clothes etc.

I can take my whole family away in the caravan for a fortnight for that price.  I have said no, that he is not going on the trip.    This now makes my son the odd one out, as it seems that out of a year of 70 odd primary children, he is the only one not going.  To top that off, he has also been given £5.00 to take home to start a car wash / baking initiative to help grow that fiver to take a little of the cost down for those who are going.  He has been included in it, even though he is not going.  He is asking the teacher if he is going to be allowed to keep anything above the £5 he earns since he is not going.

I am immensely proud of my boy for how he has taken not going away with his class.  My reasons are not purely monetary, as on the last trip away for the night, they put with two boys who are much more streetwise.   They proceeded to describe 18 horror films in-depth and I guess you can get the picture, along with the not doing anything your parents say as it’s “your life”.    He came home after one night away and it took us all about a month to recover and reset the boundaries.   I am not ready to go through that again. 

Then comes the news that the kids are all going to be issued IPad 2’s next year, which all parents will have to pay for on a monthly subscription.  Now understand, that all the kids have been told they are going to get these things, and nobody has asked the parents if they are willing to pay for it.   I have two children at that school, so that will be about £25 – 30 month they want me to pay (and have told my kids they will get).   My boys are coming home more and more excited at when it is all going to happen, and all I know is that I am going to be expected to find about £360 a year for something we hadn’t planned for.  

I have decided that the ipad2 are more important long-term, given the way the school plans using them than one week of activities.  I am budgeting for affording that, and our trips away which we need as a family with high needs children.

Logically I do know it is the right decision for us as a family, but why, oh why, do I feel so guilty for not letting him go on that trip?

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Nothing Happens at School

The events of the school day always amuse me.  In an average school day, nothing much seems to happen.  I know this for certain, because my children tell me so, each and every day that they come home from school.   You know how it goes.

Mum “Did anything nice happen at school today.”
Child “Nothing much.”

Mum ” Did you have gym, or language.
Child “I told you mum, nothing happened.”

Mum “So you went to school, you didn’t do any work, you didn’t see any friends, you didn’t eat any lunch, and you haven’t got any homework.”
Child “Haven’t I just told you that.”

This is one of the universal truths that I seem to come across with boys, and not just my boys.  I have heard of a few boys who do actually go home and tell their parents how the day goes, but in general, most of us parents of boys seem to get the same answer.  Girls on the other hand, seem to me, to tell their mothers what happens day to day and piece by piece. 

That got me to thinking back to whether I was like that as a child.   I made myself a coffee and sat down to relax.

“Did I always tell my mother nothing happened at school.” I asked myself.  “No” I convince myself, as my mother and I were ‘friends’.   And there we are.  I am as smug as a bug in a rug that I was right about the boy/girl divide in school nothingness.

Grandma was here at the end of the school day today, and as I brought the boys through the door, she puts on a great big smile.

“What happened at school today boys, come and tell me all about it.”  I hear this and think that there will be no reply to it.   I wait for a few seconds and I am not disappointed. 

“Nothing, nothing much, that’s boring,”  come the replies.

 This is repeated a few times and grandma throws her hands up in the air and exclaims.  ” They’re just like you were at that age, they never tell anyone anything.”  And with that, off she flounces to the kitchen to put the kettle on in exasperation.

My first thought was “wow, no wonder no-one tells her anything,” then I remember how I act when my boys walk in the door, and I realise that I do exactly the same when I get exactly the same answer. 

Like mother like daughter.  Who?  Me?  No.

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Umbrella’s at Dawn

I have been moved to blog about the growing band of mummies who stand at the school gates with brollies big enough to lose three people in.  I really, honestly and truly do not like brollies of any shape, size or colour (unless they are attached to a buggy and shading a little one’s eyes).  I really do not like them. 

People barge into you, spokes hit you on different parts of your head and body and you try to squeeze past on paths and pavements, and they rarely lift the spokes up to avoid hitting you.  Then there are the head turners, who suddenly hit you with the lower end of the brolly which is behind their head and leaning on their shoulders.

This morning, set the scene, I am trying to lead a very wet dog and three neighbours children though a rainy public path.    That is on top of the two children who belong to me.  We go single file to walk through the mummy chat zone, but I have a problem.  Mummies are lined up right along the path.  There is nowhere to walk, they are blocking the whole path.   There is a lot of noise on the walkway 6 feet up, and the rain is drowning out a lot of noise.  They are also shouting to each other to be heard.

Neighbours child no 3 asks politely if one “lady” will move, no luck.  She asks if another “lady” will move and gets swatted away as if she were a fly on her coat tails.   We can’t see any faces, as they are brandishing large umbrellas which are spoke to spoke as they chat selfishly.    The hackles are rising on the back of my neck as I call all the children back to behind me. 

Then I spot a car drawing up behind us on the road and move swiftly to the passenger door.  Inside is a well known other brolly hater.  I ask her if she has a lovely big brolly in her car, and to my amazement she has.   I leave her car, also with two of her children in tow.

Armed with the large green umbrella, I make my way back to the mummy brolly tent and shove my green one into the spokes of the other mummies brollies.  The onslaught brings a parting of the path, which allows me to get my forming brood through in one piece, and without this mummy getting someone else’s brolly spokes in her eyes.  I politely mutter sorry, sorry, sorry in passing while trying to keep a straight face.  Strangely none of them seems to mind this at all.  

All of which brings me to the absolute loating I have for umbrellas at school gates, or anywhere near a school, and why, for the safety of my eyes, I am going shopping this afternoon for my very own brolly tent.

if you can’t beat em, join em.