Only son is playing a lamb in the Christmas play, but he is looking a little bit like a lamb out of season at the moment. He came home the other day and disappeared into his room. He emerged 20 minutes later with no hair. I exaggerate, but he had cut off most of his luscious curly locks. Apparently some straight-haired girl – I have her name and address – had told him “nicely” that curly hair was not a good thing and, being a little person who wants to be liked, he had gone and cut all his curls off. His main concern is that the hair that remains is still pretty curly. Of course it is. All his hair is curly. I told him the long and painful tale of how I had had to have my hair curled every night by my mum to have lovely curls like his in order to play the ghost of Christmas Present when I was 10. Every night I went into school with bouncy curls only for them to drop straight out before I set foot on the stage. What I would have given to have naturally curly hair. Only son had no idea what I was talking about.
His sisters were all up in arms, including daughter two who chopped off her entire fringe aged four and a half and had to go round in a hairband for months. This is clearly a dangerous age for would-be hairdressers.
Only son was a bit reluctant to go back to school the following day. He wasn’t the only one. Daughter one had got up and dallied a bit too long on breakfast, leading to a five-minute delay in getting dressed. Daughter one is incapable, in the morning, of catching up on lost time. She simply finds it impossible to get dressed fast whereas I have got getting dressed down to 15 seconds tops. I have tried getting dressed races over the years, but I fear they may have had the opposite effect on her. She likes to take her time and goes off down unuseful detours, like playing her guitar or interrogating only son about his hair-do. She then accuses me of being overstressed if I keep informing her of the time and the fact that once you miss the bus that’s it. There is no other bus. You basically have to walk to school and it’s a good 20-minute drive [I’ve got it down to 18.5 minutes on occasion with a good following wind and no tractors on the road].
I feel a lot of my life is spent getting people out of the door on time. How simple it was in the days of yore when I had only myself to get ready and I could skip out the door 10 minutes after getting up. Daughter one questions the very notion of time. She says it is manufactured to give structure to our pointless lives. While I am sympathetic, I do not find it particularly helpful at 7.35am to ponder the meaning of life. Not when I have to check emails, get packed lunches ready, get nativity costumes together, cheerlead people into eating breakfast, do my lucky sweep of the floor, sign up for the Christmas raffle and dump a load of washing in the machine courtesy of only son who does not appear to be making any tangible progress on “dry nights”. I think he has not had more than five dry nights since he waved goodbye to nappies about a year ago. My partner thinks it would be a psychological backwards move to return to nappies so we continue with the pretence that he is making progress while the evidence of daily washed sheets waft all around us.
Only son is in for a treat later in December though. I have just booked his first eye test. All the others have regular check-ups. When told that only son is just four, the man at Vision Express said: “Is he able to recognise numbers and letters?” Is he able? He does nothing else all day long. He will be in his absolute element in the eye test. We may not be able to drag him out of there. I only hope Vision Express is ready.