This week gardener and writer Debbie Webber tackles knotty hair and an even knottier question....
When your child first starts school you may find your conversations, particularly in the playground, revolve around how they are doing.
Inevitably, if you are me at any rate, you will tell the truth, "Erm...okay. Kind of. She's not terribly keen to go. Actually wishes she was a baby still. But, y'know, I'm sure she's happy once she's there."
No doubt, being well mannered, you will ask the question back. Let me tell you if you're in the same boat as me with a not terribly keen little one, don't. Or at any rate don't listen to the answer.I am finding out that all the other reception children, and I do mean all, are just so uncontrollably happy to go to school. They can't wait. They even, get this, want to go on Saturdays! Imagine!
Now either other parents aren't strictly telling the truth or I am doing something wrong. In my strong moments I reason it's because she loves home so much.
In my weaker times, which admittedly are rather more frequent, I think it is all my fault and I have somehow Done Something Wrong in not raising a super confident child. In my saner moments, which are even rarer, I just think four's a bit young.
Her reasons? She doesn't like praying at lunchtime. I am not sure they do this but it is a church school so maybe it's true. There is also not enough playing and they have to do "work".
She also doesn't like having her hair brushed every morning. I'm not sure what she does to it but every day it resembles a bird's nest. There are tears. There is running away. Not by me, although I'm tempted.
This week she even locked herself in the bathroom. On purpose. Knowing we would be really late and my blood pressure rising I coaxed her to open it by whispering sweet nothings through the door.
"I'm trying Mummy," eventually came the plaintive cry from the other side of the door. Not quite the desired response. Visions of me balancing up a ladder trying to get her to open a window or me bashing the door down flashed through my mind.
Eventually she did manage to unlock the door. After a cuddle, her hair was brushed and we weren't that late. All was well with the world. But if anyone asks me how she's doing again, I'm just going to answer "fine!".