Thursday, February 05, 2009

To eat perchance to dream

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.

7 comments:

Jennie said...

It's so satisfying to be a parent when offspring eats up!

Why is it called tea? Is tea drunk with the meal? Were the English previously so destitute that tea was all there was? It's always baffled me.

Sparx said...

Jennie - I need some help here from a proper Brit now.

I think it's some sort of Victorian nicety which effectively meant that around 5-6pm there is tea and some light snacks, with the main meal 'dinner' being eaten rather earlier, perhaps around what we call 'lunch' time but I may be wrong. If you're still hungry after tea you can have 'supper' which is normally small, hot and late. I think.

Anyway, nowadays 'tea' is what you feed the kids around 5-6pm while 'dinner' is what you have with friends around 8. Nobody seems to have 'supper' any more. This is of course ignoring breakfast, elevenses, lunch and 'four-o-clocksies' which have no name but is about when the nurseries feed what THEY call 'tea' to the kids.

I need a lie down now. Can any real Brits help me out here?

Jen said...

This cracked me up - maybe because I used to work in daycares and I remember those glazed over looks from parents when they looked at charts, or I handed them a bunch of handouts for them to read or sign. Now that I have a kid I have such a different perspective - I would be a much better teacher, or at least a more sympathetic one.

Michelle said...

Sounds like a headache, Sparx!

Jonny's Mommy said...

I take my child to a lady who isn't certified and doesn't have charts. She usually doesn't tell me anything unless he's fallen, thrown up, or refused his nap. Oh, or if he's thrown a hair brush at her and she had to give him time out. Like the other day. Some days she makes me feel like a crap mom, informing me he doesn't "eat/sleep/breathe/yawn/smile/interact/run/whateverthe hellnewthinghedoesn'tdo like every other 2-year old she has watched in her 17 years of watching children.

By the way, we love her. :-) And I'm serious. Even if I complained up there.

DJ Kirkby said...

The nursery sounds amazing! Seriously. N3S's old nursery couldn't get rid of him fast enough at the end of the day, they sure wouldn't have spent time taking me through his day with them! If they had I expect I would have taken him out of there even sooner...

Sparx said...

Jen - I reckon by the end of the day they're pretty dazed themselves; I try not to ask too much but I hate walking out not knowing what kind of day he's had...

Michelle - indeed; the price for a good nursery though...

JM - I think it's hard to tell a parent anything about their child without getting some sort of a negative reaction though. Glad you've got someone you like, it's really hard, hey?

DJ - I'm glad he's out of there, they sound rubbish.