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Just Dance 2014 has arrived. Every day I come downstairs to a veritable disco – arms flying, hair bouncing and general excitement, sometimes from all four children, but mainly from one in particular. Only son screamed with joy when the postman delivered the disc. “This is literally the BEST day ever,” he shouted.
He has to be torn away from the thing and forced to go out, but even when I am holding his hand on the way to the supermarket I can feel him doing disco movements. He is a boy obsessed. I think he needs to go back to school in order to think about transport or castles or whatever this term’s theme is. Fingers crossed that it’s not 1970s’s disco songs. Only son has perfected “I will survive” and gone golden, whatever that means, beating all his sisters hands down.
“He should go on Britain’s Got Talent,” said one of his sisters. “I couldn’t go on Britain’s Got Talent,” said a downcast daughter three. “I have no talent.” “You what???” said I. “What about planning and campaigning? Those are actually useful talents. Without organisation where would we all be? Disorganised, that’s what. Without campaigners, we’d all be much worse off. Talent is not just about singing and dancing.” There then followed a lengthy treatise on how singing and dancing are about expressing yourself, not some sort of endless competition, with reference to Giraffes Can’t Dance, one of my all-time favourite children’s book [the last line goes something like “we all can dance when we find music that we love”]. No-one was listening.
“Have you done 3D junk food landscape yet?” I inquired of daughter one for the 100th time. It is part of the GCSE art syllabus which I feel will never end – she has been planning 3D junk food landscape since around November. “It’s changed, mum. It’s no longer 3D because I’m doing it as a painting,” came the laconic reply. “”When is the deadline?” I asked. “Some time soon,” she said. She has been revising all holidays and doing an elaborate and rather perfect sketch of birds, but she still has two other art pieces to finish and I’m thinking that soon deadline is imminent, given the exams start in May. I know I should just leave her to it, but I can see an all-night, high-stressed last minute 2D junk food landscape session coming up very soon, plus multiple emails from her teacher.
No-one is looking forward to going back to school. On Friday night an email came from primary school saying daughter three was requested for a netball match on Tuesday. There is no transport. Parents are requested to take their children at 3pm and pick them up promptly at 4.15pm. Typically, there is no mention of parents who might work, have multiple children to pick up and might not have a massive back-up team and it is, of course, all done at the last minute. I wrote a note saying daughter three would not be taking part for precisely these reasons. It takes extra planning on top of an already highly logistically difficult week and I am tired of planning. I am considering delegating all planning to daughter three.
Only son is a bit worried about going back to school. One of his classmates left last term. “I hope my best friend x doesn’t leave. I would be so sad,” he said. I fear only son is about to enter the death stage where he worries that everyone near to him is going to die. It usually seems to occur at around five or six. With daughter one, I had a long chat about when I was going to die and how she would find me if she died after me because she didn’t know my phone number off by heart. It didn’t go to plan, ending with what appeared to be a death pact between us. I fear only son is not going to take the talk well. He has become very mum-centred over the last few months and even complimented me on my “smart pyjamas” on Sunday. For now, though, he’s more focused on dance routines and the positivity of disco. In disco land, it’s all about survival.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.