Thursday, August 23, 2007

Parenting on the run

How did I end up at the 7-11 at 9.30am today, buying two enormous packets of Doritos corn chips and salsa, lugging a bulky Mexican soccer bag? Sporting greasy, dishevelled hair, a sweaty tracksuit and a wild-eyed look.

Rewind to 8.58am.

Feeling pleased with myself for pulling into the bikesheds just in time this morning, despite a shaky start. A little puffed and a lot sticky from having jogged alongside F's brand new bike to school this morning. I never jog.


F looks at the boy in the English soccer shirt and the girl in a sari parking their scooters next to us. And wails.

'Oh NO. It's World Celebration Day! I'm supposed to have brought food.'
'And dressed up?'

We emerge from the bikesheds to be greeted by an excited rabble of (North American) Indian squaws, (Indian) Indian maidens, Aussie stockmen, satin Chinese shirts and vaguely ethnic-looking scarves. The whole school is dressed up, it seems.

F looks as if he's been punched. I feel as if I've been punched. I had no idea. How? How stupid am I?

'I'll go home and get you an outfit' I say. 'And some food. I'll get your poncho, shall I?'
'Yes! And mum, can you make burritos?'

I feel my whole day slipping away.
'When are you eating?'


I ask the teacher. They are eating 'whenver'. Which means that burritos or any kind of hot food is - thank god! - not a good idea.

Parents cluster at the door of the classroom with cameras and wide smiles. A mother I like stands nearby, a friend, with a wooden elephant and a tupperware container. Her son is dressed in clothes he brought back from a recent holiday in Thailand. It's the same mother who gave F's hair a squirt with pink hairspray when I forgot about Crazy Hair Day a few weeks ago.

She can't help me now though.

'Can we come to the hall?' asks a parent.
'I don't see why not' says the teacher.
'The hall? What are they doing in the hall?' I panic, sensing this whole occassion I didn't know about grow bigger and more signmificant by the minute.
'Parading their costumes.'
'In ten minutes.'

The teacher looks pointedly at F, in his school uniform.

I rave under my breath on the 20 minute walk home. How could I have not known? I am stupid. How could F not have remembered? It must be his Asperger's. Why didn't the teacher tell me yesterday when I was in class listening to kids read? Because she thought I was a good parent, or at least a comptetent parent, and would know already. There must have been a notice.


At home, I turn F's room inside out looking for the poncho that The Husband brought back from Mexico. It is nowhere. But I am reminded that F's room is a pigsty.

I call the Husband, after searching the shed and the hall cupboards. He knows where it is. What's more, he remembers seeing the notice about World Celebration Day in F's bag on a day that he picked him up from school and his father came to collect him soon after. IT'S NOT MY FAULT! I never DID get a notice! I am unreasonably overjoyed, though it doesn't help F, of course.

I find the poncho, the capacious straw hat I bought on the beach in Melaque, the jaguar necklace that The Husband brought F from the southern Mexican jungles, and a pair of maracas we bought in a market in Guadalajara. I put them all, with his Mexico soccer t-shirt, in the soccer bag I carried all my gatherings from my travels in and lugged all over the US.


I check for my purse and bowl out the front door.


And that's how I end up at the 7-11 buying enormous bags of chips as if my life depended on it.


Eleanor Bloom said...

Awesome! Well bloody done!

I knew there was good a reason for ponchos...

Milly Moo said...

I agree with Eleanor!

Anonymous said...

Jogging! I am impressed. Next thing you will tell me that you have continued to have a hit of tennis in the park.

Glad to see things are so back to normal. I love the writing style.

Love D

killerrabbit said...

You are a delightful mother, and I hope that the mexican themed outfit and food went down a treat. No tengo miedo al chile, aunque lo vea colorado.

redcap said...

Oh, you poor thing! That's cruel and unusual punishment! But I must say that you pulled through like a bloody champion.

genevieve said...

He's a lucky boy, sounds like a terrific outfit. Sombreros are to die for, y'know.
All us parents have been there, you are not alone :)

Ms Batville said...

I remember doing something similar to my Mum as a nipper. Now I buy her expensive and lovely birthday gifts. Hold out for those!!!

Ann O'Dyne said...

Bravo Jabberwocky!
and Commendation to Ms Batville too.

Those bloody NOTICES.

I was told about 'Roman Day' the night before the dawn of it.

Is it a constant battle between teachers and mothers? WTF.

There wasn't any of that crap when i went to school back in The Dark Ages.
just Hitting and Spelling and Sitting Quietly. all of the now-dead arts.

Ann O'Dyne said...

PS - were there any children in Nepalese holiday souvenirs and bearing rancid yak fat?

Helen said...

If it makes you feel any better, that happens to me all the time... Last month I missed the pre-VCE parents interview. OUCH. I am the worst mother, as a bad mother you don't even rate! Ner-ner!

Ariel said...

Yeah, I managed to (just) save my parenting ass ...

KR, I may have spent 5 weeks in Mexico this year, but your Spanish is SO much better than mine.

He did look rather marvellous, I must say. (In the end!)

Ann, I think there is a constant battle between parents and teachers - or between parents and themselves in my case (I had a crap memory and attention to details as a kid and I still do, despite being a grown-up). ANd no, no Nepalese yak fat.

Helen, that does make me feel better. (You too, Genevieve and Ann). But I have had much worse Bad Mother days, I'm afraid. Like going o/s without him for 7 weeks ...

genevieve said...

I would go overseas like a shot if someone would only fork out the moolah. Ireland. Or Paris. As the lady said, "I don't want much, I just want more."