Teaching turnaround

Despite some initial reservations about her new teacher Millie has settled into the juniors remarkably well.  I think we were all initially taken aback by the teacher’s no-nonsense attitude: when she asked for something done she expected it to get done; nothing like the touchy-feely methods used in the infants.

There have been two proofs of that this week.  First, Millie has been making a card for her teacher (whose name I forget, in case you wondering why I’m not naming her) with the message “Best Teacher Ever” on the front and lots of heartwarming platitudes inside.

That’s quite a turnaround from the teacher who would supposedly – ahem – “chuck a rage” at a moment’s notice.

But also, Millie has amassed EIGHT house points so far this term.  Eight!

The Lovely Melanie thinks the teacher has recognised that Millie can be easily discouraged or encouraged by the smallest remark and is ensuring that Millie gets plenty of positive reinforcement.

Plus, of course, she’s a very clever girl – one of two that we keep in our house. 🙂

Moderate chaos!!

There was a moderate amount of chaos at ours around midnight on Saturday.  The Lovely Melanie was in Hatfield for the night, and I was in charge, so it never got above “moderate”.  I hate to think what would have happened otherwise.

Around midnight I heard Millie get upset about something in her room.  When I walked in she was apparently frightened by something that “ran across the floor,” and – more alarmingly – she could “see the eyes!

Rat? Large spider? Snake? Ghost???  WTF??

I sat down on the bed and gave her a hug before happening to glance at the cage of Sparkle the gerbil.

The top hatch was open and Sparkle wasn’t visible.

That’s because Sparkle was ON THE LOOSE!!


Somebody – mentioning no names *cough*Millie*cough* – had left the hatch open and Sparkle had, quite naturally, climbed out and gone for a look around.

Gerbils are fast, agile and can jump like you wouldn’t believe – not to mention being small and able to squeeze into all sorts of tiny spaces; I thought we’d probably seen the last of Sparkle (until one day when a tiny gerbil corpse would turn up behind a wardrobe…)

But no, she popped out from under Millie’s wardrobe and looked curiously up at us, unaware of the consternation her freedom was causing.

After a second’s pause I dived towards her, and for the next five minutes moderate chaos reigned as I chased her around Millie’s bedroom – holding my breath every time she disappeared under some furniture.

At one point Amber popped a sleepy head round the door to see what on earth was going on.

Sparkle’s escaped!” shouted Millie.

Oh,” said Amber, and wandered back to bed.

I managed to catch the wayward Sparkle under a bucket at one point – a false start because I still couldn’t get her back in the cage.  Luckily, at no point did she think of hiding and staying hidden, and eventually a two-handed grab nailed her and we returned her safely to the cage.

We all laughed about it the next morning, but Millie was genuinely upset last night: scared that the same thing would happen again, so a saucepan lid has been placed over the cage door.  Just in case.

Save Lewisham Hospital

Considering how wet, cold and miserable today was I was amazed how many people turned out for the demonstration to save Lewisham Hospital A&E and Maternity.

Expecting maybe a hundred or so, it was amazing to find ourselves among thousands walking through Lewisham town centre to the hospital – where Millie was born, and where she spent most of the first three months of her young life.

Perhaps I’ve been living in apathetic right-wing Bexley for too long, but I’d forgotten that people closer to the heart of London actually give a damn about this sort of thing – and that they almost certainly voted against it.  Bexley – when it can be bothered to vote – usually does so because the Daily Mail has been running lurid tales of immigrants/communists/unemployed about to sweep in and do unspeakable things.  Remember, it’s not always easy to buy a broadsheet newspaper here, and if you want The Guardian you’ll probably have to read it online!

The girls were also spectacularly well behaved.  Freakishly so. (Just as well, really, because the Lovely Melanie had a party in Hatfield, so it was just the three of us)

Considering it was cold, raining, not very exciting, and a relatively long walk they barely complained at all until the very end.  We walked the mile or so from Lewisham Station to Ladywell Park looking at all the other demonstrators and their banners, asking occasional questions and jumping in the many many puddles.

It was a really nice afternoon together! 🙂

There were lots of other children on the march with their parents, mostly quite middle-class like us (but not exclusively so) and hopefully the numbers and the level of activism on display will be enough to convince the government that Lewisham Hospital is badly needed.  Here in Bexley we’ve already lost our A&E – if something happened to us now we’d have to catch two buses taking the best part of an hour to get to our “local” A&E.

That’s if it was in the daytime.  Quite what we’re supposed to do at other times hasn’t been explained to us.

If you want to help save Lewisham A&E/Maternity so that children like Millie have a decent chance then sign the petition to save Lewisham Hospital today.

Perfect role

Amber’s landed a part in the school Nativity play which suits her perfectly: she’s her own boss, gets to dress up and – better still – has to boss a group of people sheep around.

She was born to play a shepherd, I reckon.


Damn it, my super parent powers failed me this morning when trying to solve a most heinous crime: who picked the paint off the stairway wall?

Somebody in our house has picked a hole in the (admittedly already peeling) paintwork on our stairs.

This criminal mastermind even left the flakes on the stairs!

Millie – was it you?

Uh-huh, you think it was Amber?  Hmm, well let’s try the Patented Parenterrogation method on her, then.

Amber – who picked the paint off the wall by the stairs?

Oh, you don’t know, eh?  Are you quite sure?

Oh, you are sure.  Hmm.

If you were responsible and you tell me now I’ll be a lot less angry than if I find out you’re lying.  Are you lying?

You’re not lying.  Umm…  You’re sure?

You are sure.  Damn.

Right, well, er…if it wasn’t you and it wasn’t Millie, who was it?

You don’t know.

No, it couldn’t have been the chickens.

No, Mummy first noticed it, it wasn’t Mummy.

No, it wasn’t me either.  Don’t be silly.

All right, off you go.  But this isn’t over yet, young lady – I’ve got my eye on you.  Sooner or later you’re going to slip up, and when you do I’ll be there to nick you!

What did you do today? II

Actually, Millie has told me about school over the last couple of days because someone has introduced her to Cat’s Cradle – the game where you wind string around your hand and form shapes with it.  She’s been doing her best with a bit of string, but the Lovely Melanie has ordered a “proper” one from eBay made of elastic.

Millie has been asking ever since when that will arrive – hopefully before this latest playground craze runs its course!

I’ve been shown the “Usual” (?), the “Witches’ Broomstick“, the “Bow” (remarkably similar to the “Witches’ Broomstick”…), the “Jewellery Box”, the “Eiffel Tower” and the “British Flag” (it’s a Scottish flag really, but don’t tell Millie).

In fact, having been off sick I’ve seen all of the above about five times each, and Millie has taught me how to do the “Witches’ Broomstick”.