Today was the first day at school for The Twinkles. A milestone moment, marked by plenty of photos taken by their proud Mamma (the Middle of the Darling Daughters) as they ran, hopped, skipped, and jumped their way to
Hook Infant School where they were to join the ranks of Ladybird Class. This first day seems to have been a long time coming, as the school has adopted the practice of staggering the new intake, presumably in order to give the littlest ones, the summer born
babes, more time and space to adapt to the New Way of Things. Tala and Lilia, therefore, have been straining like little horses (or maybe unicorns?) at the start of a race for the Big Day.
Their teacher already has an inkling what to expect from the feisty, fearless, funny duo. Last week she was due to call round to the house to meet them and find out more about her new pupils. Both girls had prepared a bag full of their
Favourite Things to talk about and were primed and ready at the front window awaiting her arrival. Unfortunately “Miss” was a little late and, a four year old’s concentration being what it is, both girls eventually gave up waiting and repaired
upstairs to their bedroom.
The teacher duly arrived and my daughter called upstairs (probably in her best Joyce Grenfell voice - though I wasn’t there so
I’m just guessing) to the twins to come down and meet their teacher.
“Noooo!” came the anguished yell from aloft, “We’re PLAYING!”
The teacher’s reaction has not been recorded.
Today, however, the twins were ready for anything. And I mean anything. It wasn’t just the smart uniform,
the bright blue book bags or even the special Ladybird hair clips holding in check, for the time being at any rate, their wayward locks. Their mother had thoughtfully drawn on the palm of each girl’s hand a small red heart - a “hug button.”
If at any point during the day they felt a bit lost or lonely or missing their mother, all they needed to do was to press the hug button to immediately feel better. Such a very beautiful idea that is!
It reminded me of my own schooldays and the terror I felt each and every Monday morning. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to go to school - I loved everything about school except for Monday mornings. That was when
our form teacher asked us to work out, in our heads, the total dinner money she had collected at 4 shillings and ninepence a week times the number of my classmates staying to dinner that week. I dreaded this mental arithmetic test so much that one week I had
the idea of hiding one of my mother’s gloves in my pocket so that I could touch it and feel comforted.
It seemed to work - until I made the mistake of confiding
in my mother who was not at all happy about it. It would be better, she said (retrieving her glove - I expect she had been missing it) if I said a little prayer before the Dread Sum was announced. I am ashamed to admit to my church-going friends that my seven
year old self didn’t rate the Power of Prayer above the Magic of my Mother’s Mitt.
It’s the same principle, I suppose, but the hug button seems
a much better idea than secreting your mother’s glove in your pocket. Did she also have one, I asked my daughter and she confessed that she most certainly did. So struck was I with the idea that I told my hairdresser, the Lovely Rachel all about it and
she almost cried at the thought and said she was going to give her little daughter a hug button tomorrow and was sure it would make all the difference. I really hope it does...
At the time of writing I have yet to find out whether either Tala or Lilia, or both, had to resort to pushing the hug button at any time during this, their very first day as school-girls. Knowing them as I do, I rather doubt it.
Their mother, however, certainly pushed hers more than once...