A school's tribute to my excellent parenting skills

Can I help?

Related Topics
It's Wonderful that my life-partner Chris is around - back for two weeks from Namibia - as we've been called in to see the children's head. I'm thrilled that we can use some of our quality time as a couple to work on a good relationship with the kids' teachers.

Our relations with the school have been a bit up and down since I made my stand on uniform. I knew Timon and Esme would be inhibited by the sad blue and grey skirts and shorts, so I sent them off in jeans and brightly coloured T-shirts. "I don't want my children to be more bricks in the wall," I explained to the headmaster. Frankly, I doubt he even got the Pink Floyd reference. Instead, he got quite aggressive and summoned the education authorities. After I had made repeated visits to the school - he refused to come for help at my clinic - he gave way. "Well done," I shouted after he'd ushered me out of his door the last time. "You've finally let go of your dominant male need to bend those weaker than yourself into conformity."

But the other day I was very upset when I found a grey skirt and a blue pullover in Esme's lunch box. "What are these clothes doing here?" I said in a soothing but firm voice.

"I'm borrowing them from Sophie. Everybody else wears them," she said.

"Do you want to be just another cog in the wall, Esme? Another brick in the wheel? Don't you want to be Your Own Person?" I said, removing the clothes and making a mental note to lend Sophie's mum my book, Parenting The Individual.

Timon, who is less insecure, has benefited enormously from being uniform- free. He loves wearing his "Mad Max" shirt and I've heard from several mums that his self-assertion skills have blossomed as a result.

But I had to complain to the headmaster about Toy Day, when the children are allowed to bring in their own toys. I told him that Toy Day was turning the kids into Toy Imperialists. Esme came back from school crying: "Everybody else had dolls. Nobody liked my cardboard-box garage."

Timon was also crying. "Josh had a Power Rangers gun." My reply was soothing but firm: "I don't believe in gushing sentimentality for girls. I don't believe in symbols of military aggression for boys."

Last week I found myself having to draw another picture for the head illustrating the negative side of literacy skills. I'm not anti-books as such but I'm a great believer in Direct Experience for children. I've hidden cake recipes from Timon and personally overseen Esme flush the instructions for her aeroplane assembly kits down the toilet.

Mum: "How can you ever break out of the conforming mould and find your inner self if you're always following instructions?"

Timon: "This cake's like a paving stone."

Mum: "Isn't it wonderful that every cake is an individual in its own right?"

We drove to school as a family, which I thought would be a good time for Spontaneous and Carefree Chat in a Controlled Environment. On this occasion Esme was busy reassembling soggy pieces of instructions and Timon was feeling not very positive after I told him he couldn't wear his gun holster to school. We had a Calming Silence Together.

The head was sitting behind his desk when we arrived. When will he learn not to put barriers between himself and the rest of the world? He was sitting with his arms and legs crossed, body language which spells one word: extremely unreceptive.

Head: "We must talk about Timon, Mr and Mrs Sinclair..."

Mum: "Chris and Penny, please. Though we were married for organisational reasons 10 years ago we consider ourselves equal life-partners."

Chris: "Penny, let him have his say."

Mum: "Are you trying to undermine our partnership of equality with male aggression, Chris?"

Head: "...I don't think we can keep Timon as he is."

Mum: "We don't want him put up a class. We're not pushy parents. I'm a professional in the world of child psychiatry. Every child needs to be with his or her own peer group."

Chris: "But if he really is cleverer than the others..."

Mum: "By disagreeing with me, Chris, you are revealing your guilt at being a Partially Absent Parent. Why not just say 'sorry'?"

Head: "If I might step in for a second. I wanted to suggest that Timon requires individual tuition. He must be kept away from his class-mates as much as possible."

I was over the moon. I took this as a tribute to my skills in Parenting The Individual. The other parents were thrilled, too. Hugo's mother was cock-a-hoop. It's wonderful that other mums can share my joy in giving due recognition to a Gifted Child.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager - Software & Services

£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager...

Recruitment Genius: Exhibition Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding B2B exhibition and...

Recruitment Genius: QA Technician

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer of re...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, an experienced and hig...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, who has its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival  

FAO Jamie Dornan: For a woman, being followed is not 'exciting' — it's humiliating and all too familiar

Mollie Goodfellow
By pretending to be a man, Mulan was able to join the army, defeat the Huns, and save China  

Disney is making a live-action Mulan? Well, that's one way to ruin the best film they've ever done

Helen Pye
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat