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School a mixed blessing

THERE'S a mixed blessing about kids being back at school.

Oh sure, when you first start visualising the little darlings skipping back to their halls of learning (for me, those visions started three days after the holidays began and coincided with an increased desire for alcohol) it all seems like a one-way ticket to happy street.

The idea of them out of the house and bugging someone else for seven hours straight has undeniable appeal.

Speaking frankly, if my two little treasures had been on school holidays for one more day I don't think me or the hinges on the fridge door could've handled it.

Being back at school brings the added bonus of a break from the continual whining and moaning (theirs as well as mine) not to mention the joy it brings to our neighbours whose fences and windows have endured a battering of missiles in the shape of cricket and soccer balls during the summer holidays.

And while I'm on the subject of neighbours, I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere apologies to everyone within earshot of our street.

If I had known giving my youngest a karaoke thingy for Christmas would lead to so much ear-splitting shrieking and squealing in the quest to emulate pop princess Britney Spears, I would never have bought the wretched thing.

I'm just as upset as you are that I made that purchase and trust me, if my youngest squawks out that Britney song Hit Me Baby One More Time – well, I will.

I may have had a smile on my face earlier this month when I waved off my little pop princess and the grouch (her older brother) to the bus stop, complete with a small fortune in new bags, books, shoes, socks, gym clothes, protractors, compasses (like they're ever going to use those for anything other than stabbing classmates or carving their initials into stuff), calculators, diaries and lunch boxes.

But deep down I knew my joy would be short lived.

I also knew there was only a slim chance both children would still have all their possessions in their possession by the end of February, never mind end of first term.

Apart from the mad morning rush, the cost and the whinging, there is another downside to the kids being back at school.

From day one of term one your household is going to need a DNM, and by default, I'm ours. A DNM needs to have the organisational skills of an obsessive compulsive.

They have to demonstrate a talent for stretching the truth and deciphering cryptic instructions.

A DNM has to know which one of their kids is allergic to what, which kid needs what equipment on what day and which kid will need to be excused from classes for an orthodontist appointment in eight weeks time. There are no excuses for forgetting any of your duties, punishment is swift and mistakes are never forgotten. A DNM must be able to perform under extreme pressure to ridiculous deadlines.

It must also be stated this is an unpaid, unappreciated position that lasts an entire school year.

Plus, although this position involves more work than a canteen helper or reading assistant, it doesn't come with anywhere near the same status.

If you have worked out DNM stands for “Designated Note Monitor” and if you own a fridge door with strong hinges adorned with dozens of fridge magnets to handle countless school notes handed out each term, congratulations, you too are eligible for the job.


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