Red Bus Morning


(Sarah Hague) #1










There was no one like this at my son's school carnival, theme - 'Planets'...





This morning was one of those red bus mornings. You know the sort, you do nothing on a Saturday morning for weeks and then you have two important activities happening at exactly the same time one for one child the other for the other. When you are a single parent it's handy if you have the capacity to be in two places simultaneously. Unfortunately, I don't know of one who can split her/himself in two and hop off in opposite directions.



The result is, usually, a bit of a mess what with having to prioritise and thereby offending one child as being less important than the other. I can foresee my youngest spending hours on a shrink's couch coming to terms with being placed second on the day he had his carnival.



Actually, that's an exaggeration because he told me earlier in the week that if he could possibly get out of it he would, but he was the letter E so duty called. Dedication to the cause no, not letting the side down yes. That's my boy!



The E of Venus - this year, the primary school carnival theme was the planets. Last weekend I was rushing around trying to dye white socks orange in a puddle of paprika and chilli powder. They both look pretty orange in the jar, don't they? Well, a word to the wise, they don't dye orange, they transform (somewhat grubby) whitish socks into even muddier dirty-looking socks. They came out looking exactly the same as they would if they'd spent the day running around the ochre earth at the Lac Salagou.



I ended up throwing them out and going on a hunt for orange socks in the local commerces. It took 4 shops - orange is not in fashion at the moment and they had to be boys' socks, not girly ones with frills and rosebuds. Eventually I found one pair in a pack of six mixed styles so spent €6.99 to get one pair of sodding orange socks. Which, I might add, spent the morning coyly hidden beneath my son's black trousers, so he could have gone in fluorescent pink ones for all that they were seen!



Today was also the open day at the local lycée. My eldest is 14 and will be 15 in September. Asking him what he wants to be when he grows up elicits the sort of ado grunt so familiar with parents of ados: "Eh, dunno". So it seemed wildly optimistic to envisage attending this open day where details on what courses to follow for what career were available together with representatives of various jobs.



Still, being a dedicated mummy, I dragged my reluctant son to see what was cookin' and at least visit the lycée a bit. The last time he'd been there was to join in the demonstrations against I can't remember what last term. He and half the school bunked off for the day to express their unformed opinions.



First problem was finding somewhere to park. The place was heaving, which also meant crowds of people. I don't like crowds especially when I'm trying to obtain information about something important, such as my son's future... We found a nice illegal spot on the roundabout and joined everyone else by bumping up the kerb.



When we reached the school, we found it very busy, with buildings signposted for various zones of information. My son was no more the wiser as to his aspirations than when he'd left home so we looked a pretty aimless pair. A nice girl then asked us where we wanted to go, so my son, for want of anything else, said SES, and she kindly escorted us to the correct building and room where it was all happening for SES. It turned out that he didn't even know what it was, and when he found out, wasn't any more interested, so we plodded back, past rooms for future doctors, social workers, engineers, the military and so on having a vague discussion along the lines of

Me: "Well, what Bac do you want to do?"

Him: "S" (science)

Me: "But you all start off doing a Bac General, don't you, and then choose specifically at Second?"

Him: "Yes, plenty of time to choose, let's go?"



And that was that. Forty-five minutes of my life I won't be getting back at the expense of my youngest's feelings of self-worth for me not turning up until just after he'd finished being the E in Venus in hidden orange socks.



I know he was the E because I'd sewn a big paper orange E onto his jacket back this morning roughly 5 minutes before he was due to be at the school. I'd also had to attach orange fronds to each shoulder and all before breakfast!



When I finally got to the school, his class had just finished (natch) and other peoples' children were wafting about being some other planet (didn't catch which one and couldn't work it out...). I've watched this sort of school event for years now, and, to be frank, I find them deadly. My youngest reckons the last one he enjoyed was in CP four years ago. He's managed to escape the really stupid costumes though. This year, at least he was all in black with a couple of orange fronds. Others were in tie-dye pink tee-shirts with silver bits coming out of their heads (not sure who they were representing either).



So, come the end and the throwing of ecologically unsound confetti on an occasion that was promoting saving the planet... my youngest had done his bit and didn't want to hang around further. That suited me fine, so we left, without buying any of the tasty goodies on sale. A shame, but I'm skint, so I leave that to those who aren't. I could have spent the €6.99 I'd spent on those useless socks of course...