It’s that time of year. The letters are coming in about Christmas concerts and the like. Only son is in a nativity play. “What costume do you need?” I asked, trying not to sound as if this was my main interest in the nativity play. “I think I’m going to be a vampire,” replied only son. I looked at the letter again. It outlined what seemed to be a traditional nativity event. Vampires did not feature heavily, or indeed at all. Only son has only dressed up once recently [apart from a stint in a nurse costume on which daughter three had to pin a badge which said “boy nurse” due to the fact that the costume was for girls and daughter two was giving him a hard time]. That was for Halloween and he was a very sweet vampire. Only son looked a bit crestfallen when I told him that I didn’t think he was going to be a vampire in the nativity play. “But I want to be scary,” he said. I am already looking forward to the event.
Daughter three is meanwhile doing a play on World War One where everyone ends up dying. It’s not the most upbeat Christmas message, but maybe appropriate in this day and age. Happily, she has got the part of narrator number 10 so no costume is required.
Secondary school appears to bypass Christmas or maybe it’s just that no-one tells me about it. If students do not inform their parents about events at secondary school it is as if they never existed. Daughter two was due to appear in the Christmas fair, but unfortunately her gymnastics incident has put paid to that. Instead she faces something much worse. Parents evening, although this may be very short since it is left to the students to arrange all the meetings for their parents. This is not the wisest decision on the schools’ part because daughter two can never remember to ask the teachers and so far has no-one lined up for us to see.
She says there is no need to worry as most of them “like” her, although she thinks some don’t know who she is. That would not apply to the chemistry teacher because daughter two is slightly melodramatic and apparently hurled herself on the floor when he did an experiment involving fire. It is also not likely to apply to the German teacher. Daughter two has trouble with spelling in English. The other night I caught her doing some German revision. “Test me, ” she said. I looked down the list. “Science,” I replied, looking at her from the corner of my eye. Science is Naturwissenschaften. She made a valiant attempt. I asked her to list her favourite subjects in German. Naturwissenschaften was not on the list. She mentioned drama, PE, art and music. What about the others, I inquired. “I don’t like ANY of the others,” she said. It’s not boding well for parents evening.
Daughter one, meanwhile, is way too cool for Yule. She has just finished her art assignment – tooth fairy wings made out of hangers, make-up applicators and papier-mâché. This turned into an epic family project with every member of the team around the table the night before the deadline writing tooth fairy letters, tea bagging them and generally glitter gluing everything in sight. I drove the wings into school just to be sure they had left the building, but word has filtered through to me that the art teacher, in her wisdom, is going to allow art projects to be taken home to be “finessed” over the next few weeks. Nooooooooo. Only son, whose school uniform is currently emblazoned with glitter glue, has his own wings on the go and has created some sort of notepad contraption out of wool and notepads which he insists on taking into school along with his school bag and what he calls his “homework box”. This is a toolbox containing his extra homework book, a glittery red book created by him so he can practise even more letters than are in his school books. He sits in the back of the car on the way to school writing everyone’s names on notepads and fixating on ‘q’s. If that boy doesn’t go on to be a writer or Countdown winner, it will be one mighty missed opportunity.