Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Monday, 1 September 2008

High School Farcical

Big day for Womble On Tour Juniors I and II tomorrow; first day at High School. (They're twins, so we always get these landmark events at the same time, and we only get them once).

Over the past few weeks we've been talking to them, watching them and generally looking for signs of nerves or anxiety.

When she was very little I used to think that WOT J I was the one who didn't worry, who took everything in her stride and who looked after her "little" brother. But I've long since come to realise that underneath the assertiveness of the first-born and the slightly brash exterior beats a highly sensitive heart, and the heart of someone who is, like her dad, a worrier, beset with shortfalls in self-esteem. She's worried alright, in the same ways that I was all those years ago. Will I fit in ? Will I cope ? Will I keep my friends and make new ones ? Will I get into trouble ? Will the teachers be fierce ? We've been trying to reassure her, give her the support she needs and tell her we'll always love her no matter what.

One the other hand, the more the period we've laughingly called "summer" has worn on, the more chilled WOT J II seems to have become. He's very bright, and good at sport. He has no doubt in his own mind that he has what it takes to survive in the bigger pool. He seems to be looking forward to it all immensely. He's excited.

And so we prepared them tonight for an early night. The uniforms were laid out, the PE bags packed. The geometry sets (minus compasses for safety reasons, obviously) checked. WOT J 1 was given the final reassuring hugs before bedtime. I kissed her, told her everything would be fine and I sang to her. WOT J II does not appreciate such gestures. No problems in him getting to sleep. He can cope with all of this change anyway, thank you very much.

The one thing WOT J II most definitely cannot cope with (apart from girls asking him out) is spiders. Like his mum, he is terrified of them. And came to pass, as he climbed confidentially into his bunk bed on the night before this oh-so-easy rite of passage that there, on the duvet, crawled a huge, brown harvest spider.

WOT J II is quick. When he's playing football or cricket he can run with the best of them. But I've never seen him move at quite the speed he showed tonight. "Dad ! Tarantula ! In my bed !". I tried to capture it but it escaped my clutches, and disappeared amongst the toys on his bedroom floor. I moved them all away from the wall, but could not find the eight-legged epitome of my son's worst fears.

And so it was that, the night before High School, we had not one gently whimpering child but two, the daughter with a sense of foreboding about the next day, and the son, cradled in his mother's arms, dreading the next ten hours, and pleading to be allowed to swap bedrooms for the night with his sister, who thinks spiders are cute and enter our house only to be mothered.

As I write they are, finally, both asleep. Fitfully, no doubt. Dreaming dreams they would rather not be having.

Such are the tribulations, the woes and the worries of youth. Would I be 11 again, given the choice ? Not on your nelly.


nuttycow said...

Hope it all goes ok today - am sure they'll come home this evening without a care in the world!

Old Holborn said...

I sent my twin girls to high school today for the first time as well.

I hope someone gives them a bloody good kicking in the bogs, the little shits. I can't touch the bastards or they ring social services. They have the number on speed dial on their mobiles.