The Rule Keeper


Every so often, I find myself browsing job ads, thinking how lovely it would be to have someone else take care of paying me each month, rather than the rollercoaster ride of running my own business. 

Then, at some point, I remember that I am fundamentally unemployable. 

I'm not kidding, either. My editor once wrote in my performance appraisal, "Sally sometimes has issues dealing with authority figures." Since I was dating him at the time, I felt this was unfair and called him a tosser. He updated my appraisal to say, "Sally sometimes also has temper issues." 

Anyway, it's safe to say I've never been a big worrier about rules, especially if I think they're stupid. I suspect, though, my daughter hasn't inherited this trait. 

Today,  I dropped Flea off early to school – there's a breakfast club from 7.30am and since I've got a lot of work on this week, I thought having an extra hour in the office would be a good thing. 

So we got up, had some breakfast, made the drive to school and arrived at school at 7.45am. I got out of the car and looked down to find Flea by my side, looking worried and tearful. 

Immediately my working parent guilt came into play. Oh God, here I am, dumping my child into extended hours purely so I can earn a living. I am such a terrible parent. Clearly, she is devastated at being dropped off early, and really just wants to have our usual, slightly pathetic morning routine. 

I crouched down and gave Flea a big cuddle. "Darling, what's the matter?" 

Flea took a big breath in to steady herself and managed to whisper, "It's just that… I can't go to breakfast club." 

"Honey, why not?"

More tears. 

I start thinking. School doesn't open for another 45 minutes but I suppose we could just wait in the car. We could listen to Flea's new Harry Potter audio CD, maybe, but… I decide to give it one more go. 

"I thought breakfast club was fun. Why can't you go?" 

By this time there are fat tears rolling down Flea's cheeks. "I can't go to breakfast club because I've already had breakfast, and I'm not allowed another one, am I?" 

Oh dear.

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