By now, I think we're all rather comfortable with the fact that my youngest daughter does not come from this planet. I’m told that she is a 'chip off the old block' meaning me. I feel a mixture of pride & fear when people compare our looks & characters. I wouldn't wish being me on my worst enemy. I have mental wreckage in my brain - the edges of this are not too sharp at the moment, but they have the ability to make my brain bleed. Also I now have to take medication to stimulate every neurotransmitter in my brain. Add this to the rollercoaster of bipolar & you will reach a total that explains why I loathe living in my head. I don’t want my babe to be like me. I pray that my children inherit the Dangerfield teeth, but that the majority of their gene pool is Dicksonian. Thankfully my imp seems to have circumvented all of this for she is the one & only, inimitable Lula.
It was inevitable that Lula & school would not form a partnership made in heaven and so it has proved. At this point I must add that Lula isn't an especially naughty child. She's just a little eccentric & as she thinks outside & around the box without spending much time actually looking in it, her learning strategies are a little different to the norm. She's also easily bored & that's the spark that lights the imaginative, rebellious flame in her. Lula has done a lot of strange things at school & for some extraordinary reason she gets away with many of her antics. Let me illustrate with some examples.
Last Sports Day was a hot one. In the middle of her first race, she halted half way down the course & wandered over to the table where her headmaster & the vicar were sitting and announced, 'It'th too hot for runnin around. Can I lie down?' There was a stunned silence followed by a stuttered acquiescence. All the parents were craning their heads to see what was the matter with the cherubic waddler & most missed the finish of the race.
At the final assembly of last year’s summer term, Lula was given an award. God knows why! Emma R has a good theory about this being a carrot. Anyway, a number of the local dignitaries were sat on the stage (once again including the vicar). When called up to receive her award, she was discovered to be wearing only one shoe. Her headmaster had said encouraging words to the other award winners, but he was so stunned by the appearance of this oik that he couldn't think of anything to say bar a murmured word of congratulations.
I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime & brag for a second. I need to give you a fact to consider during the next instalment. Lula might behave like a little devil, but she has the looks & rounded limbs of a cherub. If you’re casting a Nativity Play & you’ve got a child who wouldn’t look out of place in a biblical setting, it must be very tempting to nab her, scrape the grime off her face, untangle her hair, crown her with tinsel & tell her she’s going to be the Star. As the Star stands at the back & can at the first sign of insurrection be removed from the staging by an athletic teacher, Lula was cast in the part.
It started off so well. The vicar sat in the front row & I’ll bet he was feeling rather proud of the youngest members of his congregation. What happened next wasn’t too bad - Lula didn’t have to be forcibly removed from the stage. The audience did giggle but it was muffled. And I’m sure that the vicar & the headmaster had mentally prepared themselves for another public appearance by Lula Dickson; it would have been remiss not to.
Old Man Dickson was filming the tenth Nativity Play that we have sat through. I forget which stage Mary & Joseph had got to, but the Star suddenly perked up & immediately all eyes were on her. She had spotted her father filming her. There was a little eye rolling but frankly all of the cast either did this or went cross-eyed at some stage in the proceedings. However Lula’s favourite method of communication with her father was to give him the thumbs up sign every few minutes. And that’s what most people were watching. Lula sending her father messages that she was behaving herself & being good. I hope the vicar realised this.
This year her teacher is the tough, no nonsense cookie at school & I like her. Before Lula joined her class, Emma & I compared notes and wondered who would win the Battle of Lu. It took Lula's teacher about a term & a half before she finally admitted defeat. Emma & I both 'cheered' - in our hearts we knew which one had sufficient spirit & devious gumption to win.
Fortunately our little Lula has the mental equivalent of an old fashioned ring through a bull's nose. She wants to be a vet. She has never wanted to be anything but a vet. If you tell her that her maths homework will take her one step closer to her goal, she will apply herself with remarkable diligence. THIS HAS NEVER FAILED. Some of you might think I should have imparted this useful piece of information to her teacher at the start of her year with Lula, but to be honest, it's my key into Lula Land & I didn't want anyone changing the rules of the game. But enough was enough so I shared some of the shortcuts that take me to Planet Lula & things have been reasonably sunny ever since.
Lula does have a gem for a teacher because Mrs Elliott has not delulified her ( my made-up verb of the day!) For instance, occasionally the escapee from St Trinians comes home with her school cardigan on back to front. The first time this happened I asked her how long she'd been wearing it like that & was told ' Thinths thith morning ('since this morning' for those of you who haven't got a lisp). 'What did Mrs Elliott say?' 'Oh she doesn’t mind. She likeths me now I'm good.'
Yesterday a new Lulaism or foible sprang forth. I think I owe you a little background on this one. Until she went to school, Lula thought she was a dog. As she was Child Number III, I didn't bat an eyelid. Child Number I was treated like porcelain & I disinfected everything every single day. Indeed James wanted to buy shares in Dettol & Kleenex! Child Number II has spent most of her life living in a building site so until my third pregnancy reached bursting point, I glued her to me in the hip hold for fear of her stumbling in the rubble, but as there weren’t anything to disinfect, I grew lazy through laissez-faire. Hence my shrugging off the puppy play. (Actually I think it’s quite exciting to be a dog when you’re four. If you can’t be a dog or a fairy or a spaceman when you’re four, when can you do it? I refuse to rush my children through their childhoods - I don’t want the magic spoilt.)
To return to school. Lula hasn’t entirely relinquished her canine status though - she still uses the puppy ploy & I have a rather nasty feeling that yesterday she may have exercised her right to be a dog at school. The scoundrel came home with a black nose - during the morning break, she’d borrowed a Biro & inked in her nose! As yet I haven’t received a phone call from Mrs Elliott, but she may need time to collect her thoughts before tackling me about the dog in her class.
I just hope that the vicar wasn’t in school yesterday teaching his Bible Class. Hasn’t the poor guy suffered enough?