I only threw the buggy out a few weeks ago. It was under the stairs, hidden beneath loads of other stuff. It’s not as though I was hanging on to it for sentimentality or anything, I’d just forgotten about it. Then I had to drag it down the hallway and wriggle it out of the front door to Mum’s car and I remembered when that was what I did every day.
I’ve been clearing out the house and there are loads of baby memories: foil blisters of Karvol capsules, abstract paintings, bibs in the dishcloth drawer and dogeared board books. After filling scores of bin bags and the boot of Mum’s car, I think the house is finally clear of most toddler-related paraphernalia (apart from the paintings; they stay.) This is the home of two grown-ups now.
“I won the pupil countstill,” Tom mumbled when I picked him up from school yesterday. He was in the sort of after school mood when he doesn’t want to talk much and says “Oh MUM!” if I want to know more about his day (It tends to get progressively worse throughout the week and is at its worst on Fridays.)
“What’s the Pupil Council?”
I turned back to the playground to go and ask his teacher.
“Has he told you his news?!” she asked, as soon as she saw me.
“Yes, he has, but I don’t know what it means.”
The teacher explained that the school had decided that infants should be involved in decision-making as much as the juniors. Every week, the elected councillors must collate comments, concerns and suggestions from their classmates and take them to a meeting, where they will be noted and raised at the staff meeting. There are two councillors for each year; one boy and one girl. The teacher explained to the children the traits that are required for the role and then they elected two classmates. Tom got seventeen votes.
“Actually it was eighteen.”
“Yes, Jonathan the Crocodile voted for me.”
“Who is Jonathan the Crocodile?”
“He’s a puppet but his vote still counts.”
How much sense a five year old can take to a meeting like this is beyond me. I was involved in that kind of thing at university and it was all complaining about tutors being late for lectures and the price of the bad food in the canteen. I can’t wait to hear some of the points raised. I’m not sure if Jonathan goes to the meetings as well. I keep imagining Tom with a little clip board, clearing his throat and announcing that Year One are demanding as many toys as the nursery kids have. It’s ridiculous but endearing and I am very proud. Although if someone had told me when I was pushing that buggy that Tom would be a Pupil Councillor in a flash of time, I would have laughed. When you have children, time just goes.
I am reading an extract of the book tomorrow on the literature stage at Bad Shoes Festival in Chorlton. I am on in Electrik at 4.30. Come down, there’s a lot more art and music and reading going on and it looks set to be ace. Read more about it here.