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Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Panic in the streets

This is bizarre, the whole of Dulwich is buzzing. Dulwich mothers are trembling with stress, waiting to see if their little ones will manage to secure a place in one of their chosen schools from the reserve lists.

How dreadful. Before I had the children, I had absolutely no idea that this whole process of securing a place at your chosen school could be so super stressful. Forgive me, I was under the misguided impression, that if you had the money to pay the fees, you could go wherever you wanted. Not so…

My heart goes out to all of them. I feel so privileged (what’s new?). Oh dear, even my sense of humour has abandoned me. That just sounded cruel.

I have had a long discussion this morning with Freya’s head teacher and class teacher. We are all in agreement, that Freya is a very strong willed young lady. She is a natural leader – and yes, I am loathed to admit this too, but she can be rather a bully. We feel that a co-ed environment may be the best choice for Freya. Max puts up with a lot from my baby girl, and little boys may help her to achieve more balance.

In the longer term, we could even look at transferring Max over to School 1 too, thus making the school run substantially easier for any forthcoming au pairs.

Last night we were sure that School 2 was the right choice, now I really am not so sure. The lovely head mistress says we cannot really make a mistake between either school. But then, there are the mothers we know – waiting on the places on the reserve list to consider.

After returning home from the school run this morning, to my horror I was met by Suze - a lovely mum with a daughter in Freya’s class on my door step with a bottle of Crystal (how dare she insult me with such a terribly nouveau riche gift). Whatever is she trying to say? Suze has an older daughter already at School 1, and said she had heard that we would be refusing the place. The bottle (she said) was to congratulate us on Freya's success, and to thank us also, as she was sure that Eliza would now be offered the place.

'Eliza is surely next on the reserve list. Now my two girls shall be together' at School 1.

Oh dear.

I would (I must admit) do most things in my power for my children – but not this. This is out and out bribery. Suze was humiliated, she was begging (the poor, poor thing) and I was simply embarrassed and did not know what to say at all. I invited her in for coffee, and assured her that we would bear her situation in mind, but simply must choose, according to the needs of our little daughter. There is after all no guarantee who would be offered any refused place.

Suze left abruptly and took the bottle with her (at my insistence – does she think we are 'a posse of gangsta rappers'?). We only ever drink Krug or Dom Perignon.

This evening in the queue to collect the boy wonder, another mum of a girl from Max’s class who is on the reserve list for School 2 informed me of how grateful she is that we are turning down the place at that school, as her daughter is top of their reserve list. She said that although she knew we were making the decision based on our daughters needs, she was taking it as a personal favour, and invited us to join her family at their summer house in Tuscany for two weeks during the summer!

OHMYGOD…. This is dreadful. These poor tormented mothers. This could not be more stressful for them. I want to turn down both places now, and run away to live in Wales.

OK, sorry I was hysterical, I can't imagine life could ever get quite that bad.

I hold James personally responsible for this entire fiasco. Stocks and shares are simply posh gambling in my opinion. He should buy instead a super second home - preferably at Poole in Dorset, or even Ireland (so we could join a good hunt), thus cementing our social position for all to see. Mothers far and wide would then realise how wealthy we are, and would realise that offering us a bribe is futile.

Why did James put us in this dreadful position?


Nunhead Mum of One said...

you could always say you're part of the gentlemen farming set - invitation to Mackenzie's birthday extravaganza is on it's way....we're hand making the invitation cards today. Dear me! I'm guessing your cover on my blog has been blown!

dulwichmum said...

Just so long as we say no more than that dear heart, I would hate that crazy lady to come terrorizing me again..

Anonymous said...

Dear DulwichMum
Take heart. If you think this is stressful... You aint seen nothin yet.
What about secondary schools. GCSE choices. Baccalaureats! Finishing School. Oxbridge!
Its all too too much.
I must lie down with another gin n prozac.

dulwichmum said...


I was hoping it was all downhill from here. Would you like lemon and ice in that?

Townleygreen said...

Dear Anonymous (surely that's not your real name?)
My experience (and my offsprings have all moved through the stages you mention) is that the worst stage is definitely getting your sprog into decent schools. The GCSE and A level stage is much less stressful that the ghastly 11+ (or the earlier forms of torture). Dulwichmum, that might offer you a little comfort.

dulwichmum said...

Dear townleygreen,

Thank God for that! I cannot tell you how pleased I am that you found my blog!