It's that time of year, school is nearly out and us mothers of our eager pupils are frantically searching for that perfect gift that gives the appropriate message of appreciation. Is it a mug? Chocolate? A set of nice pens?
After years of teaching, I am all the more conscious of the delightful tat available for our kids to happily give to their teachers to add to the collection of 25 identical ones they received that year.
So Thursday morning, I was a woman on a mission - find the ideal gift that both reflects my child (and us) AND the teacher AND doesn't end up meaning I will have to remortgage my house ! I want to get something that is both a conscious gift for them AND the earth - small task methinks! Christmas, they received Oxfam gifts of meals for school children or school books for kids in developing countries etc.
Chocolate - is, although nice in small quantities, dull and uninspiring. They probably get inundated with it - so that's a no!
Wine - albeit on a slightly higher plane than chocolate, and they might not drink - see the above!
An ornament - Don't even GO there, sorry but cute mice dressed as teachers are really not nice!!!
A mug - you have GOT to be kidding me. My mother collected all hers over the years - it has been a Looooooooong process encouraging her that she really only needs half a dozen for cups of tea for two!! and the slogans..........they beggar belief.
A book? Very personal, could try a book token - maybe a little unadventurous? Not to mention the fact that the posh mummy brigade will be looking under their fake eyelashes at anyone who brings a present that isn't at least 6'5" in girth in a Tiffanys box! Inspiration dahling, a token is sooooo last year!
A plant for the garden - urgh, what if they live in an apartment?
A voucher for a restaurant ? Hmm, again a little too personal.
A handmade gift by the children? Well if they like LOTS of paper and sellotape or a mud and worm sculpture..........nah, probably not the best idea!
The other issue is that on top of the teacher, there is also the assistant teacher and, well, her girth needs to be of similar size !!! Can't be seen to be favouring via size of tissue wrapped article! Hell, added to that is cost - after three children, six teachers..........it's gonna get expensive, hmm, but I think I am supposed to gloss over this point and reattach my left eyelash!
So back to the drawing board............
The other part of my post today is more on a serious note, forgive me for my anger, but I am so pissed with this speciman that works with kids and calls himself a teacher!
This afternoon I went to enquire about some karate lessons for the children. The boys currently attend one at their YMCA, which is fun, but very full and crowded and I feel T, in particular, would move on at a faster pace if he had a smaller class. So I went to one place, somewhat of a brag-fest was my first impression as the place was littered with trophies, my second was a feeling of intimidation, but I put that down to me being picky and stupid.
The guy I spoke with seemed lovely having been passed to him by another guy who, happily told me that they would take my other "son" pointing at Little Miss Beehive, as soon as she was potty trained.
"She is toilet trained" I informed him calmly "and I am not here for her"
"Oh, how old is she? 3?"
"I TWO!" - you see, she can answer herself if you would have the decency to actually address her!
This nice guy asked me to come back at four with the boys and they would see what they were capable of.
So at four, the children and I are taken into the "interview" room, with the inital guy. I know, alarm bells were already sounding due to the fact I thought it was going to be of the same genre as a timeshare sale! Looking around for the nearest exit, we all went in.
After at least 10 minutes of questions - ("which was better for the boys, to listen to their parents because they are told to or because they want to. Answer my questions with a yes SIR! Why must I carry wet wipes for feet in my car AT ALL TIMES? Did I know his floor was worth thousands and professionally cleaned every day, why I could eat my dinner off it. Why did I want them to do karate was it a, b, c or d - e: fun, didn't enter into the equation."), Little Miss Beehive, at 4.20pm with no snack, was beginning to tire and get restless........
The bribes then started - "If you are quiet I have a surprise for you and your brothers" (Mein Herr, not me!!)
I. kept on with the wriggling and protesting to get down
"Well young lady, you obviously have decided you don't want a surprise." WTF!!!
After a few more seconds of her not obeying his orders, he gets up, opens the door and says:
"Mom, she is going to have to go."
I cannot believe I am hearing this, she is only 2, she has been as still as can be expected in a boring room with him and all his trophy collection.
I must have looked at him with all the gorm that I can muster as I still cannot believe that on the one hand he is preaching respect, and on the other, ordering me to leave the room !
"Come on boys, this isn't going to work" I said
"She can stay if she is quiet."
Oh, that is big of you........I take it you don't WANT our business then you head-up-your-own- arse TWONK?
"She is TWO, she is not more than a BABY!"
So with all the dignity I could find, I walked out of his shrine, remarking loudly to no-one in particular, but in the middle of his awaiting class, how unbelievably RUDE he was.......
Fortunately not a mile down the road we stumbled across a lovely martial arts class where I met a mum from school. The boys were invited to watch or take part, no one frowned or shouted down at us..........nuff said.