With SB hitting so many milestones lately showing me that she is growing up far too quickly, my mind has started to drift towards future moments that terrify me completely. Maybe I’ve just been spending way too much time reading threads on Mumsnet about the horrors of the school run and kids party dilemnas, but something tells me that growing kids bring a growing pile of troubles along with them…
- The first time we host a party. We arranged her naming ceremony, and just about managed to stay sane – and that was just a case of trying to herd friends and family together. How the hell are we going to manage, a) inviting thirty kids to Soft Play Hell, and b) dealing with thirty kids at Soft Play Hell? I’ve read too many threads about parents who don’t RSVP and then turn up with not just their kid, but their kid’s siblings and cousins and a couple of friends and batty old Aunt Edna, and all of them wanting a hot meal and a goody bag. What do I do in this situation? Do I cobble together six extra goody bags, or do I say ‘Nope, sorry, no can do’?
- The school gates. I don’t deal well with cliques, and from what I remember of school – and what I know from reading other blogs and Mumsnet threads – is that adult life doesn’t get much cliquier than at the school gates. I had enough of that in secondary school, I can’t go back to trying to figure out what ‘faction’ I fit in. Couple that with the fact that I’ll only be twenty-three the first time I have to deal with the School Gates Gangs, and you can see why I’m terrified of this moment.
- Teaching stranger danger. This one’s pretty personal to us, seeing as SB is sociable to a fault and thinks nothing of asking total randomers in the supermarket for a hug, we’re going to have to do a lot of work to hammer home the message of ‘stranger danger’. I’m dreading it already.
- The Passing of a Pet. We currently have three hamsters – Tiny, who long-term followers of the blog will remember from the Hamstergate saga two years ago, TJ, who has been with us for a few months now, and Annie, who we adopted on Monday (she is over eighteen months old, blind and has a curved spine, so of course I fell head over heels in love with her). SB is too young at the moment to really take a huge interest in them, so when they die, it won’t affect her too badly. Chances are, however, that the next hamsters we get will be her first experience of a pet dying – and I feel totally unprepared on how to deal with it with her. My first pets – fish called Cleo and Figaro – killed each other, and I don’t remember being that cut up about it, but I think hamsters might be a different kettle of fish (if you’ll pardon the expression).
- Playdates. What’s the ettiquette? Do you invite their kid over if they invited yours? What do you do about food? I’m imagining serving up a plate of nuggets and chips (standard playdate fare when I was a kid) to a child who is used to Waitrose organic brioche and quinoa for dinner, and the resulting fallout from their parents. Are you expected to stay while they play? Can you ‘opt out’ of playdates?
- Immunisations. We had enough of a debacle with SB’s 12-month jabs (in short; she screamed the place down and I ended up getting accidentally immunised against pneumonia too), so I’m dreading the next ones – her pre-school boosters. I find it really tough to listen to her screaming, and it’s gotten harder as she’s gotten older. I predict a lot of bribing with Milkybar Buttons to get her through it.
- Lunchbox Wars. Once upon a time, ‘when I were a lass’, an acceptable lunchbox was a cheese sandwich, a Munch Bunch yoghurt, a mini kit kat, some cherry tomatoes and a Capri Sun. Those days are long gone, chivvied away by the Lunchbox Police. Not content with removing Turkey Twizzlers from the menu (damn you Jamie Oliver!), the Lunchbox Police patrol school canteens across the nation, making sure that parents aren’t smuggling any contraband into their children’s diets. Nothing even remotely chocolatey passes inspection. Juice is against the law. Not even the good old cheese sandwich is safe, especially if it’s on white bread. Lunches must consist of hummous, carrot sticks, an apple and some water. It’s a sad time to be a primary school pupil.
- Teenage tantrums. Part of me thinks “Hey, I was a teenager not too long ago, I’ll be great at dealing with teenage tantrums”. Then I remember that it’s not so easy to get out of that teenage mindset, so I’d probably just argue back, and leave D to deal with two teenage tantrums instead. I’m already rubbish at stopping SB from misbehaving – how I’ll react when she’s getting up to teenage miscreant-ism doesn’t even bear thinking about.
Reading this back has confirmed one thing to me.
I am so not ready for SB to grow up.