Well. That went well.

Tonight was “Early Childhood Back To School Night” at the boys’ school (oo, I get to say that now that G is old enough for their preschool and A is going into Kindergarten.)

I had already missed the Kindergarten registration open house in the Spring because of something I can’t remember now, and so was really looking forward to meeting A’s teacher and hearing her spiel about what to expect this coming year: not least because I did not go through school here and I like to hear everyone talk and ask questions, because it gives me a clue about what to expect. Plus I was full of ideas about how I was going to be so much more outgoing this year and how I was going to approach other parents and be jolly and friendly and not wait until December to start striking up conversations. I was even going to start using people’s first names excessively when I talked to them, because it makes people like you.

Kev kept asking me what this Back to School Night was about and making ominous rumblings about how his parents were never expected to do anything like this, and how much they seemed to expect of the parents and how uneccesary it all way.

Nevertheless, I reminded him about ten times that he had to be home to come to this thing at 6 tonight.

Then I fed the boys dinner at 5.35 pm.

We were a little rushed, going in, but they hadn’t actually started yet.

Not knowing what to expect, and knowing that we had children in two different classes and would probably have to split up for the meet and greet bits, we dragged the boys along with us. They were the ONLY children in the hall, apart from babies, and they were not about to sit quietly. I heard (just about) the principal saying something about the preschool parents going that way, so I did. She didn’t mention Kindergarten, so I thought maybe they would stagger the presentations so that people with children in kindergarten as well could get to both. So I told Kev he might as well take the boys home, since we weren’t going to hear anything anyway with them there.

I was already a bit jangly because I didn’t feel like I knew what was going on, or what I was supposed to do. Then I started the pre-school event well by accusing one of the moms I knew from last year of being pregnant…and she wasn’t. AArgh! But she was standing all belly-out, hands rounded. I felt horrible and we both blushed furiously and. Well. As I say. Not a good start.

So I sat down, when told to and listened to a presentation that I could have skipped, having been through pre-school last year. Eventually when they stopped talking I belted across the street to the main school…to find the Kindergarten classrooms dark and only a few parents hanging around.

Missed the presentation. Missed the teacher. Missed the whole damned thing.

And I was mad. At them for no organising it better; at myself for not being smart enough to realize I should skip the pre-school thing (in my defense I wanted to go because it’s a different teacher and a different room); and mad at the world in general.

I was also upset. For all kinds of reasons.

For one thing, the school year seems like the perfect time to start afresh, to do things better, to be the perfect you. It’s like New Year’s Resolutions time. I had resolved to be totally on top of things this time, and here I am blotting my copybook before school even starts! I’m so mad. It’s like an ink stain on a brand new white t-shirt, right before you go out the door (and no, Alanis, that’s not ironic, just annoying).

I also felt foolish. Everyone else seemed to manage just fine. Why was I the only one running around like a headless chicken? What was I the odd one out?

So I was too discombobulated to talk to any one at the pre-school meet-and-greet when I went back there, so I just bailed out and stomped up the road.

And here’s a word of advice to all husbands. When your wife comes in on the verge of tears, what she wants is someone to make sympathetic noises (“Oh, no! They didn’t? What? Unbelieveable!”) and to give her a big hug. She does not want you to tell her all the stuff she knows, rationally (or will in half an hour) about this really not being that big a deal. She knows that (or will in half an hour when she’s had a chance to calm down or had a glass of wine. Half an hour unless you try to tell her it’s not that big a deal, in which case it will take three hours: two for her to stop being mad at them and another one for her to stop being mad at you).

[Men of the world: we do not want you to solve our problems. Except when we do. Which is NOT when we’re still upset about them. Any other time, have at it. But if we’re still all trembly-lipped, be the gay best friend. Good luck.]


Well, it’s their Open House on Friday, where they get to go in and see their new classrooms. They each have a timed slot and guess what? They’re a the same time again.

Let’s see if I can manage to split myself in two a little better on Friday.


2 responses to “Incompetence

  1. That’s it – I’m going to have a tattoo made (and patented) to distribute to every female-with-a-male-in-tow, because it’s the one thing Ewen seems to have remembered from a time he and I, in different circumstances, had roughly the same problem:

    “I don’t want practical solutions, I just want some SYMPATHY!”

  2. Heh heh. And they do like to look at a tattoo…