I spent a lot of time at our children's school today.
First up was a class assembly. One of my children is entering her final year of primary school, and a mother pointed out that this will be their last class assembly before they leave. Class assemblies, for the uninitiated, involve three weeks of daily rehearsals, a worthy topic spiced up with some in-jokes, and a Friendship Song. If it was going to be their last, the involuntary parental sobbing quotient was instantly ratcheted up to 'Full On' before they even started.
Not aided by my daughter's Special Dream, so innocently voiced as part of the assembly: "I would like to do well in my exams and get into [insert names of local hard to get into schools]".
I'm not sure if there actually was an audible gasp, or whether it was just the rush of blood to my head as I watched my child tell 700 people what she really really wanted (along with 1800 other little girls). I'm not sure how often I have genuinely not known whether to laugh or cry, but let me tell you there were tears creeping out behind my glasses, of the kind one exudes upon eating a very hot chilli pepper.
After lunch came the Australian BBQ. The children are studying 'Australasia' this year. I am laying odds on a screening of Finding Nemo either as well as or instead of science -- a view strengthened by the topic for RE this term: 'Why might creation stories be important?'
Anyway, the staff thought it would be lovely to hold an Authentic Barbie, with the children in Beach Gear, and all the parents stopping by to enjoy.
As we don't live in Australia, and it's September, there was quite high chance of rain stopping play. It duly did. So, the teachers, in their wisdom, decided to hold the event in a small hall.
Picture the scene. A hot, damp room. Ninety children cutting out a cat's head they'd been assured was a wombat, stapling it to a paper plate with one stapler between all of them, accompanied by thumping music. Double that number of parents standing around, stepping on toddlers, and glueing their coats to the tables, without a clue what to do and why they were there.
The children screeched and bellowed their way through colouring in their WomCats, and were then supposed to write interesting questions about Australia on yellow postcards. My son was so distracted by the fact that Mummy was there that he didn't actually complete the job. When I thought it would be better if I left to let him get on, of course he burst into tears.
When we got home, the Freeview box for our telly broke down.
So let's see now: in my bid to be the best mother I can be, I no longer have a career, or even a normal job, and so can't replace the Freeview box. And in my bid to be the best mother I can be, I sat and watched one poor child expose her heartfelt dreams to the entire community, and therefore out me as a pushy Tiger mother, and then spent an hour watching my other child and 89 of his closest friends cut out Australasian cats.
Now that's Motherload.