The September Germfest

When kids go home for the summer, I’m convinced that they become little distilleries for mega germs which they store away for September to launch at unsuspecting teachers the minute we return and set them homework.

My personal downfall this year was looking at past social media statements I had made over the past few years about how awful ‘freshers flu’ is and the general germiness of the Autumn. As I read these, I chuckled to myself at how terrible my immune system must have been last year and how I’d escaped scot free because I’m soooo much healthier now. We all know where this is going….

I left school at 5.30pm tonight feeling a bit scratchy, but clutching my box of marking. By the time I got to the kids’ trampolining lesson, I felt sort of heavy, but I’d had a full day with no break (hall & lunch duties made sure that I ate on my feet and just about got a loo break). No biggie. Probably just need to sit down.

Trampolining is a full hour, so out came the marking and I ploughed in with my notaredpen, got the stuff done and actually quite enjoyed the task (mainly because this first programming task was to write a program that tells a joke – wow, they know some REALLY nerdy jokes!). As I got up to collect the kids I sneezed. Oh crap. It’s not hayfever season… Dust? Yes. Dust. Please let it be dust….

7pm, we drive to the station to collect the other adult who’s been in London all day and is on the train back home to us. He’s tired and hungry, but in a good mood and texts me updates on the station as he goes. I sit in the car listening to the kids singing really flipping loudly & wonder why my eyeballs are throbbing.

8pm, kids are in bed. The other adult has been sent out on a mission to fill the car up with fuel & locate soup based food. I change out of the new super smart teacher clothes into slouchy pjs and sit on the bed with the iPad to check emails (nervous parents with homework questions – I have no issue answering them) & put together a bit of a blog post. Then it hits me. Oooh soft bed. Hello bed. Throat sore, head fuzzy, nose itchy. Oh bugger. They got me with their germ warfare.

What they didn’t bank on is me having my own ammunition… I have a bag of pain killers, throat sweets and tissues. I will survive, but will they after I’ve sneezed on their homework?

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I’m Just a Little Black Raincloud (who won’t do her homework)

It’s been a Sunday. We’ve built up a bit of a routine here. Sunday morning is Homework Morning. I have planning to do for the week ahead and it’s the optimum time for BeanPole to address her 2 hours or less of ‘home learning’.

So this morning we started at 8.30. I sat and in between ranting at her for her lack of any productivity, I spent 4 hours creating an array of worksheets, test papers and death by PowerPoint for my lucky lucky students. BeanPole stropped, sighed loudly, scribbled, doodled, and when this did not have the desired effect cried, sobbed, and snotted on her homework sheets (did I mention, she has a mild cold that is putting her at imminent risk of death? The rest of us have the sniffles.). Eventually, my mum ushered her up to their room where she used mum’s desk to actually do her work before I throttled her. Seriously, how hard is it for a G&T 8 year old to write a list of adjectives and ten sentences?! She has a reading age of 13! It took her THREE HOURS.

LSH and I are holding onto the fact that eventually, the more we push the regular time for homework thing, the easier the habit will be and we won’t be having this screaming match with her when she gets daily homework at high school. We’re in denial. Please don’t let this continue for the next 10 years.

My head hurt and being a believer in fresh air, we headed out for a walk. We went to the one place where our family walks MUST take place every autumn!

Back in 2006…

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And then again today…

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Same tree, same family. This is affectionately known as ‘our tree’ – it’s looked like it’s on it’s last legs for years. I love this place. It’s where The Gruffalo used to live when they were diddy. Now it’s a playground for survival camps and catching weird wildlife.

It’s always nice to witness IT Consultant in outside of his natural environment (yes, iPhone in hand, but he was just geotagging the walk….)

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The walk was lovely, and as hoped did all of us a lot of good. The kids when combined with mud, instantly forgot their germy moaning. There was no bickering. Just squishing through the woods with the occasional rushing into the bushes with cries of “I’m Bear Grylls!!”.

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We found things hopping around (thankfully, Miss Grylls decided that eating the frog wasn’t on the agenda).

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As we walked conifers conkers (argh autocorrect!!) were discovered and collected.

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And we collected a bag of sweet chestnuts which have been stored for roasting later on during the week. (Get us foraging for food!)

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Throughout the walk we found a variety of mushrooms – generally unidentified, but very pretty (wont be eating them!).

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Finally, it was back home to make the final bits of the roast ham dinner that had been sitting in the slow cooker in brown sugar for the past 5 hours contemplating its fate. And a resounding success with the Yorkshire puddings! Extra eggs in the batter. Who knew!

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And the cat agreed, we’ve ended the weekend rather relaxed!

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Fresh air. Curing all ills from homework tantrums, to the common cold!

It’s Not The Plague, You Sneezed.

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It’s nearing the end of September, we’ve bundled our kids in stuffy rooms full of other kids, what possible side effect could that produce? Oh yes. Germs.

I’ve spent the past 10 days with an on off stuffy nose and sore throat which may or may not just be my body fighting off the barrage of infection that each class arrives with on a daily basis. This is generally dealt with through paracetamol during the day and a sneaky gargle of brandy in the evening (for medicinal purposes only you understand!).

BeanPole is now also suffering the ill effects of ‘fresher’s flu’ ie. she has a cold. She does indeed suffer them badly as she and I both have a touch of asthma so the wheezing that follows is less than pleasant. But, for the record, the child is not dying. Today we stopped swimming early as she was feeling bad. Ok, fair enough. I got out with her and we had a nice hot chocolate together while we waited for LSH and TinyPants who was still in her lesson. Later, she couldn’t possibly do her Kung Fu exam as she was too ill…. She just wanted to sit quietly and read her book. So BeanPole sat quietly with us while I got through some marking and off TinyPants went and round-kicked her way through to her junior level 8 sash (#proudmummy). After Kung Fu we trundled off to the roller disco (total highlight of my week) and once again, BeanPole was struck down with can’t possible move my legs as I am DYING. So she sat the whole session out reading while we whizzed around playing tag at a rate of knots we’ve rarely reached before! There’s one less session at the gym.

Strangely enough, this deathly illness has absolutely no effect on her ability to play computer games or watch TV, or eat sweets….

Now I’m totally up for all this reading (she’s got through Charlotte’s Web in under a week!) but the child needs to move! She needs to get some red blood cells pumping and accept that a bit of snot generally doesn’t kill anyone. We are not withholding the Calpol, we are providing hot drinks, but just like the rest of society, unless you are actually being wheeled into an ambulance, you can quit fishing for a day off school.

Sincerely,

Your unsympathetic, but ultimately thinking of your future work ethic, Mother.

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