It's the first day at school for thousands of children today. A day of excitement, fears, maybe a tear or two. And that's just the parents...
Young Faris joined pre-school
play group today. He had the red jumper, the book bag and the labelled drink to prove it. His mother, the Middle of the Darling Daughters, was forced to bring her ironing board out of solitary confinement in order to iron name tapes onto his clothes. I don't
remember there being iron-on labels back in the day when My Foursome were at school. I do, however, remember ordering labels from a company called Cash's (are they still a going concern?) and thinking myself very clever for ordering labels reading "Anne Ball
Hilary" so that they could be used by two daughters. It was all about the folding, don't you know?
Our Rascal wasn't as keen on his book bag as we thought he'd be but his mum had a novel answer: she put two
pairs of socks in it which made all the difference apparently. Whoever knows what goes on inside the head of a two year old Rascal? The nursery staff must have wondered what his mother was about when they found the socks tucked inside the book bag - but I
dare say they have seen their fair share of strange parental ploys. We were all keen to know how The Rascal fared on his very first day and were pleased to hear that he waltzed in with hardly a second glance. If there is one thing Young Faris doesn't lack
it's sunny confidence.
I wanted to go to school so very much when I was a littl'un. It never seemed fair to me that I had to wait until I was a full five years old. Nowadays I'd have been allowed to become
a school-girl long before I reached that age. How times change!
I have related the story of my own first day at school before on the Daily Blog - but hopefully you will excuse the re-telling. I do have my
reasons. Given that I was so delighted to be finally allowed to go to school, I was amazed to be surrounded by crying children, all in despair at leaving the safety of their mothers' arms. There I sat, alone in my equanimity, modelling misshapen people out
of plasticine which was a dirty purple in colour (the result of being a mixture of every possible colour of plasticine imaginable) and wondering what everybody was so upset about.
My feelings of well-being
were slightly dented when Miss Chisnall, she of the large mole on her prominent chin from which three stubbly hairs sprouted stubbornly, came round with a cane waste paper basket in which she collected our lunchtime treats. My dear Mum had given me a chocolate
bar, a really small one but to me, who had never had a whole bar of chocolate to myself ever before, it was the Treat of Treats. I simply could not understand why I was being asked to throw it away. Miss Chisnall, however, was A Force To Be Reckoned With.
My children, who have heard this story rather too many times, have always asked if I was given back my chocolate bar at break time - but I rather think not. As far as I was concerned it was Gone For Ever, consigned to
the rubbish bin.
I can't see Young Faris putting up with such treatment. As his key worker told his mother when she (plus his Dad and The Twinkles - it was a real Family Outing) collected Our Rascal: "He certainly
knows what he wants, doesn't he?" That is most certainly true. From a very young age he has had the habit of grabbing hold of whatever has attracted his attention - a toy car, a torch, my "Slow Cookers" book - and refusing to let it go. Many are the delicate
negotiations his poor mother has had to conduct with the owners of his latest Object of Choice.
He would never, ever have handed over a treasured chocolate bar. He would have held on tight, brow furrowed,
eyes narrowed as he watched Miss Chisnall's approach, the waste paper basket held before her. He would have given her The Look.
Miss Chisnall, I think it fair to say, would have Met Her Match.