Saturday, 16 June 2012

Always in Trouble?

Sometimes it seems as if I’ve had trouble with girls all my life, from early teenage trauma right up to failed marriage in my thirties. I was recently reminded that I even had trouble with girls in primary school because last weekend I spent three hours trying to make a pair of “bloomers” from a pillowcase for my 5YO son’s school project following a story they read about the “Queen’s Knickers”. I see little point in setting homework projects that the children can not do themselves.
         Moreover, my son refuses to wear his bloomers and I support his view. So spending precious time doing something that is not supporting my son’s involvement at school seems pointless. Also, I can not see what they are trying to teach children by exploration (no pun intended) of this rather irreverent topic. There are many far better things that children can be learning about a monarchical diamond jubilee: its democratic nature, its global reach, its enduring support, etc.
         I am minded to complain but am concerned that this will cause undue friction. Am I being reactionary? Should I be sat up at eleven o'clock at night making bloomers rather than doing my tax return? Perhaps it’s worth doing because it's a social activity and it shows support for the kids' efforts and makes them feel that their play or assembly is a little more important. I think it is important to make them feel good and supported at school, even if he doesn’t wear the bloomers.
         Perhaps I am still influenced by an awkward event I had at my primary school which still haunts me. Our class ran a puppet production of Winnie the Pooh. I had the part of Tigger and my Mom made a glove puppet out of an old sock and acrylic fur. It was orange with brown stripes and button-eyes and a red tongue. It was easily the best puppet in the class. At least it looked like a puppet, rather than a sock.
         “Wow, Billy, look at your Tigger, it’s brilliant!” said Charlie Crest who was in the football team and praise from him was better than sweets.
         “I wish my Mom made me a puppet,” whined Graham Adams who was Top-of-the-Class and I smiled, reflecting in unfamiliar adoration.
It was short lived. The middle-aged dragon-teacher cruelly smashed my expectation of praise.
         “What have you learned by getting your mother to make it for you?” She was unnecessarily vehement, presumably because I had stolen the spotlight from her, and I replied with the unabashed malevolence that only a seven year old can muster.
        “I learned that I don’t come to school to sew.”
         Anyway, I decided to press on and make the bloomers without complaint and Son No2 took them to school and all was well until I asked him what he'd learned about the Jubilee.
"It's all about the Queen's knickers, daddy," he said.

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