New schools are terrifying, lots of new people stood about in established groups, rituals and greetings established. Most have obviously grown up in pre schools and nurseries together and share a history that we have not been part of. However twin boy, twin girl and I have tried to fit in. To be honest the twins are doing a lot better than me. Twin boy has befriended a boy who can produce a competitive amount of green stuff from his nose, so they are clearly friends for life; he also has a trusted circle of pirates that he can turn to for new hints on how to cause significant pain with daggers made of foam and swords made of plastic. Twin girl has found herself chair of the school mothers union, they meet every playtime to look after their silent babies, exchange head lice and discuss the latest going ons in Scooby Doo.
Now for myself, I have managed a few hellos and howdoyoudo’s, but to honest even beautiful baby manages to strike up more conversations that I do some mornings. Last week she sneakily pretended to have chronic wind as caused by me rushing her feed so we could manage the school run, so as I was out of Rennies I turned her to face over my shoulder and gave her back a good rubbing. In this time she managed to engage the three mums behind me by merely smiling with open gums. Within seconds she had broken down all barriers and they were all grinning and welcoming her into their group. She even committed a social faux pas by throwing up on the floor in mid conversation but they merely wiped her chin and the incident wasn’t even mentioned again. Whilst beautiful baby continue to regale the gang with her life story told in grins and gurgle’s I was forced to stand like Nelson on his column whilst she chatted away over my shoulder to anyone that would listen.
However on Friday we had a breakthrough, we arrived in the playground early, I left beautiful baby at home so she wouldn’t steal all my potential new friends. Without her glued to my arms I felt a little naked but nonetheless I was determined that I would engage with someone, I would make a schoolyard friend. I saw a friendly looking face across the playground and was all set to go over and say hello when twin boy decided to show me how fast he could run and unfortunately ran very fast and missed said mother’s son who managed to position himself right in twin boy’s 15 meter track. My planned conversation of ‘hello, how are you?’ quickly turned into ‘Gosh I am really sorry’ and ‘yes he does need to look where he is going doesn’t he!’
So I identified a new target, someone whose child my son had yet to make cry; one of twin girl’s new friends’ mummies.
I said ‘hi’,
She said ‘hi’ back.
That was all I needed, suddenly I had a buddy and for the next five minutes all was right with the world, we chatted about the higher standard of school dinners, compared notes on parking problems and discussed how well all the children were doing. I refrained from reverting to my usual sarcasm and we seemed to be getting along just fine.
Then twin girl declared;
‘Mummy, it’s my friend’s birthday’
Twin boy’s ears pricked up – being a little bit, shall we say stumpy for his age he is a little sensitive about people being older than him as he sees it as a reflection on his being shorter than the average four year old (his logic not mine). He slinked over to my side and raised the question:
‘Well, how old is she?’
Twin girl’s friend declared with pride in her voice;
Twin girl, who also doesn’t really like people in her school year being older than her took a long appraising look at her friend and said ‘well I am longer than you and you are older than me so that’s fine.’ Again in a four year old world apparently things can equal out if one is taller and one is older.
Myself and twin girl’s friend’s mum chuckled to each other to see such a cute little exchange, both forgetting for a moment the younger, shorter one by my side.
‘Well’ twin boy declared puffing out his chest and trying to be taller than 3ft 8inches.
‘I am four and a half and I am littler than you.’
I begin to prepare myself at this point for minor hysterics as there was no hiding from the truth but actually he seemed to be dealing with his shortness and younger years remarkably well, then I watched with nervous anticipation as a smile has even began to snake its way across his little face.
‘But’ he drawls ‘I don’t mind.’
I waited to see what golden nugget would follow this quite surprising deceleration
‘Because you are five you are older than me so you will die first!’
A significantly awkward silence descends and ricochets across the schoolyard, I held my breath but then luckily twin girls new friends mummy giggled so fingers crossed I may still have a new friend on Monday.