The spud's new nursery has a dinner chart on the wall, onto which the women who manage the place list what one's child has eaten in a manner that requires one's own personal Engima machine to decode. Each meal has it's own section and each item within the meal has it's own line. Each child has their own column and various heiroglyphs at the intersection of child and food indicate... zzzzzzzzzzzgphpghph... wha? I'm sorry.
I much prefered the system at the old nursery - they just wrote next to the child's name either 'f', 'g' or 'v' for 'fair', 'good' and 'very well'.
There's a certain amount of pressure on when one picks up one's offspring. Firstly, there is the book. The various events of the day are read out haltingly by an harrassed key worker thus: "Charlie used his motor skills today building docks... I'm sorry, that's blocks... He did some role play in the corner and spent some time playing in the, I think that's the snow.. He had no sleep, please sign here" ...hang on... role play?
Once that's done, provided there have been no 'incidents' which require their own sheet ("Charlie hit his head, please sign here") one is talked through each and every trip, or failed trip to the loo, shown guilty little bags of dirty clothes and then one is dismissed to get one's child out from underfoot as swiftly as possible. This involves gathering possessions, checking one's bag for missing underpants and getting one's little darling dressed; no easy task when they are so overcome with delight to see their aged parent that they have glued themselves to a new train set.
In amongst all this one must sneak over and work one's way to the front of the parental scrum in the hope of decyphering exactly how hungry one's little pumpkin is likely to be for his tea, which as we all know is parental code for 'will he wake up hungry in the night God Help Me??'. The chart takes so long to figure out that most parents either stand there in an hypnotic daze or peer for a moment, mutter 'fuck it' and shepherd their little darlings home to stuff them full of fish fingers. Cough.
Today was a very hungry day. I couldn't work out what the spud had eaten but there were a lot of marks in his column which I think is 'v'. He ate a massive tea, demanding 'more loghurt, more loghurt' until we were out of the stuff and he is now sleeping like... well, like a child with a 'v' in their sleeping column. I hope. Not a baby, from experience. Or a cat.