19 Dec 2011


'If you've never been hated by a child, you've never been a parent
- Bette Davis
So it's the BIGGEST night in an 11 year-old's social calendar - The School Christmas Party.  We have sorted an outfit (fuchsia pink and black shirt, skinny black tie, skinny black jeans, black canvas slip-ons with skulls and whatnot on them for footwear).

When he appeared in the doorway doing his best Joey Trebiani ('hey, how YOU doin?') there was a little tug at my guts, not entirely due to the tsunami of Davidoff Cool Water that flooded in with him.

No.  My little boy is growing up.

Not enough to make it up to school in the dark on his own though. I was duly dispatched with the car keys to run him up to the school.

'Who are you going to dance with?' I ask, glancing in the rear view mirror at the top of a furry 'fore and aft' cap.  'Will you dance with Clean Amy?' I ask hopefully.

He says nothing, but stares out of the car window.

I suspect that I am officially an Embarrassing Mother.

I drop him off outside the main building and call after him through the wound-down car window 'Remember and dance with a GIRL tonight.'

Some boys in sportswear lurking near the doorway giggle.

Yeah, I'm embarrassing, alright.

I park up back home in the driveway.  Tartarus already has his jacket on - it's the Motorbike Club night.  I have to laugh - there's only ever a couple of them meet up at any given time and the Club is loooooong gone - a victim of too many critics and not enough volunteers.  Still, he enjoys a few beers with like-minded addicts friends.

'Now, you won't forget to pick him up at 9pm, will you?' he asks me.  He pulls on his hat.  This makes him look like a professional burglar.

I roll my eyes.  'What do you take me for?'

He says nothing.

Left alone in the house for a couple of hours, I do what most mummies would do - I put music on very loudly and go on to facebook where I end up joking with a friend about a possible Tarot of the Killer Bunnies and doing a couple of outstanding Tarot readings from the weekend.

I am vaguely aware of a noise.  My thought process goes roughly like this:

'There's a noise.  It must be Sonshine up for a wee.  Hang on, I don't remember putting him to bed.  *a momentary pause where I try to work out where the hell he is* my head suddenly clicks into gear and I realise that I Must Not Forget To Pick Him Up At 9pm......my eyes wheel around the room to find the clock.  it is HALF PAST NINE!!!!  No matter how long I stare at it, it's still half nine. IMPOSSIBLE!

I fly into the hallway, grabbing my boots and the car keys.

As I do so, the front door bell rings and I see a small figure in a furry hat peering at me through the glass panel.

A car sits outside my gate, its engine running, checking to make sure that there's someone to let him in. As he disappears inside, the car pulls off into the night.

I am mortified.  I drop to my knees and clutch at him - apologies spilling out of my mouth like a BP oil leak.  And yes, tears pricking at my eyes.  How can I have forgotten to go and pick him up?!

He stands motionless, letting me hug him.  But he doesn't hug back.

Eventually I sit back on my heels and look him in the eye to apologise.

His face is like stone

'THAT was the most embarassing moment of MY LIFE,' he says solemnly.

'I'm so sorry.  I got caught up........Who was that that ran you home?' I ask, feeling wretched.

'Mrs Shaw.  The Assistant Head.  You didn't come.  You FORGOT about me.'

He pulled off his hat and threw it down on the stairs.  The very stairs where I had proudly photographed him a few hours previously, in all his disco finery.

Desperate to make amends, I started babbling about the dance.  'Was it good? Did you get to dance with Amy?'

He hung his jacket up and looked at me with that withering gaze that all children reserve for their completely Out Of Touch parents.

'Amy looked HOT.  She deserved to dance with people who looked a lot better than me,' he said, pulling on his slippers, 'So no, I didn't dance with Amy.'

'Now listen to me,' I said,'grabbing both his freezing little hands.'  You look fantastic. You're handsome, funny, smart and kind.  Why on earth didn't you ask her to dance?'

I'm not that great, mum,' he said  'Even YOU forgot about me.'

THUD, THUD, THUD.  That would be the knives in my breast.

UPDATE:  21 December - so Sonshine got his friend to ask her out and she knocked him back with some choice words, that - if true - are appalling from an 11 year-old girl.  Well, when *I* was 11, I wouldn't have uttered them.  Heck, I didn't even know what one of them meant.  Just let me tell you that she has lost her 'Clean' epithet. And I suddenly feel very old.


  1. I think that every parent has gone through that "Oh Shit moment"

    I once forgot to pick up my (then) 6 year old son from school.

    I remembered at 12:30
    I was supposed to pick him up from school(at 3:00) in Newport-on-Tay (Fife)
    I was in Sunderland.

    Even driving at the speed of sound (in a clapped out Vuxhall Cavalier) I couldn't do it, but i tried.

    I was only 90 minutes late.

    He was still standing there at the school gates.



    Even after all these years, I can still remember (and feel) the absolute disdain in his words "Thanks Dad"

    *sighs with heartfelt pain*

    I do feel for you.

    But don't worry.

    Just wait.

    Something worse will happen

  2. TSB - oh THAT'S baaaad! :-) Lemme tell you, I am braced for the Evils of Puberty.

    Ali x

  3. Ali x: I'm sorry. It's like the Spanish Inquisition.

    NOBODY is prepared for the Evils of Puberty.

    Not even mentioning the Evils of Increased Testosterone Levels and Their Effects on The Smell From Male Adolescents.

    Especially the FEET.

  4. Oooops!
    I forgot to pick the wee man up at school one day. When I got there, he was sitting in the office all hunched up and TOTALLY pissed off. The office staff glowered at me, my son glowered at me, even the fish in the fish tank glowered.

  5. Dear Alison, Time has got away with me so many times the girls are now quite blasé about their dreadful mother's lack of punctuality. A large part of motherhood seems to be about apologising to one's children about one thing or another. However, it is heartbreaking when they choose to extrapolate from a small transgression to some lack of love on our part for them. Tomorrow is another day. He will bounce back quicker than you will. Thinking of you. love Lindaxxx

  6. Oh Ali you poor thing - has he told his Dad? There's nothing worse than being ganged up on (I know all about the dynamics of a single child family!). Poor you, but Christmas is just round the corner and all will be forgiven long before then!

    I'm afraid TSB is probably right too - something worse will happen LOL! xxx

  7. Oh Ali, EVERYONE has one of these stories as a parent. Don't feel too bad about it.

    Poor Sonshine, not dancing with Clean Amy.:(

  8. Oops. And the Deputy Head driving off like that is another ticking off!

    We've all done it. And as much as I disagree with them for children, it is a case for mobile phones.

  9. When the kids were at primary school, one afternoon I sat down, literally for five minutes. Next thing, the school were ringing both my phones - how do you explain that you'd fallen asleep without a school thinking gin must have been involved??? Still have horrible dreams about being hopelessly late picking them up... x

  10. Bugger! Yes, most of us will do something similar at some point, and will flay ourselves with guilt afterwards, but the kids survive!
    Not asking Clean Amy to dance - he missed a chance there, poor boy! And she was probably longing for him to ask. AND it was BEFORE you forgot him! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  11. TSB - for you I have put in a link to the sorry tale of where Clean Amy first entered our vocabulary :-) Also - the feet thing has started.....

    Pastcaring - I don't know where he gets this downer on himself from - he's really lovely. Am I too biased to say that lol?!

    Trashsparkle - yeah, I BET there was gin involved!

    Looby - he'd love mobile phone, but since I hardly use mine, he's not getting one until he can pay for it himself lol!

    LM - apparently Clean Amy was knocking them all back...so I don't understand why he didn't just throw his hat into the ring. What did he have to lose?!

    Mrs E - no, Tartarus doesn't know yet. And that's teh way that it's staying!

    Viv - I know what you're really thinking - 'NEVER SHOW THEM SIGNS OF WEAKNESS' :-D

    Linda - next morning he was fine. Although still a bit love-lorn for the lovely Amy.

    Wally - don't you feel TERRIBLE because you've been busy enjoying yourself and have FORGOTTEN?!

  12. Thanks for the link ALiX.

    Ah, I remember now. That Clean Amy, proof that Sonshine is definitely of the same genetic makeup as Tartarus.


    Does that mean that Tartarus refered to you as Clean Ali?

  13. I had to read this out to my hubby. Yes we're sad that we've lost our son, but it doesn't stop us laughing out loud at the predicaments parents past present and future find themselves in. Thank you. I have tears running down my cheeks because it's so much funnier reading it outloud!

  14. Dear Ali, I soooo identify with this, I spend my life rushing in late to collect my boys - once I got stuck in traffic on the motorway and was soooo late, but when I got to school Boy 2 burst into tears as he was on his way to the Late Boys Club in the library with the huge Flat Screen TV and then i turned up and Spoilt It All - so you can't win, a Mothers Place is In the Wrong, that's all. Boy1 has not yet graduated to Davidoff he is still yearning for some Lynx.. I think he had a narrow escape from Clean Amy, I think there are much nicer girls for him, have a lovely Christmas my dear xxxx


I'd love you to comment, but I get a phenomenal amount of spam comments on here for some reason - so everything is moderated. But only for spam. Any other comment will be posted :-D

Explore the ruined citadel of m'blog: