Posts Tagged ‘school

Well, that’s the hardest thing
That I’ve ever tried to do.
Was it my idea to bring
One child, or maybe two?

Let’s not forget the tot
Who kind of stole the day
…yes, smallest one, who’d got
To scream and shout, not play..

But then it helped to show
The plight that we are in
To prove home school’s no go
Like the last three months have been.

I think they got our point
(if they heard us past the screeching).
Which school they may appoint, though,
And who will do the teaching
Will now have been decided
(Though they haven’t told us yet –
We have to wait a week before
The likes of us can get
Any outcome to our pleas,
Whether good or whether bad.)

So with no guarantees
And the trying time we’ve had
We feel as if we’ve run for miles
– a marathon, or such.

Indeed, as they closed our files
I almost couldn’t clutch
Our toddler on my hip..
I felt so drained and raw
I could barely get a grip.
I felt I’d had the straw
That broke that camel’s back.

The moral of this fluff
(you should put this on a plaque)

Appeals are really tough.


My nerves are shot. Let’s hope we succeed today, for the sake of our sanity…


I have to say, I look with dread

Upon this Thursday hence.

Appeal day will be ahead

– We’ll need to make some sense.

For oldest one and middle child

– through no fault of their own –

We’ve had to get appeals filed

It makes me want to groan.


It seems we’ve moved into a place

Where schools are all so good

That even with a catchment ace

Right in our neighbourhood

Our kids a place there must forego…


According to admissions

“The class was full three years ago

You really ought to listen.

The other children got here first.

They come from miles away

And just ‘cos your position’s worse

Don’t mean that they should pay.”


That’s fine, we say, just put us in

the next school round the corner.

“Sorry ma’am, but with chagrin

I really must inform ya

That they’re full too. You’ll have to send

Your oldest one right here

The fact that it would then depend

on buses far and  near

is rather academic…. Look,

according to this table

It’s under three miles in my book

So you really should be able.


“There’s more! As if to play the fool,

The place for kiddie two

Will be at quite another school

More miles away from you.

It would be fine to take a car

Each school?  Ten minutes flat

Walking might be rather far..

we don’t consider that.”


Yes – that is why I heave a sigh,

anticipating terror…

How can we get our kids to school

And make them see their error?

Wish me luck you lovely folk…

I need all you can muster

To make them see it’s not a joke

And get through all the bluster.






It’s New Year’s day. Hooray! Hooray!

Is that what I want to say?
I’m not convinced that what I write
Is worthy of this festive night.
You see, in twenty-twelve so far
Our plans and expectations are
Challenging to say the least.

The house is proving quite a beast..
Our surveyor was quick to mutter
We MUST do something about the gutter.
Not to mention half the roofs..
They’re barely fit for reindeer hooves.
They were done in ‘seventy-three
And not touched since, it’s plain to see.

Then the electrician frowned,
‘We fixed the wiring near the ground
But really need to do what’s higher
Or your lights will cause a fire.
Your garage we must disconnect
Right now, or else you can expect
A friendly fireman or five
With sirens wailing in your drive.’

There’s other stuff that must be done
To help us make our home more fun.
But really there is so much more
That twenty-twelve must hold in store.

We still have all three kids at home
In spite of hours on the phone
Trying to get them in a school.
It seems that even moving will
Not get a place that we can walk to.
So we’re appealing because they ought to.

This is casting quite a blight
On coursework that I need to write.
If I don’t get it done quite fast
The final deadline will have passed.
With two young ones to educate
(While for our appeal we all wait)
I really can’t find time to think
Without which any work will stink.

There’s good news too, though, don’t despair:
Loved one and I can’t wait to share
A decade’s marriage to one another
(I couldn’t have a lovelier lover)
And so we plan to go away
And have a super holiday.

Well, twenty-twelve purports to be
A challenging kind of year for me.
But since it will also hold
A love that’s over ten years old
I do believe we’ll be okay…

At least as far as New Year’s Day!

Halloo dear readers. Look, a post! A real, live braindribbles post! Alas no pictures – I pressed that new button on the WordPress home page and it’s confused me a little. Can’t seem to ‘save draft’ while I hunt down the relevant pictures. Oh well.

So, to fill you in, we are in that interim period. We are out of Bedfordshire and in Buckinghamshire, just not in the new place quite yet.

My fabulous in-laws are putting us up in the meantime. Rental was a possibility but frighteningly expensive…monthly rental on a two-bed flat would have been almost twice as much as our old mortgage, which was a four-bed detached. Loved one persuaded me that it would be OK with the in-laws. He was right, from our perspective, though I do worry about their blood pressure with three children haring around the place.

Anyhow, whilst it’s nice and relaxing spending time with the in-laws, who are the sort who make life easier rather than harder – in both the physical and metaphorical sense – it’s still very odd actually living here. I can’t seem to establish a routine or get a sense of normal.

Of course, that’s not helped by the fact that the kids have no school as yet. There seem to be no free places in any schools around here at the moment. I’ve got to the point where I’m giving up trying, and muddling through a bit of home education till we get into the new place…at which point we make a real fight to get them into the local school. With claws out, if it comes to it. (I hope it doesn’t, mind you, but I suspect it probably will.)

My own studies, unsurprisingly, are suffering…but last week I found a great childminder to look after smallest one once or twice a week. So that should pick up again. That is, if I can persuade the older ones to get on with their workbooks in the local library without bothering me, anyway.

So it’s tricky.

Having said that, the in-laws live right in the country. The views, the sky at night, the peace and quiet, mother-in-law’s old-fashioned yet delicious home cooking every other night, the sense of outside space is all to die for. We’ll miss all of that when we move into semi-suburbia.

I won’t miss sharing a room with smallest one, though. She’s waking every time I turn in bed, wanting a cuddle.

Nor will I miss the sense of limbo. A little home security goes a long way.

And I Just. Can’t. Wait. to sleep in my own bed again…


A little postscript for my regular readers. Thanks for bearing with me for the weeks of no posting. Can’t promise another post all that soon, but don’t unsubscribe just yet! Things will return to normal, and positivity will eventually rule!

I couldn’t help but post a status update on Facebook when our offer was finally accepted (yes, the one I had already re-designed the kitchen for).  So it’s probably no longer a surprise to most of you.  But I have to admit, even though it could all go horribly wrong, it is wonderful to be out of property limbo at last.

It reminds me a little of when loved one proposed to me all those years ago.  He likened it – after the hankies had been handed out – to pressing the ‘go’ button on the wedding plan.  It all began, and didn’t stop till we were married.

And indeed, within an hour of the offer being accepted, I’d phoned the solicitor, emailed a couple of surveyors for quotes, ditto for the removal company, and by 9.30 this morning I’d arranged the mortgage application appointment and been contacted by all three schools within walking distance.  My ear is hot from having a phone surgically attached to my ear and my back aching from being hunched over the laptop emailing non-stop.

Unfortunately, all the local schools are full for the years that middle and oldest ones will be coming into.  We solved the rental issue, though.  For the two months or so, loved one’s darling parents have kindly agreed to have us stay with them. This will save us a couple of thousand pounds. It also puts us in the correct local authority for schools, although unfortunately it won’t get us into the right catchment.

I reckon what will swing the schools will be the attitude of the council officer in charge of our case. If they understand and they are on our side, they will find a way to make it work for us.

If they don’t, well, I might find myself fumbling around the world of home education until a suitable solution is found.  And, as was pointed out to me this morning, a couple of months’ break from the rigours of school life won’t ruin them.

To be honest, if we were trying to rent in a strange new place as well, the concept of home educating would just be too much, especialy when I have my own studies to consider. But anticipating the calming presence of my mother-in-law has made me feel it could be a possibility.

But only if absolutely necessary. Let’s hope the council come up trumps and magic me up a couple of school places.

Let me tell you about yesterday.  And be warned, this is a long post, so bear with me if you can.

After school, it was nice weather, so we stopped by the park and the kids played for a while.  I read the paper.

graur codrin /

After a while, I noticed my middle child standing still, with a certain look on her face.  A cross between distress, concentration and something else.

I know that look.  Intimately.

You see, middle child has been through the mill since starting school.  About the time she turned four, she had a distressing experience where, having recently conquered the potty properly (it took a while for her to get it), she needed to go when we were stuck in a traffic jam.

And after twenty distressing minutes for both her and us, since we were helpless to help her out, unsurprisingly she couldn’t hold on any longer.

After that point, we went on for nearly a year with on-and-off potty problems.  (I say potty, I mean toilet – I think of it as an affectionate term).  Not the most fun when your child is trying to get on with her first year at school.  Now, many, many, many children have potty issues in their first year at school.  It takes a while to tear oneself away from all those exciting distractions in the early years class.  But after six months of no visible improvement, with me pregnant and failing to keep calm about it, in spite of the school staff working with her to try to get to the toilet on time, we decided to seek medical advice on the recommendation of our health visitor.

Roll on another four months before we got an appointment, and a specialist paediatrician tells us that middle child has severe constipation.  (Forgive the intimate terminology here.  It’s going to get worse, so feel free to skip to the end if you prefer.)

When a child has severe constipation, it is usually because of any or all of the following reasons.  Firstly, the child tries to prevent themselves from going when they need to, causing a build-up in the back passage.  Secondly, the child is not drinking enough, which causes the stool to dry out and become hard, making it harder to pass the stool.  Both these reasons cause the child to lose sensation both front and back, meaning that they miss the signals you or I might usually get to warn us to go to the toilet.  There’s a third reason, which is too much or too little fibre, which is less of an issue in our household.  The doctor tells us it’s the first two reasons that’s causing middle child the problem.  Probably as a result of the distress from that incident in the traffic jam all that time ago.

Doctor’s recommendations are regular toileting (2 to 2 1/2 hours after each drink), and regular drinking, as well as some delightful medicine which ensures the stools stay soft.  To be enforced at school, and since you have a five-week-old baby perhaps you can get extra help at home?  Fat chance, I have no family near me, that’s why we want to move.  Anyhow I digress… We take on board what the doctor says, apart from the home help bit.

School are magnificent in the first term.  They help implement a star chart to ensure that middle child has enough to drink and goes to the loo at the right time.  We still have an accident every once in a while, but things have vastly improved.

Keattikorn /

We all heave a sigh of relief, and start to relax about the whole thing.  I stop keeping spare clothes in the car, and we stop doing the chart.

Big mistake.

The moment we stop doing the chart, school staff seem to think the problem no longer exists.  I remind the class teacher at parents evening and any other opportunity I get that we are not out of the woods, that middle child is still on medication, and that when she needs to go potty, she really needs to go.  Class teacher takes this on board and I for one am grateful.

Unfortunately class teacher is only there in the mornings and another teacher, who I believe is excellent at teaching, takes the class in the afternoons.  But…whilst excellent at teaching, she has her own ideas about when children should be allowed to go to the toilet.  I have repeatedly asked for middle child to be allowed to go whenever she needs to, but – at least according to middle child, and I can’t see why she would lie about this – every time she needs to go a second time in short succession – inevitably for a bowel movement, the afternoon teacher is not letting her go.  This is nearly a year since we saw the doctor, and six months since we stopped asking the school to complete a star chart.

twobee /

Back to yesterday afternoon.

That look on middle child’s face?  You’ve guessed it, something’s happened and she is stuck there trying to hold it in when it really needs to come out.  There are already marks in her pants from trying to hold it in at school when she was prevented from going to the toilet.

I am armed with a potty, and we get her on there immediately, but the pants have had it already and the trousers caught some of the brunt as well.  There’s nothing left for it but to wipe, wipe, wipe some more, stick my thankfully skinny middle child into one of smallest one’s nappies, go for a sarong look with a muslin and leave the park early.  I curse myself for not getting around to putting the spare clothes in the car.

Middle child is understandably upset.  Outwardly I am calm.  Inside, I’m as upset as her, especially when she explains that it’s because the afternoon teacher wouldn’t let her go to the toilet in class.  Again.  (About the fifth time in a fortnight.)  In fact, I am more than upset.   I am fuming.  How dare the teacher not let my child go to the toilet?  A denial of basic human rights, if I let my anger run away with me.

I understand that there are occasions when children pretend they need the toilet to make mischief, but after repeating myself till I am blue in the face I am sick, sick, sick of having to come back to the school and ask again that middle child be allowed to go whenever she needs.

I realised that being cryptic about which teacher wasn’t letting middle child go was not getting me anywhere.  The teacher concerned had clearly thought that my requests didn’t apply to her.  So this morning I go directly to the head teacher and say, please can you have a word with teacher X and get her to stop preventing my child from going to the toilet.  In as polite a tone as I can manage. After all, the head teacher hasn’t done anything wrong.  And I don’t feel I can talk to the teacher concerned without losing my temper.

Head teacher has a good diplomatic approach.  If anyone can get it across clearly without said teacher getting the hump, she can.   I really hope that the message does get through though.  I am getting fed up with this, and I can’t imagine how fed up middle child must be.  Toileting issues are humiliating at the best of times, let alone in the park with nowhere to hide.

I just feel that five-year-olds have enough to deal with without any extra problems.   (And thirty-six-year-old mums of three could do without the hassle, too, of course.)  Roll on the day when middle child doesn’t need to worry about this any longer.