mumsnetBack along, my family and I swapped a house for a three-acre field in Devon and a leaky caravan where we lived off-grid for two years. Sadly, we failed to get the planning permission we needed to stay. We are now back within four walls, with a proper loo and everything in a cottage in Dartmoor. So this is now a blog about living ethically amid a fabulous landscape with our home educated kids while we adjust to being 'normal' - for a while... and what we plan to do with our land next

Sunday, 15 July 2012

School of fraught

My nine-year-old daughter had her first day at school last week.

This was, and remains, her choice – I was happy to home educate to the end, but she wants to give school a go and so off she went for a taster day, attired in white and grey with an enormous bag on her back containing a solitary apple.

It was, by no means, the first day she has spent away from home – but it was the only time she has been away where I have felt her absence so keenly, I suppose because it was a presentiment of the future.

My little girl is sparky and bright and in many ways my chief companion in the family, we can actually have a real conversation about books or music – if I appear a little down in the dumps, she will notice, if I ask for help, she is the one who jumps up.

My boys, by contrast, tend to occupy their own planet. A friend once observed that boys broadly fall into two categories – William Browns or Hubert Lanes – and my two are definitely Williams. They are fabulous, inventive, outrageous and funny, but with the emotional range of a frog.

So, the morning dragged by very slowly without my chatty little friend. About midday, Matty looked up from his Lego a vague thought having surfaced. 'Where's Zena?' he asked.

'She's at school, dear,' I replied with exaggerated patience.

He digested this apparent news silently for a while, then his face lit up with enthusiasm. 'Do you think,' he said 'that a little boy has crawled underneath her desk and tied her shoelaces together yet?' At this happy thought the entire male contingent of the family roared with laughter, this observation evidently being extremely hilarious.

Dinosaurs - overrated.
Time dragged by. I answered many, many questions on comparative sizes of various dinosaurs with a cat, our caravan, a blue whale, the moon and the planet Jupiter. I confirmed over and again that if our dog was eaten by a dinosaur or a shark or a lion that yes she would die and no, there, wouldn't be much left and yes, it is possible that one, all or none of the above would spit out her rectum like the cats do with mice bottoms.

I sought refuge tidying the trailer. At some point the boys appeared and left armed with teddies. I looked out of the window, they had lined them up and were shooting them with Nerf guns.

I made myself a nice cup of tea and sat down to enjoy it in peace only to notice that Matty was pulling savagely at the skin on his chest. 'What are you doing?' I asked irritably. He gave me a beaming, gap-toothed smile. 'I'm trying to see if I can pull my nipples off, Mumsies,' he said casually.

I leapt up and headed for the door. 'I'm going to pick up Zena,' I said 'and I don't care if school doesn't finish for another hour.'

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes. That boy-girl stuff all sounds rather too familiar.

    Despite my initial gender-neutrality optimism of first time parenting, I've realised after having two more that no matter how hard you try to shape the small beings around you, the whole "nature" - "nurture" thing is most definitely biased towards "nature".