Yesterday I felt like a kid again. But not in a good way.
My little boy has started at a posh new school. The first week was disastrous - they lost him, he nearly missed lunch. When he did find lunch he only ate potato claiming that was all they ever put on his plate.
He kept smiling though, while those around him cried. I was an emotional wreck, but he seemed to be coping with change and a truly eccentric school uniform. He did really well in all his lessons and his homework. And, huge sigh of relief, he started to make friends.
Then yesterday, I go to pick him up and he greets me with a big hug. "I love this school Mummy," he said beaming.
I asked how he did in his spelling test - no response. I hunt in his bag - no test book. I suggest I should ask his teacher. He grabs my arm and says "no!" vigorously - which makes me much more keen to ask the teacher.
Let me describe her. Imagine Mrs Thatcher's more assertive sister, wearing glasses, Dustin Hoffman's voice in Tootsie (and his wardrobe). Add in a touch of menace. I'll call her Mrs X for fear of reprisals.
Mrs X had already frightened the pants off me in the parent's information evening. "If Henrietta won't do her homework, just write a note in her homework diary and I'll take care of it. She won't ever give you any trouble again, believe me."
Mrs X went on to describe,"her wiggerly, waggerly finger that can get very itchy". Behind her on the board were a scribbled list of children - some were "stars" others were ominously "spots". My son's new best friends were all in the blemished department of course.
Anyway, yesterday I bravely asked Mrs X about the missing spelling test while my lovely angelic six-year-old attempted elongating my cardigan sleeve and getting it to stretch to the car.
She appeared sinisterly backlit now I relive my humiliation - I was having flashbacks all night.
"We're changing the timetable, so no spellings today. But it was a very, very bad day today wasn't it?"
I could have sworn her rodent-like eyes glinted as if enhanced by the same CGI people who did the scary titles for Marco on Hell's Kitchen.
I'll cut to the chase. My son had been looking up girl's skirts, pulling their hair and playing a very rough version of Star Wars with his new mates.
And Mrs X said, "His behaviour is not up to an acceptable standard."
Guilt and parenthood have always been best mates.
All those hours blogging about Poodles. All those years doing dog magazines. I've raised a hooligan. I might as well have been out binge drinking!
I felt my bottom lip going, my son however was nonchalant and seemed totally unaffected by Mrs X's menacing stare.
I know, he's six. He's a boy. But I still felt like I'd raised a Kray twin at that point.
The other morning my recidivist son said to me as he was cleaning his teeth, "When you were little mummy, did you want to save the world?"
Before I could answer, he said, "What happened?"
Makes it all worthwhile somehow!