Tuesday, October 07, 2014

You can always rely on the kids

School does it at least once a year. Sometimes I think they are just being a bit nosy and condescending but it's always dressed-up as an 'educational exercise', and I'm generally too busy with real life to argue. 

It started last week. Léon was tasked with writing down everything he ate on a day of his choice that week. I suggested Thursday as I knew I had a load of vegetables I needed to use up and had time to cook something nice that day. He agreed, because he enjoys his food, and because he's a sweet (and easily-led child ;-) ). So we had a fairly bland cereal for breakfast, a few pieces of fruit mid-morning, some nice wholemeal bread and cheese with more fruit for lunch, building up to a dinner to be proud of: I made some boiled basmati, I made spicy potatoes in cumin seeds, ground coriander and garam masala, we had cucumber raita, I fried a tiny bit of chicken in onion, cumin, garlic, ginger and scotch bonnet chilis, slicing in mushrooms, patty pan squash, aubergine and tomatoes. I added in some baby potatoes. I felt well-smug. We often eat that kind of dinner but we also occasionally have burgers and chips or similar so it was definitely what I considered acceptable for class discussion... I left it at that.

Yesterday was open day for this term. I went in and the kids were making their meals out of felt and wool and gluing them onto plates they had designed themselves. Léon was carefully cutting out patty pan slices while the three other kids at his table cut out pizzas. Léon whispered to me that he'd even received a 'personal point' for having eaten the most unusual vegetable of everyone in the class! Tee hee. I seem to have retained my 'weirdo' status once again...

So I thought I had got away with it.

Presumably, though, they decided that since the exercise was such a hit in the upper school, the little ones would get to do it too. Anna chose today. Anna chose today because she was on the plan to cook today and wanted to be fully in control. It hadn't been the best start as she'd had coco pops and dunkers this morning, followed by a chorizo sandwich and crisps, albeit with a few grapes at  lunch time. She came in and worsened things with powdered chicken noodle soup - sigh! (At least today wasn't the day we let her take back the lemonade bottle to the corner shop and splash out the 30p on gummi sugar-snakes.) So, around 5, I turned to her and asked the fateful question: 'So, what do you fancy cooking tonight? Remember you have to write it up on your form, then talk about it in class?' Anna doesn't have a huge repertoire. She can do fish, some salads, pastas and pie with broccoli, but I was sure it'd be fine, she is only six after all... 'I think I'll make fried eggs and chips!' she replied, very pleased with herself! Stunned silence, while I thought to myself: Seriously? We have only had that about four times in your entire life! Why, tonight, you wee besom, why?

But, you know Anna: firstly, there would be no budging from that momentous decision, and secondly there would be no lying about it on the form either, because if I'd put down vegetable soup, little Miss Teacher's Pet would simply have announced 'We had egg and chips but mummy said to write down soup'.

So from tomorrow not only will I be waiting on the call from social services asking if I've never heard of the five-a-day policy, I'll also be skulking around for fear of Anna's teacher bumping into Léon's in the staffroom, comparing notes and concluding our family, which already doesn't quite fit in the boring East Renfrewshire bog-standard 2 kids and designer dog mould, is even odder than previously assumed!

Children: a part of yourself, you have very little control over!

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