Diary of a Primary School Mum: 'Then I get the phone call every mother dreads...'

Dust is being wiped off baby toys for the summer fete when the phone rings. "Hello, is that Claire's mummy?" It's the call no mother wants to receive. Claire's at school, this sounds like Miss Perry, bad news is clearly coming. My heart goes into freefall and the jack-in-a-box resting in my palm tumbles to the floor. "It's Miss Perry," says the caller. Worst fears are confirmed. My mouth dries up like the Sahara. Unable to speak, I let Miss Perry continue. "There's been a bit of an accident in the playground. Claire and another child collided with one another and she's got a bit of a bump. We're putting a cold compress on it, but she says she's feeling a bit dizzy. Do you want to pick her up?"

The word "bump" has a calming effect. Saliva production resumes, absent-mindedly I dust a spinning top. Cloth in hand, surrounded by a pile of toys to rival Everest, reasoning begins. Does Claire feel dizzy because she feels dizzy, or has the idea been put into her head? "What's your gut feeling?" I ask Claire's teacher. "I think she's fine, but whenever a child receives an impact to the head we have to inform the parent."

A decision is made. The school's round the corner. Should my daughter take a turn for the worse, I'd be there in a flash.

At pick-up time, Claire's remarkably unfussed. Her right eye sports a shiner, but nothing overly dramatic. After dinner, however, it's all change. The wound visibly swells before me until it's as if a black ping-pong ball has been cosmetically attached to her eyelid. Claire spots her reflection. "Oh, my God," she wails, "I don't look very beautiful."

This is an understatement. Claire looks as if she has met a door knob at speed, and Oliver's promise (a display of genius) that it resembles pretty eye-shadow does little to comfort. I hold frozen peas to the bruise, then dollop on a healthy smear of arnica. All that's left is to pray.

Prayers unanswered, the following morning Claire plants herself in front of the mirror. "I look funny," she moans. Such is the damage that her eye has completely shut. There's a circle the size of a cup around it, painted in every shade of purple and grey. The moans continue and crescendo, bar a brief respite over breakfast when a picture in the newspaper I'm reading grabs Oliver's attention. "Who's that?" he asks. "That's Mugabe," I say. "And why's he in the papers?" Oliver continues.

The truth is hardly five- year-old fodder, so I soften it. "He's the leader of an African country, and he isn't being good to his people." Claire's ears prick up. "Ooh, does that mean he's a baddie?"

World politics forgotten, we head to school. Dodging boisterous boys kicking balls, the danger of the playground becomes all too apparent. We spot the little blighter who caused the "bump" (not a scratch on him), and while the children don't bat an eyelid at Claire's new look, their mummies can't hold back. Claire tolerates (just) the winces and comments, but when Miss Perry opens the classroom door and pulls a face, it proves a wince too far: Claire burrows her head under my T-shirt, refusing to go in.

"That's it," I promise, "there'll be no more wincing. Your classmates won't care. You still look beautiful." She detaches herself from my clothing, offering her war wound up for inspection. "I don't look at all beautiful," she protests. "I look like I've been in a fight with Mugabe!"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Arts and Entertainment
(L-R) Amanda Peet as Tina Morris, Melanie Lynskey as Michelle Pierson, Abby Ryder Fortson as Sophie Pierson, Mark Duplass as Brett Pierson and Steve Zissis as Alex Pappas in Togetherness
TV First US networks like HBO shook up drama - now it's comedy's turn
News
i100
Travel
Pool with a view: the mMarina Bay Sands in Singapore
travel From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
News
The will of Helen Beatrix Heelis, better known as Beatrix Potter, was among those to be archived
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
News
Nigel Farage: 'I don't know anybody in politics as poor as we are'
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: MIS Officer - Further Education Sector

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Operating throughout London and...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect