Friday, 7 February 2014

Spellings t-o-d-a-y

Spelling test day + child who can't cope with being wrong = disaster.

Up and out of bed was no problem today. The Lego Darth Vader started beeping at 7.20, and by 7.21 Mini was downstairs and in the bathroom.

Then the realisation that it's spelling test day kicked in, and so did the delay tactics.

So first comes the indecision about what to have for breakfast. "I don't know what I want, but I don't want you to choose either" was the theme.
Whilst everyone else continues getting ready, unfortunately with daddy on the phone as he's on-call, Mini decides to get his own lunch ready. Requests for him to leave that to me, and just make a decision about breakfast fall on deaf ears.

"I know you're probably thinking and worrying a bit about your spelling test today Mini, and perhaps you're hoping that if you don't eat this morning then I won't send you to school, but you do have to go to school sweetheart, so best you eat something instead of being really hungry in the middle of your lessons." I venture.

There follows a bit of huffing and puffing, then crossed arms, then eventually Mini decides that yes, breakfast is good but...he wants to get it himself. He gets his step, and reaches up into the cupboard, where there is little chance he'll reach the box, but he HAS to try. Surprisingly he does reach the box today, and overfills his bowl, but hey, we're not sweating the small stuff and need to crack on so we let it lie.

But, because there is so much in the bowl, Mini now has a reason to d-r-a-g out eating. And because of the anxiety fuelled mood he's in, eating is punctuated by 'she's looking at me', 'she smiled at me' and 'I don't want to share a table with her'. And so 25minutes later, when I'm putting my shoes on to get out of the door, Mini is still eating, and struggling to scoop up the remaining jungle bites onto his spoon.

Tempers start to fray a little. I remind Mini that we have to go - now, and he still hasn't got dressed, so can he please leave those last 3 little bits of cereal and the last half-gulp of squash and just come and get dressed.

"But I'm still eating, and she's still looking at me".


I get the home-school book out and make a note... 'Mini is stressed today, we think it's related to the spelling test (like the week before last)".

"No, don't write in my book, don't write in my book I don't want them knowing I was naughty."

I gently explain that he's not being naughty, and we understand why he's trying to delay or cancel going to school, and I'm just writing that he's feeling stressed and anxious. But the fear of his teachers believing anything bad of him is enough to kick start the dressing process, albeit like the rest of the morning...v-e-r-y-s-l-o-w-l-y.

By this point it's very clear that we're going to be late and Mini will have to go in via the office. So I ask the NC to call school and let them know Mini's having a bad day - I'm going to take him in through the office, but I want him to let them know I'm escorting Mini to his classroom.

Eventually, we make it into the car, have a chat during the 5 minute drive about how we know he's worried but we don't mind if he gets all his spellings wrong, as long as he tries his hardest, and no-one will be disappointed if he makes a mistake, he asks to just run through his spellings once more which we do on the way (g-r-o-u-n-d, a-b-o-u-t, d-i-s-p-l-a-y, t-o-d-a-y), then we get to school, park half a mile away because the world and his wife were also late today, and somehow manage to get Mini into his classroom just before his name is called on the register and I'm grateful that his teacher (made aware by the office staff) doesn't fuss about him being a bit late.

Phew. I feel rushed and stressed again just thinking about it. I don't think this is the last time we'll be late for school on test days, but I'm pleased the school didn't fuss, and I know I'll be less stressed next time knowing they are understanding.


  1. Had to comment because this made me smile. At 8.40 yesterday morning I was saying to my headbutting, fruit throwing, spitting 5 year old "I know you probably feel a bit sad now because we've had a lovely time putting stickers in your sticker book while eating breakfast (actually me feeding him while both looking at stickers just to get food in as ever) and maybe you don't want to go to school now, but you'll have a lovely time and we can do stickers again later". He let me do his teeth, we made it in time - result! At 8.50 on Wednesday morning I was asking him to unlock the bathroom door to let me in because we still had so much to do before our drive to school (breathing deeply, stay calm, stay calm - visions of bubblebath and shampoo everywhere...unfounded astonishingly). How hard do we have to work just to get there each morning? Sometimes that post drop off cup of coffee tastes divine :) x

  2. I felt the pain as a read this; I felt it all. I once told the school they should just write "nil" or "can't do it" or "crap" next to CHTs name in the record book of spelling tests, and not make her sit them. Miss out the whole excruciating middle part because the end result would be the same minus the stress. They accused me of having low expectations of her *missed the point entirely*.
    I am so sorry for mini. and for you, to have to add 'performance tests' into the mix of all that we have to emotionally dodge and navigate. Sounds like you both did a great job that morning. I love the way you paint the picture of these crunch point scenarios. x

  3. Gah spelling tests :( We have just recently given up any hope of being on time for anything ever. It has massively reduced the stress levels at this house! This strategy probably wouldn't work with school though. I remember being absolutely hysterical if I thought I was going to be late for school - the shame of it!

  4. I am sorry, I shouldn't be chuckling but you post just reminds me so much of my mornings (and afternoons) with my boys (even though one is home edded and the other boards during the week), and from reading what you have written you managed to stay much calmer than I am ashamed to admit I would have been (I hate being late).