The Infant Phenomenon has started school. You never saw anything so pretty as she looked in her brand new uniform (strange to think that school uniforms started life to mark out 'charity children'). Her little curly, Titian-coloured head on top of the navy blue school uniform (which was a little too large) and the beaming smile which accompanied it were a sight to make any parent proud.
As my own Mamma puts it, she has been 'ready' for school for some time now. This has manifested itself in the previously unheard but now frequently used words 'bored' and 'boring'. Also in the oft-asked question 'What are we doing next?'. This can be somewhat daunting to a fond, but busy, parent, as come the weekend, I seldom want to have any particular plans and would like to just spend some pleasant time together, following the inspiration of the moment.
The day before she started was somewhat chaotic, as we were actually returning from my cousin's wedding, which I mentioned in my previous episode. We arrived back in the house at a civilised time of day, it is true, but with all the unpacking to be done and the Phenomenon's school uniform to prepare. And of course, I couldn't find the laundry marker pen. I am afraid that I did not spend hours sewing Cash's woven name tapes onto her every sock; I am not as old fashioned as all that.
She has been tremendously excited about the whole idea of going to 'big school' and we have had many conversations. I have been careful to point out that she must listen to the teacher (a skill which she frequently discards for the far more interesting one of talking) and do as she is told.
I did have a disappointment on the actual day. I had envisaged that we would walk hand in hand, having a somehow memorable conversation (conversations with the Phenomenon are often memorable, simply because of her quaint way of expressing herself). However, the weather was inimical to conversation of any kind and we battled our way along against the wind and the rain, unable to hear each other.
I had thought on that memorable Tuesday morning - as I dare say happens to other parents on a regular basis - that I had allowed more than sufficient time. I was in this, as in so many matters, mistaken. We were just about to leave when the weather which had been inclement but not actively hostile, took a violent turn for the worse, necessitating a change to stout boots. We then had to take the Inexhaustible Baby to nursery. To be frank, after two weeks with Mamma, Papa and the Phenomenon he was reluctant to return, and I was somewhat put out of countenance at being pursued by his roars of outrage as I descended the staircase.
Consequently, in spite of my mania for punctuality, we were almost late on her very first day. For shame!
Those of you who are acquainted with her will not be surprise to hear that she settled in very well and enjoyed herself. I must confess that my pride was mingled with trepidation when at 3.15 I was greeted with the comment 'She's very bright, isn't she?'. I couldn't help wondering what unanswerable questions she had been putting to the staff, or which of my opinions she had been advancing as her own.