Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Talking Box (of Shame)

We've said (a virtual) goodbye to Pre-School, attended the taster sessions in reception (and forgotten the new intake evening but that's another story) and bought the uniform (oh yes!).  We are all set for school.  Send them off on their first day, don't cry, job's a good 'un.  Right?

Wrong.  So, the twins came out of school following yesterday's settling in visit clutching these:

Talking boxes.

The twins were so excited to present me with them and I displayed the appropriate delight despite knowing what was to come.  DD2 even squealed "Mummy, I knew you'd love it!".  Bless.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, I'll attempt to enlighten you.  Here's the letter that was hidden inside:

So, not only have I got to make sure I send them to school, getting there on time and with the correct uniform (which is fair enough), but now I have to spend my entire summer holiday stockpiling random things in a box, like some sort of oversized middle-class Womble, to show that we have used our holiday time in a wholesome and educational manner instead of watching Homes Under the Hammer in my pyjamas and eating biscuits in bed every day*.  You may think, well, so what?  Just take them somewhere, make some memories, put them in the damn box, but you see, I have done this all before (FFS).  Honestly, this is worse than having the class bear.

The Talking Box Mark 1

Yes, these are talking boxes Mark 2.  Mark 1 entered our lives nearly a year ago, accompanied by a similar letter, and made the summer holiday a misery challenge as we I tried to fill them with interesting things.  It wasn't easy. 

Summer holidays for us are mostly about doing nothing.  Getting up late, playing in the garden, going for a scoot around the block and eating cheap ice cream from the freezer.  Not dissimilar to my childhood in the 80s (which never did me any harm).  Days out rarely figure in to this equation and even when they do, they usually end in disaster.  Take this picture, which I printed off for the talking box Mark 1.  Note that only four children feature.  One is missing owing to a pre-teen strop of such magnitude that it actually ruined the whole day.  I printed the picture off for the twins to take in their boxes anyway, but I often wonder just how much the teachers at pre-school knew about that day.

Happy Families

There was also the day when DS3 decided he liked collecting corks after finding one at my mum's house and being allowed to keep it.  Since then he has amassed handfuls of them, some from non alcoholic wine substitutes, and most some from proper fizzy daytime wine, although it's impossible to tell which is which.  You've probably guessed that he insisted they all went in to the box.  For everyone to count judge see.  Oh, the shame.

In addition to that, being a twin mum of course means that as you have already seen, I have to deal with two boxes, which don't always have identical contents.  It makes my brain hurt.  You obviously can't have the same stuff in both because each child is an individual, right?  So I end up having to do twice as much as all the other mums - so not fair.  Penance perhaps, for having overactive ovaries and a uterus like a bin liner.  As if paying for two lots of uniform at once wasn't bad enough.

So what shall I stick thoughtfully encourage them to put in their boxes this year?  As most of our holiday action (ha, ha who am I trying to kid? We all know I'm going to be watching Homes Under the Hammer) will be played out here I'm half tempted to simply put one of my blog business cards inside and let the teachers look it up for themselves.  It is the modern way, after all.  But that might land me in the Head Teacher's office by first break.  So, I think not.

I'm just going to have to accept that, while I've said goodbye and good riddance to pre-school, I will have to suffer another summer with the boxes of doom, safe in the knowledge that a whole new lot of teaching staff will be grading me on my abilities as a parent based on the contents of a small cardboard box or two (and we all know that's what the boxes are really for).

I am partly annoyed by this but also secretly can't wait to see what the twins come up with.  As long as there are no more corks.

* which probably still will happen 

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