This morning, I dropped Tom off late at school. He was snorting stubborn, snotty sobs about a row we’d had over having his nails clipped. (“You are wrong. I do not need to have my nails trimmed before school. I will not let you do it. I will not keep still. Why do you have to do this to me? You’re really hurting me. This is awful. Why do you have to be so unkind?” etc.)
When I went to collect him this afternoon, he’d undergone a transformation. He was ‘Star of the Day’. He grinned and pointed at his award. There were no tershtificuts left, so his teacher gave him a pirate sticker which he stuck proudly to his jumper (and, I’ve just realised, has now been pulvrised by the washing machine.) He was given his award for “sitting beautifully,” “ignoring someone when they tried to have a fight with me” and “asking a good question about pirates” (“What’s that special pirate sword called?”)
“I’m Star of the Day! I’ve never been Star of the Day before!”
Then I reminded him it was swimming lesson tonight. “I’m Star of the Day and it’s swimming night? This is the best day yet!”
I caught him again, lying on his tummy on the living room floor, his tongue lolling out in concentration as he coloured in a comic. “I’m star of the day,” he whispered to himself two or three times before I abruptly ended Star Day and told him it was time for bed.
There he is on the picture, moments after he arrived five years ago. People go on about that being the best day, but it’s not really. You’re in pain, on drugs, confused, emotional, petrified and leaking blood, milk and tears. I like plain old days like today.