Prole2’s teacher and I had a meeting today.
This is nothing out of the ordinary, it is just that time of year.

Me and Prole1 went along, Prole2 was at science club.
He was somewhere in the school putting Mentos into bottles of Coke.
Strange to think that he is being taught to do what he may get told off for doing at secondary school.

Have you ever put a Mento in a full bottle of Coke?
Give it a try one day, preferably outside.

Anyway, while Prole2 was covering the playground in sugar solution, me and Prole1 sneaked in another door to talk about him.

We met in the library, Prole1 was all a quiver that he was allowed to sit in the teacher’s chair.
Apparently, so he told us, he had never been allowed in the chair before, not ever in his life, no matter how often he asked.
He sat on the chair and stared down at the rug he used to sit on to listen to stories.
He wriggled with joy and then went on tending the Smurf Village he has been building on my phone.
He is under strict instructions not to plant certain crops in the game as they take a long time to grow.
You are alerted to fruition by an alarm.

Me: Did you plant Blackberries in your Smurf Village?

Prole1: Yes, Papa Smurf told me to. If I do it then Brainy surf will get Jokey Smurf’s punchline.

Me: When did you plant them?

Prole1: Just before tea time yesterday. They take about twelve hours to grow.

Me: Yes they do. What time would they be ready?

Prole1: Just before tea time today?

Me: No, think about it.

Prole1: Bed time? Just after tea? While we are having a bath? No, it should be the same time. Just before tea.

Me: How many hour in a day?

Prole1: Twelve. Every one knows that.

There is a long silence.

Prole1 looks at his fingers and quickly does some counting.

Prole1: I am sorry Dad.

Me: Yes, please don’t do it again.

Prole1: No, I won’t, sorry.

Me: That’s ok.

Prole1: Were you asleep?

Me: Very.

Prole1: Sorry.

A short pause.

Prole1: Ummm…did you…did you harvest them?

You can see the problem, what with me keeping my phone on the bedside table and all.
I love him but I was unable to explain exactly what I was thinking and doing when my alarm went off at 4am.

Anyhow the teacher and I sat down to talk.
I know it is a school but surely there are at least two chairs in the building that are adult sized?
With Prole1 in the only adult sized chair in the room the options were limited.

I sat down on a chair designed for a four to seven year old.
I instantly felt really uncomfortable and wanted to leave.

I never really liked sitting on those tiny chairs.
I went to four different schools between the ages of five and ten and I sort of equate them with feeling like an outsider.
Nothing like being in your mid forties and squeezing on to one to disempower you.

The teacher asked if I had any questions.

I had no questions.

She seemed incredulous at this and returned to it a couple of times during the meeting.
I began to think I should have some questions.
What should I ask?

She talked about how his writing could be better.
She suggested that when we write sentences together I should concentrate his work on neatness, finger spacing and constructing letters properly.

I nodded to show I understood.
I frowned slightly to show I was thinking about it.
I sort of part agreed, part laughed and part grunted in agreement.

Then I had to admit to her that we never write sentences together.

She smiled, nodded and looked at me in an understanding way.
It was still a look a bit like one would give if I had admitted I stab guinea pigs for fun but it was understanding.

She said she knew it was difficult to fit everything in.

I smiled and tried to look careworn.
I am good at this since I turned 40 but the effect was marred by me sitting in a teeny tiny seat.

Here I shall be honest about the writing, I can fit it in.
I have plenty of time.
I just never thought of doing it.
If someone had said we would have been doing it for years.

We do reading books every day.
We do the spelling sheets.
We do the sounding out sheets.
We read a bed time story together.

Why have I never been told about writing sentences with my kids?
What else don’t I know?
What else are all the other parents doing?
Is there a series of secret memos going round I know nothing about?

Was I just supposed to absorb this stuff by osmosis?
Does everyone do this and I don’t?

I felt very small in my teeny tiny chair.

I stared down at Prole2’s work book.

There was a picture of three figures on a cliff.
The big one with a smile, the middle sized one with a frown and glasses and the small one with crazy hair and a smile.
‘Botalic’ it said.

On a sunny day when we had gone to visit the place where Laura’s heart was buried.
The boys play in the old brick furnace tunnels there.

It is not about me in my teeny tiny chair.
It is about the Proles and wether or not they are ok.

Me: Is he ok?

Teacher: Oh yes, he is ok.

It will all come out in the end.
I have more to worry about with Prole2 than whether or not he writes with me.
We will start writing and we will continue and we will fail and we will do it all again.
Just like everything else.


I am so pleased he drew such a sunny picture of us all.