The school reports came out today. I thought I might write a post on them. I wasn’t sure, I don’t want to come across as a show-offy mummy. But I’m writing one. And it’s not the post I might have written.
The school reports always cause all sorts of snatching and grabbing and shouting as they all try to read their own and each other’s as soon as they get out of school. This year I decided we would do it differently. No-one, including me, was to open the reports until we got home. And no-one was going to be breathing down my neck and pushing in and grabbing as I tried to read them. The reports are addressed to me, so I would sit down on my own and read them on my own.
I went into the dining room and sat down with the three envelopes. Which to read first? Not wanting to show any sort of bias, I decided to read them in order starting with my eldest.
I opened the report and I started to cry. I cried because it was a good report. I cried because it’s the last report I’m going to get for him from primary school and he’s only got another five days there. And I cried because, with a list of jobs as long as my arm to do – presents to buy, letters to fill in for school, Cubs and Scouts, food to buy, washing to sort, childcare for the holidays to arrange etc etc – the only thing I’d achieved today was to crash my car.
I went running in the morning, training for my half-marathon and, yes, I probably spent too long on Twitter when I got back. I had parcels which needed posting for ebay and I had a school governors’ meeting at 1. It was already 12 when I set off for the post office. The post office car park is the Tesco car park and it’s ALWAYS busy. Busy car parks stress me out. They make me drive badly. Having a long jobs list and potentially being late for a school governors’ meeting stresses me out. I saw a parking space, I turned right and I went for it.
But I didn’t get there. There was an almighty crunch and somehow I’d knocked over the sign post pointing out the parent and toddler and disabled parking spaces. I carried on parking, inspected the damage (minimal), picked up my hub cap off the ground and went into the store to report what I’d done. They were very good about it and didn’t even take my details. So, slightly shaken, I carried on to the post office.
Time was ticking and there was a big queue. It was 12.30 by the time I got back in my car and I still hadn’t had any lunch. And, believe me, when you’ve run eight miles, you really need your lunch. I started the car and it felt a bit weird. I drove across the car park. Something was badly wrong. My tyre was as flat as a pancake. I hope that’s all that’s wrong. So I parked up and rang my mum and dad for a lift.
It was 12.50 when I got home. I was so hungry, but so shaken by what I’d done to my car and by thinking I was late for governors’ that I could barely eat anyway.
During the governors’ meeting I focused on something other than my car and the shopping and hoovering I hadn’t done and the fact that I haven’t got a tumble drier and I haven’t bought my son’s uniform for his new school or got any make-up for my dance show at the weekend and I don’t even know my dances anyway and my son still hasn’t written his birthday thank you letters. But I got home, opened those reports, and it all flooded back.
The reports were brilliant and I was truly overwhelmed. By them and the crap day I’d had and the manic few days I’ve got coming up.
My eldest, the least academically able of the three of them, has got his KS2 SATS results – level 5 for maths and science and level 4 for English. I am very proud of him. He got A1 for most things and his teacher had written lovely comments about him.
My younger son, who’s in Year 3, is off-the-scale clever. He can work stuff out far quicker and read with more understanding and fluency than his pretty bright Year 6 brother. He got A1 across the board. Even for the minority subjects. He always gets it for the main ones, but not usually for Art, RE or even PE. I’m so proud that he still tries so hard, even though he is naturally gifted and things come so easily to him. He’s even got 100% attendance for the year! It was a perfect report.
My daughter’s was excellent – A1 for the main subjects, but some Bs and 2s for things like geography and history, which doesn’t bother me – she’s only in Year 1 for goodness sake. I disagreed with the 2s for art and PE though, because she’s brilliant at both. I didn’t say anything to her about it.
Whether she felt my fragile emotional state, I don’t know, but she took one look at that report and she burst into tears. She’d got Bs! And 2s! Why hadn’t she got all A1s? She will tell you (and she’s right) that she’s the ‘second cleverest person’ in the class. I explained how she’d got A1 where it really mattered, but all she saw was the Bs for RE and history – and her brother’s perfect report. I tried to explain to her that her brother is something else, something unique, not just the cleverest person in the class, but way beyond that. But that wasn’t good enough.
So we dug out his old reports with the Bs and the 2s for art and PE. And still she cried.
Then my eldest had a strop. Why had he got a 2 for PE? Well, to be honest that’s probably accurate. ‘But it means I’m average!’ Telling him that, actually, he is average at PE didn’t go down well.
I wanted to reward them for their reports and, feeling an emotional wreck, I didn’t want to cook the tea. I would take them to McDonalds.
And then I realised. I didn’t even have a bloody car!