Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Head Girl

Last night my middle daughter, who is halfway through Grade 3, decided that when she is in Grade 6 (her final year of primary school), she wanted to be Head Girl.

This came as rather a shock to me, and everyone who was sitting at the dinner table when she announced her decision, because within the family she has a well-established reputation as being both the laziest and most selfish of all the girls.

My husband, who had been Head Boy of his school when he was in Year 7, and who as an adult is drowning in work said glumly ‘there’s so much extra work you’ll have to do, why bother?’

I shot him a look that said ‘perhaps the wrong message to be sending’ and instead turned to my daughter and queried why she would want to be Head Girl.

‘Because I want to sit on the chairs at assembly rather than sit on the floor,’ was her first response.

Swallowing my laughter I told her that probably wasn’t a good enough reason and asked why else she wanted to run for Head Girl.

‘Because I don’t want to leave school without having done something big and important.’


That was not what I had expected her to say.

And she meant it.

With her older sister slumping down in her seat, eyes rolling like a bingo machine, my middle daughter fixed me with a look that said ‘take me seriously’ and then proceeded to spill dinner down her chin.

Even though I had a million ideas that automatically came bursting to my brain, I knew that I needed to leave this one entirely in her own hands. She hadn’t asked for help and I suspected part of her little speech might have been a none-too-subtle dig at her sister who had run for Head Girl and not made it. She has a real talent of going straight for the jugular, something that might come in handy one day as an adult.

‘You know,’ I said to her. ‘If you want to do something big and important at the school, you don’t need to wait three years’.

And that would be the end of it, I told myself.

But later that night she surprised me, while I was naked in the shower (naturally), with some ideas she had. She already had written a letter to the Principal and drawn a picture ‘it’s not my best’, she admitted. ‘I just wanted to start.’

She had come to ask if I would help her make an appointment with the Principal.

Gesturing at my nudity I said ‘not now.’

She glanced at me, as though only just realising I was in the shower and completely wet and naked, and told me ‘I’ll wait.’

Indulge me for a moment while I give some back story – our school is running a fete later this year, and I am up to my eyeballs in it. Her class is running a pet stall, and I have been sewing doggie bandanas and we will be baking jars of dog biscuits. Because I have no idea how well these things will sell, I had always told my daughter that anything we don’t sell, we would donate to the local dog shelter so the dogs could look handsome for their new owners.

Her idea is to collect old towels that the shelter is always asking for, to add to the donation. Everyone at the school is already being asked to bring in their pre-loved toys and clothes and books – why not some old towels as well, she said.

It was a pretty good idea, I thought.

This isn’t one of those excruciating mummy-blogs full of humble bragging mind you. This is blatant bragging! I might have raised one of my children correctly. Hallelujah. Especially since she’s the one we thought would grow up and become a mob boss.

So I have told her that I will back her up with anything that needs adult-ing, but otherwise she has to do this on her own. I think she will do this, after all this is the kid who made some embroidery for Queen Elizabeth (and got a reply) and the kid who sent a thank you note to the show-bag sellers at the Royal Show and got sent a huge box of free show bags.

I’ll let you know how she goes.

Anyone want to buy a bandana for their dog?

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