Its the Junior School disco tonight.
Daughter, nine, has picked out her sparkly t-shirt, sparkly belt, applique denim skirt, best new trainers and necklace. She has announced that she will not be going in a dress like last time as dresses are for sappy curly girls really. She has booked a bath and hairdressing session with me, a 'girls' night in' before the big event, and has asked if she might have a little make-up.
Entry is £1, it runs from 7.45 to 9pm (past her bedtime; very exciting) and has been the sole topic of conversation for two days.
She no longer hides her eyes or pretends to puke when characters on TV kiss, but still insists she will remain single and adopt a child, because she wouldn't mind getting married but wants to have a baby and is adamant that she isn't going to do all that yukky kissing stuff just to get one. Yesterday she broke from disco talk to tell me that she drew a picture at school, of a princess in a 'tirara' and that she thinks she will call her adopted daughter Rosette, or Rosetta. Hmm, so its a prize for a horse, or an indecipherable old stone.
Her older brother, ten, has been acting pretty casual about the disco. Daughter told me she doesn't need money for the tuck shop, so long as she gets a drink of water, because she looks forward to dancing all night and singing her head off. She also told me that Son should get pocket money because what he likes most about the disco is being able to flash the cash and buy drinks for his friends. She is like me, and he is like his older brother and, come to that, my brothers also; I seem to have produced a girl who likes to ride the high and dance til she drops and a boy who likes to seem suave, commanding and generous. Loopy Lou and James Bond.
My little 007, however, has gone and blown it. He has a half hour detention to face on Monday and is therefore banned from the big event tonight. He was in the lunchtime club, doing a very bad job of waiting for his turn on the computer, until he harrassed the child who was playing on it to the point that he forfeited his turn altogether. The teacher (Mrs Jackson) said "That's it, I warned you, you've lost your turn today." Son has this amazing way of opening his mouth and bypassing his brain altogether and replied, in front of a group of younger children, "Oh and aren't you just Mrs Sarcastic-Jackson."
He was red eyed and struggling to come to terms with this on the way home. I don't think he makes things up, I just think he is incredibly bad at reading his own feelings; he tends to go for the rationally obvious reason rather than the real one. I do that too, sometimes, so for the whole walk home we peeled the layers like an onion.
Surface upset No 1: The disco. He insisted he couldn't give two hoots about missing the disco.
Surface upset No 2: The other boy, Son says, ate his lunch super fast and had extra time that way, then kept saying he had pushed a wrong button by accident and got extra time that way too. He was, he said, very upset at how unfair this was.
Son is to computer games as a moth is to flame. He simply cannot control himself if someone else is playing instead of him - he is there; hovering, suggesting, clockwatching and being a pest.
We had a little chat about how school took a piffling five hours out of a whole twenty four, that lunchtime club took only one hour, and school computer time took less than that. We worked out that he gets and hour of computer time at home before school and at least an hour and a half after school; so that if Mrs Jackson and Other Boy want to be awkward, he could just stay polite and let them get on with it, because heck, even if the whole of school was spent with other people being weird it was still nothing, because he could have life all his own way at home, for more waking hours than school takes up.
He had never thought of it that way. He said so. I got a hug, (very unusual, in the street.)
Surface upset No 3: Spending a weekend waiting to do a half hour detention on Monday. Once I pointed out that long detentions got done at lunchtime, that this meant half an hour doing some work in peace and quiet with the headmaster instead of having to put up with lunchtime club and Mrs Sarcastic-Jackson his face lit up. Repeat exclamation and hug.
Real reason (No 4): The disco. A big issue after all. Not because of any of the usual attractions, but because there is a girl in his class called Carla and he was working up to asking her for a slow dance at the end. At this point his little voice broke as he told me, his eyes got red all over again and he shoved his hands in his pockets and walked faster. He has never asked a girl for a dance before - normally they give up and ask him.
We solved it. I asked his sister how she would feel if a boy in her class brought her a rose in front of everybody because she was pretty and he didn't dance with her at the disco. The gooey, eager smile on her face convinced him.
He has declined taking a gift/love token (crush token I guess, really) to school on Monday morning, because he fears some of the lads would almost definitely spend all week calling him gay. He has declined the idea that Daughter might take it to the disco on his behalf because that wouldn't be personal enough. No, I am to take the gift to work with me on Monday, hang on to it, go directly to school to get there early for the end-of-day bell so we can catch Carla before she goes home, and he is going to make the presentation just after hours, in person, but with a level of discretion he feels comfortable with.
Crises over. Halle-flippin'-lujah.