Nothing turns your blood cold and gets your toes quivering in your shoes faster than when one of your kid's teachers says to you "Can we arrange a chat?".
Shit. Shit, Shit, Shit.
Sorry for the overuse of the word but it is actually a much tamer version of what I was really thinking after the teacher stuck her head through my car window at Kiss and Drop the other day and asked if we could have a chat tomorrow afternoon about my youngest son Flynn.
As we pulled away from the curb, the ruckus started in the back - "What did he do Mum?", "What did you do Flynn" and then the usual "I'm a good boy" from the two who were not in the line of fire this time.
When we got home there was a message on the answering machine and Flynn handed me a note from his bag too.
Crap! They like REALLY want to meet with me.
I rocked up to school the next day for our meeting, looking all brave on the outside but desperately craving a strong Vodka Lime and Soda on the inside. I even took a coffee with me so I could blame some of my excessive shaking on caffeine overload.
Everything was OK. Thankfully he wasn't it any trouble (I hate that I just jumped straight to that conclusion), the poor kid is just struggling a little with his literacy and is going to need some extra help.
Help that is most likely going to end up costing a small fortune.
Our middle son struggled with Dyspraxia for the first few years of preschool and school and the 'help' we needed for him nearly sent us into financial crisis. But of course there is always someone worse than you so basically I need to just quit with the whinging, find a way to pay for it all and get on with things.
My oldest son is a clever clogs who finds school work a breeze .. for now.
I fear I may have taken that for granted.
It's hard not to compare your kids, especially when your oldest has been an easy ride. You naturally blame yourself... well at least I do.
Did I spend more time with one and not enough with the others? Should I have picked this up earlier? Was I ever too smug when I talked about my oldest son with others... you know like one of those mums that brag "ohhhh my baby slept through the whole night within 2 weeks" or "my child could recite the alphabet in 6 different languages before he got his first set of teeth", and this is my justice.
Crap!!! Was I ever one of THOSE mums?
I don't think so... Oh good God I hope not.
I did of course assume that since I already had one really smart one that I had of course gifted my kids with some kind of genius gene. Pfffft - one that didn't really activate in me.
So as the teachers and I started discussing the extra work we will have to do with him at home, I admit I did get a bit teary ... which I promised myself I would NOT do. But of course I did, but only because I have shonky eyes that leak with every emotion. *ahem*
I was desperately hoping they were convinced that I was welling up in empathy for my little boy and his struggle with reading ... which I was... kind of.
But if I am completely honest with you, I was also getting a little emotional at the prospect of more homework.
Homework does that to me.
Later that afternoon as we were at the shops, I bumped into another mum I knew from when Flynn was at preschool and her child now goes to the school across the road from my boys. We exchanged small talk and when she asked how Flynn was going, I immediately began to tell her about my meeting with his teacher.
Without a skerrick of a reaction or a single word of sympathy or anything remotely supportive, she began telling me how her daughter is in the accelerated learning program at her school then started rattling off all her awards.
When she finally finished bragging I literally just stood there with my mouth open and let the *crickets chirping* fill the silence. I was tempted to kick her in the shins and tell her that I was just joking and that the teachers really wanted to sign my Flynn up for Mensa.
But I didn't.
Instead I just made some lamo excuse about needing to be somewhere and walked away.
She was one of THOSE mums. The type of mum that clearly has no understanding of the appropriate time to brag about your child. Of course every parent deserves to brag ... that is a given, but bragging to a mum who has just told you that her child is struggling, is actually like putting an apple on your head at an archery club ..... or something like that.
If I have ever been one of those mums to anyone.... I sincerely apologise.
Clearly my punishment will be the extra hours homework duty every day and the hole in my wallet.
On reflection, maybe it would have been better if the teacher had called me in to tell my son was picking his nose and flicking it at his classmates....
Then again ....