Another moment of Parenting Excellence…


Regular readers of this blog (so, my Mum and my stalker) will know that I consider myself something of a parenting role model.

There was that time I failed to recognise Flea in her school photo, for example, or the day when I realised she’d been wearing spaghetti sauce on her uniform for pretty much an entire week. And let’s not pass up an opportunity to talk about the time I punched Flea in the face.

Today, I added to this list of highlights with perhaps my greatest achievement to date: causing a full-scale security alert at Flea’s school. Let me begin by just explaining some crucial excuses mitigating factors:

  • I have a head cold. I don’t cope well with illness at the best of times.
  • I went to the dentist today which, given my tooth phobia, is always a difficult time for me, emotionally

Those facts established, I should also mention that post-dentist, groggy from painkillers, I took a short nap.

I woke with a start at 4.40pm and realised – HOLY CRAP! – I hadn’t yet collected Flea from school. Flea’s school late room finishes at 5pm, and the school is about 7 miles from our house. So I raced down to the garage, jumped in the car and drove to school.

As I parked up I looked at the clock on the dashboard – 4.55pm. Phew. My phone was vibrating in my pocket, but I decided to ignore it – after all, I didn’t want Flea to be worrying about where I was, did I? See? I'm such a great Mummy. 

I walked to the school and rang the bell, to be greeted by one of my favourite teachers there, Mrs R. She smiled and let me in, but then looked a bit confused. “I don’t think we have Flea today, do we?”

Awkward pause.

“Well, I don’t know where else she’d be!” I laugh.

I can see Mrs R thinking fast, and she decides Flea must be in the playground where she’s been overlooked by the teacher in charge. We walk through the school to the rear playground – no sign of Flea.

Another teacher is summoned. She hasn’t seen Flea either.

This is starting to get worrying. I wrack my brains, wondering if Flea’s Dad might have collected her. But I spoke with him earlier in the day and he didn’t mention anything. Could he have just turned up and collected her? I start thinking of how I will torture him if he has done something like this.

Registers are checked. Flea’s name isn’t on them. This means she left school before late room started – so at the usual pick-up time.

Someone remembers that the teaching assistant from Flea’s class is still on the premises. She should know who collected Flea. Mrs R and Mrs H, the two teachers running late room, both look horribly upset. I'm still thinking of how I'm going to kill my ex when I get my hands on him. 

My phone is still vibrating in my pocket, indicating I’ve got a message, but I ignore it.

I see the teaching assistant hurrying over to the late room, accompanied by the school groundsman and the head of the infant school. Just as they reach us, a terrible thought occurs to me.

“Is today Thursday?”

Everyone looks at me. Mrs R speaks first. “Yes. It’s Thursday.”


Every Thursday for the past two years my Mum has collected Flea from school and taken her out for tea with her cousins. Then she drops Flea off at my brother’s house, where I collect her and take her home.

I explain this to the gathered teachers, who (to their credit) all reassure me and lie that this is a perfectly understandable mistake and they’re just glad they haven’t mislaid my first-born.

As I return to my car, trying not to make eye contact with anyone, I look at my phone to see a text message from my Mum. “Do you want me to drop Flea home if you’re still working?”

So, the lesson we can take away from this sorry experience?

Check your text messages BEFORE causing a full-scale security alert at your child’s school.



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. Imperfectionist
    19th May 2011 / 7:31 pm

    Don’t worry, I’ve done loads of things like that. Like asking other parents who was bowling at cricket only to be told it was my child. It makes you an official normal parent.

  2. 19th May 2011 / 8:26 pm

    Hilarious. Thank goodness for mothers! Your mother! Could I loan her to get me out of scrapes, she sounds brilliant.

  3. 19th May 2011 / 8:39 pm

    Oh lord, this ranks up there with forgetting the actual date of her birthday… 😉 I’m SURE a parent has done this before at the school, ahem.

  4. 19th May 2011 / 8:46 pm

    Oh, I forgot I did that, too.
    Wow, I suck at this stuff. Poor Flea.

  5. 19th May 2011 / 9:06 pm

    I have tears in my eyes from laughing.
    If it’s any consolation, I once got half way down the aisle of the supermarket before realising it wasn’t my child I was pushing in the trolley. Although to be fair I didn’t really notice, it was the shouting mother who drew my attention to it! My poor baby was still sat in the trolley where I’d left it!

  6. 19th May 2011 / 10:58 pm

    Jesus christ woman, you had me worried there right till the end! Git!!
    You must have been completely freaking out. I know I would have been.
    At least you can turn it into a funny post though eh? 😉 x

  7. 20th May 2011 / 12:07 pm

    That is hilarious… and totally normal… Am sure you aren’t the first this has happened to and probably won’t be the last

  8. 20th May 2011 / 1:21 pm

    Yup, it’s normal, if a bit toe curling! Well done for walking out with head held high! I left my no. 2 in an Ikea trolley once and only realised when no. 1 tapped me as we walked across the car park and said ‘Mummy, shouldn’t we take the baby?’ I’d left him in the trolley with all my purchases while I fetched the car, the Ikea trolley man looked a bit bemused when we got back.

  9. 20th May 2011 / 1:33 pm

    My OH always tells the story that his mum left him in a pram outside a butcher’s and only noticed when his dad got home and commented that the baby was quiet. In her defence, she had 4 older children tho the eldest was about 12 at the time.
    She raced off to the shop and he was fine. Obviously.

  10. Fiona Cooper (@nlpmum)
    20th May 2011 / 6:12 pm

    Something dire happens to the female brain when we first get pregnant, in my experience so far, it never returns….. it’s a bummer, I miss that bit of my brain that remembers things, that can keep track of my kids names, that knows what I went upstairs for and that remembers when my kid is getting an award at assembly before the assembly happens, not just before I collect him from school. Where does it go, this bit of the brain? It’s a bitter irony that it disappears when we acquire kids since it’s then that it would really be most useful 😉

  11. 20th May 2011 / 7:21 pm

    Sorry Sally, but that really made me laugh! It also made me feel better for missing my sons school welcome meeting last week, when I forgot to come home from Blogcamp early! x