It’s a phonecall you hate getting, next to Unknown number, seeing the school’s number on your phone screen is terror inducing. All sorts goes through your mind. What’s happened? Who’s hurt? What have they done?
I’ve had various phonecalls in my time and inspired by a conversation with an old friend (who sadly I don’t get to see anymore, life gets in the way) I thought I’d share some of them.
There was the time the school called to tell me my eldest had had a slip and fallen on his face. Thinking he’d tripped over someones foot or something – I once broke my wrist when someone stuck their foot out in front of me, you can read about it here – I made my way to the school only to find he’d slipped on a banana skin. I shit you not. I thought this particular mishap was reserved for cartoons and comedians. Apparently not.
“Could you come to the school please? Your son has a puncture wound” A puncture wound? A PUNCTURE WOUND? “Oh Jesus Christ he’s been stabbed” I screech to the other half. “Right that’s it, I’m going to get him and I’m never, ever letting him go to school again.”
I get to the school where I’m greeted by a stoney faced 6 foot 20 Headmaster. I’m only 5’2 so I already felt like a naughty kid caught professing their love for some scroat or other by permie marker in the bogs. “Where’s my son?” I start to ask before he sits me down to tell me that in fact he hasn’t been stabbed but the dozy sod had actually been climbing trees to retrieve a football and fallen on a metal fence. Cringe. Then he leads me to a very quiet teenager who appears to have taken great interest in his trainers. Out we traipse not saying a word other than to thank the Headmaster for letting me know. Off to the hospital we drive for a 48245 hour wait in A&E where they ask a million questions – quite rightly – and send him off with a dressing on and a dressing down.
“Could you come to nursery please? Your son has had a fall and has a head injury.” There I was with a 3 month old baby clamped to my chest wondering what on earth had happened. I sent the other half to go and get him as I knew he could run faster than my podgy arse could. My son came back with a bandage on his head and an ice pack. I don’t know what I was expecting from a ‘head injury’ but it was worse than I thought. My poor little man had a flipping great big split in his forehead and blood running down his face. Off we drove the hospital where he had glue and steri – strips to stick it all back together. We tried to make light of it being his Harry Potter scar but it’s not so much lightening bolt as big fat rain cloud. When we asked him how he’d done it he told us he was trying a show a girl how fast he could run, couldn’t stop himself in time and ran headfirst into a brick wall. So basically showing off for the ladies, sign of things to come?! Bloody great.
“Could you come to the school please? Your son has had a um, knock to the um, private area” “Right, some little shit has kicked our boy in the balls Jon. You better get to the school and sort it” I was at work. Seething into my latte. Waiting impatiently for him to come back and tell me what had gone down. Turns out it was an accidental knock to the nads. He got in the way of a flying foot. They have a tendency to do that feet, especially when attached to a 7 year old boy it seems. All checked over the other half traipses home to resume his game of Fifa. Bugger me if an hour later they weren’t back on the phone “could you come to the school please? Your son has had a bump to the head” “Jon, get down the school again love, someones tried to cave his skull in this time” all I can hear is the sound of the Xbox controller hitting the deck as he exhales VERY loudly and legs it out the door again. Reporting back the fella tells me he caused his own head injury, not by impressing girls this time but trying to retrieve his pencil and smashing the back of his head on the table on the way back up. No matter how many times you scream “watch your head” at a kid it never, ever sinks in.
‘We’d like to make an appointment with you to discuss your son’s progress in sixth form.’ says the chirpy receptionist, knowing full well a bollocking is coming my way in the near future. I wasn’t wrong. “we have concerns that maybe sixth form isn’t for him” says the scary teacher sat in front of me. She then goes on to tell me that she doesn’t think it’s the path he’s destined for as I squirm in my chair feeling like I’d rather be ANYWHERE but here. “He really isn’t putting any effort in and we get the feeling there’s a million other things he’d rather be doing (lying in bed being the main one. Probably.) so we think it’s best he revisits his thoughts about his future and let’s us know where we go from here” accompanied by ‘the look’ that makes you feel like a completely useless parent from Knobsville. I really wanted to tell her to shove it up her arse – purely for the look – but I didn’t, I was very adultish. I looked at him, he was very interested in a poster on the wall funnily enough. Think it might have been something about not sharing dirty daps. He blurted out something that vaguely resembled English which I took to mean “I hate sixth form” and so there and then on that day he left. Just like that. I swear she high fived herself. And off we drove back to Knobsville. Via the Jobcentre.
Have you ever been called to the school?