Friday, 8 June 2007

It's Cosmic, Man

I am being driven to the end of my extremely short tether by the amount of school paraphernalia my kids have lost recently. They now have a record of ‘disappearances’ that would put a military dictatorship to shame. The list includes a pair of trainers, two cardigans, two pairs of football socks, a waterproof jacket, P.E. shorts and vest, 3 pairs of swimming goggles, and two pencil cases.

When I was young, my school uniform was treated with the sort of reverence that is given to a priest’s ceremonial robes. Each item was supposed to last for about three years, regardless of how quickly I was growing. As a result, in some school photos, my uniform is so short and tight that I look like I am dressed for one of those adult ‘School Disco’ nights.

Losing an item of uniform not only incurred the considerable wrath of my mother, but it also meant that I had to wait for the next three year buying period before it was replaced. Some children love to flout the restrictions of school uniform, but as a card-carrying conformist, such unintentional rebellion caused me endless anxiety. I vowed, therefore, that if I ever had children, I would calmly accept that sometimes they just lose things, and then quietly get a replacement.

So where did it all go wrong?

This morning, my daughter was as unconcerned as ever about the mysterious and repeated disappearance of her school cardigan. I tried to explain why it was important to find it, but there wasn’t even a flicker of acceptance of any personal responsibility. I started on the gentle interrogation, but this appeared to have no effect either. By the time we were at the school gates, I had gone completely over the top, and was dispensing acrimonious threats. Her bright optimism about the cardigan’s prodigal return had now evaporated completely, and as she turned to go into school, her little face was pale with misery. Walking away, I tried to justify to myself that she needed to learn some accountability, but needless to say, I felt like a complete sadist for the rest of the day.

This afternoon, when I picked her up from school, the detox period away from her mother’s verbal venom had worked a treat, and she was her usual ebullient self – and still without her cardigan. With uncharacteristic restraint, I pretended not to notice, choosing to seethe inwardly instead.

Now that they are all in bed, the chance to wash away the lingering taste of vitriol comes in the form of an Ackerman Laurence Sparking Saumur (£5.99 Ocado).

Friday night is always Cheap Fizz night chez Drunk Mummy, and I really wanted to like this, as an alternative to my beloved prosecco. But although it is light and yeasty, it doesn’t have a great finish – a bit like that sensation when you have just missed out on a sneeze, or an orgasm (delete as appropriate, depending on your sex life, or your hayfever symptoms).

It seems that I will either have to believe in the existence of a ‘school uniform black hole’ somewhere in the cosmos that is sucking these items in, with apparently no hope of their return, or resign myself to another ten years of shrewish scolding.

Strangely enough, the more I have of this Saumur, the more I am starting to feel an affinity with the theories of Professor Stephen Hawking. If I finish the bottle, I may need to borrow the great man's wheelchair.


Elsie Button said...

i just don't understand this whole clothing thing. we constantly get parents coming in to school to say that their child has lost an item of clothing, but at the same time our lost property box is bursting at the seams with (expensive/amazing) stuff that nobody seems to want or reclaim.

mutterings and meanderings said...

I favour the 'hole in time' theory (it's one I made up many years ago) about a hole in time that eats belongigs but does not have the capability to digest, therefore it spits things out again after a time lapse. The items are always in places you know you have already looked ...

Stay at home dad said...

I used to think there was nothing better than a bottle of Ackerman or Pinot di Pinot, but I agree with you now: it's only Prosecco or Champagne that does it.

Still, on the bright side, Paris Hilton has been sent back to prison...

Akelamalu said...

Mine were exactly the same and I know, from working in a school, that the kids never ever check lost property for their stuff. Once missing they just kiss it goodbye. 2/3 times a year we put all lost property on trestle tables in the main hall to be reclaimed and it never is! You could always go and have a look yourself?


The Grocer said...

Go to the Summer Fair, I'm convinced some unscrupulous schools are half inching the items to re-sell to prospective parents at the school fair. Don't get me wrong it might just be the odd teacher who wants some extra drinking money, oh, mm, er, forget I mentioned that.

Omega Mum said...

If they don't care, why should you. And they won't ever be card carrying conformists. For a start, the card would be the first thing to get lost, right?

dulwichmum said...

I love your description of the sparkling Saumur - OHMYGOD! You are a scream.

Lets go drinking please?

debio said...

I used to get into so much trouble for my interpretation of school uniform - skirt too short, heels too high etc. Having disclosed this to my daughter she has developed the most cavalier attitude to her stuff - actually losing a pullover on the first day of wearing.
There is a huge graveyard in the sky, bulging with uniform items and school kit....

rilly super said...

drunkmummy, Douglas Adams posited that there is a planet where all the biros end up so perhaps the previously mooted extra-terrestrial theory is not so far from the truth.

However, I may be able to help. Now that my children have to slum it at ( and don't tell any of my London friends for gawd's sake) the local (state) school I have some rather super stripey blazers from their old (proper) school which I can forward to you if you like. They will certainly make your children stand out at school so I shall start wrapping them up straight way, and your girls can use the elastic bands I shall use on the packaging to make pig tails too, to go with the blazers

beta mum said...

It drives me mad, this cavalier attitude to school uniforms, toys, everything.
This morning I didn't let Ben wear a jumper because he's had one in his tray at school for a week now.
I told him he had to bring it home before he could take another one.
Is that mean?

DJ Kirkby said...

I had only just wiped the tears of laughter from my face, spatters of tea from my desk and composed myself when I made the mistake of reading your last sentance and collapsed in hysterics again! Very enjoyable read, though I epxect it has given my neighbors reason enough to phone the men with the nice white jackets that do up in the back...

FunkyMunky said...

I have all this to look forward to. My daughter doesn't start school for a couple of years but maybe I should just skip to the wine drinking bit now to save time later!

Drunk Mummy said...

elsie - I wouldn't mind, but I have labelled and stitched name tapes onto everything (and sewing is not my strong point, to put it mildly).

M&M - this 'time lapse' theory is an excellent one - it could explain the sporadic disappearance of certain bottles of wine in my wine cupboard. They only reappear after a trip to the supermarket.

SAHD - yes - but the Ackerman was the same price as the La Marca prosecco! No contest.

akelamalu - I suppose I could just nick something unlabelled from the Lost Property Box.

grocer - you are definitely onto something here. Nice to hear from you again - hope all is well with Mrs Grocer and the twinnies.

omega mum - you are absolutely right - then it would be 'Mum, can I borrow your conforming card? I've lost mine.'

Dulwich Mum - I never turn down an opportunity to go drinking - you can take me on a tour of the Dulwich hostelries!

debio - you sound like you were a a handful - big mistake to have confessed this to your daughter!

rilly - the blazers sound wonderful. If they don't fit, then I could always use them as deck chairs.

beta mum - no, its not mean - its just the words of a desperate woman. I feel your pain!

Hello dj kirby!
You know, I have found those men in white jackets are not averse to a bit of bribery with a decent bottle of red! Thank you for your kind comments, and your very generous blog-roll link. I loved your short story on pregnancy, and have voted for it - good luck in the competition!

Hello funkymunky!
Absolutely - why delay the inevitable?

Chopski said...

Do you know if bottles of wine with a larger indentation in the bottom of the bottle are better than ones with a smaller one? We are currently debating this and it's getting a bit embarrassing having to finger the bottom of each bottle of wine in the supermarket before we buy it.

heike said...

Yes, you are a scream, as promised :). I remedied the ever disappearing uniform by going to the clothes closet and buying a cardigan with the name of my daughter's "fiend" inked on the label in permanent well as the school swaetshirt :)....the reaction was miraculous, and we have not lost any wearables since.

Drunk Mummy said...

Hello Chopski!
I always thought it was just to do with tradition and bottle design, but according to The group it’s called a ‘punt’ (no sniggering at the back, please!) and is a hotly-debated topic. I guess you are asking me if a big ‘punt’ is better than a small one?
Hmmm - that's not a question you hear every day. It seems it has no relation to the quality of the wine within, so now you and Heather can stop wandering round supermarkets like perverts, sticking your fingers up the bases of wine bottles (unless you’ve now developed a taste for that sort of thing).

Drunk Mummy said...

Hello heike!
That is an excellent plan - I will give it a try!