Vote Hairy

I am very seldom genuinely pleased with myself.

Today, I am pleased with myself.

(With the notable exception of my ovaries, alas, which, on day 11 of IUI stims this week, were dropping the gonad equivalent of a moonie, blowing a derisive 11mm raspberry, and severely imperilling the scheduling-end of next week, when I have 2 days on which I Absolutely Bloody Cannot Spend Half A Day In Hospital, am Busy with Important Stuff, JUST NONONO CANNOT BE DONE. Bastard things. They know, I swear they know. AND the lead follicle is on the left, damnit. It’s never on the bloody left. I banked on it not being on the bloody left. *Headthunk*)

You may remember I constructed a straw bale Bride & Groom a wee while back. Or, more truthfully, I thought it up, scribbled diagrams on the back of envelopes in the pub (I really did do that, in fact), foraged among the fert bags for materials, fabricated all the gubbins, then leaned heavily on John and his father to actually stack and secure them. I was the shrieking girl with the clipboard, they were hanging half out of the tractor and yelling back why it couldn’t be done, I was stamping my foot and saying that it bloody well could, and  they…  well, you get the picture. Discreet trailer-propping and a few ropes later, and Bob was obligingly our uncle.

We took a few scrappy photos. A nice local amateur photographer called Steve Felton saw them, took photos at dawn the next morning, and entered a fabulous one

into the massively popular BBC Countryfile’s photographic competition. It proceeded to battle it out with 55,000 other photographs… and it won.

It bloody well won.

My straw people will have their own month on the 2012 BBC Countryfile calendar, and I am seriously as delighted as a little piggy in poo about it.

Now, of the 12 winners, there follows a vote for Best in Show. They are showing them on this Sunday’s Countryfile, 11th Sept at 7.30pm, and viewers then choose an overall winner.

If you should happen to be watching… vote for Hairy straw bales!

Harry’s first week at school went exactly how I thought it might: mixed, but fundamentally Awright. They found Harry changing his own very wet pants on the first day, and I felt completely out of our depth when I asked if they’d reminded him to go at break-time. ‘Yes, but we wouldn’t know if he’s one of the ones who went or not’. Eeeep. Ok. That’d be the Not At Nursery Anymore, Fostering Independence-stuff I’d heard about, then. They evidently learnt by the experience, as Harry has had dry pants at pick-up the rest of the week and has mentioned being asked by teachers to visit the toilet. Although, I did quite narrowly avert him from taking a quiet leak behind the school toy shed at pick-up today.

He is full of enthusiasm for school, per se; all keen to go and seems to be enjoying it. His teachers have already cottoned on to his fiercely independent problem-solving approach – asking for help is just not a Hairy thing whatsoever at all – and both say that they have got the general gist of absolutely everything he’s said; the boy described in his Statement, they agree, is not at all who they have in the classroom. He is falling less then they thought he might. They are impressed with his progress, and very upbeat. 

I think he’s troubled on some levels by the new-ness of it, naturally. He’s suffered weepy melt-downs over the sky being the wrong shade of blue as soon as he’s reached home every day, and has been sleeping his first-ever 12-solid-hours, even though they’re only doing 9-12 this week. I worry a little about his social skills, as his communication delay has left him rather more likely to meet & greet by delivering sudden bear hugs than saying Hello – the resulting melée usually resembles a rolling maul as the startled recipient takes fright and flight and cannons into other children in their haste to escape Harry’s headlock-of-iron.

Communication is a factor in his (as yet) inability to manage playing en masse, I think; groups seem to centrifuge him out almost immediately, and this morning I saw him join, then bounce straight off, a cluster of the 4 other boys in his class, and promptly seek one-to-one play with a girl (the class is 5:10 boy:girl, I think, but they all move a bit too quick to tell) instead. He was most crestfallen today when he told me that ‘no-one listened’ to his Show & Tell about London, and my heart ripped neatly in half; he’d been so excited about the prospect this morning, and I can’t help but be curious about what actually went on.

I am shitting bricks about his staying for school lunches next week, as it seems he will have to carry his own tray of food – with a drink – over to a table and actually get on with eating it by himself. Ruh-Ro. I had a hasty word with the food-servers today, but even so, I can foresee that going spectacularly… badly. I managed to mention textural aversion and dyspraxia, so they know he’s quite liable to A) baulk at the sight of some foods and B) drop any food they do succeed in giving him all over the floor, but…yeah. Concerned. And mildly wondering why the school dinner supervisors don’t already know who he is, given that they are supposed to be acquiring an extra one mainly to keep a weather eye on him – but maybe his teachers are supervising breaktime currently. I dunno. It’s really early days, and I didn’t want to collar the Head in her first week back; I will do next week. And perhaps the best way through this is for Harry to demonstrate through trial and error what he can and can’t manage, rather than me trying to iron out the wrinkles ahead of him. Most of it he’ll sail through just fine, and a dropped tray isn’t the end of the world – it’ll highlight the issue louder than I could. It’s just that I remember the roar of sarcastic applause that used to echo through my high school dinner hall when, once or twice a year, someone’s tray went down with an almighty clatter. He’s… quite young and small for that, you know? And… I don’t know what he’s doing, who he’s playing with, or if anyone is going to be standing close enough to assist him if he hits difficulties. And I am a control freak, as well as a parent of a Statemented child, to boot. So, excuse me while I chew the furniture in continuing anxiety.

However, I was touched that a couple of the older children appear to have taken him under their wing; Harry’s minibus driver from School Fabulous had told his son to look out for Harry, and son & friend have been playing with Harry at break-time, they tell me. Several children have smiled and said hello to us as we’ve left at lunchtime, everyone has been friendly and welcoming, and I essentially feel reassured and confident that he’s in the right place.  I just wish they knew him better already.

And yes, yes, yes, of course I snivelled the first day. All the way across the car-park, and all the way home. Only John saw, so it DIDN’T COUNT.

A delivery driver saw me the second day, so that may have counted a little.

Third day I was dry. Well done, Me.


21 Responses

  1. Everyone dry by hometime! Yay!

    I will be totally pressing the vote button eight-squadrillion times. I love your hay-bale couple. I must buy the calendar. I must buy several.

    I guess they’ll understand the vital importance of keeping an eye on young Harry in the dinner hall after the first time his tray hits the deck. But, remember, the sarcastic cheers where in HIGH SCHOOL. Not primary. In primary, they ALL drop things at some point. Like with the wet pants. I confess – I peed myself at primary school, and on more than one occasion too. And WELL DONE Harry, for grimly changing his own. At school. In a new situation. I am so impressed. I cried. Every time. And had to wear someone else’s spare pants from the accidents drawer. I still remember that one of these legendary spare pairs was pink with orange flowers. The seventies have a lot to answer for.

    So glad it’s all gone well so far, and he’s intelligible, and has kids to be nice to him. Ouch about the show-and-tell, and not getting to join in group play. That however may be as much to do with his being brand new to the school as communication difficulties. Even articulate little Minx used to come back home the first two weeks with a sad face because no one would play with her. But, yes, it made even my heart twinge for him.

    *Holds hand*

  2. WELL DONE on the photos, and totally well deserved. It was a fabulous idea, fabulously executed.

    I have had Morningtown Ride in my head solidly for 2 days now. I have been singing it to my children, so that it becomes a part of their childhood as it is a part of mine. They’re too old really, but never mind.

    How COULD they not listen to his show and tell? I am cross, and I’m on a different continent.

  3. And I will definitely vote!

  4. I’m fairly certain that age 3-5 is the stage of “I don’t really know how to act, but everyone loves a hug, right?”. So barrelling into others is probably a daily occurrence for all of them. Also, the show and tell – sooooo heartwrenching! But again – attention spans of gnats. What can you do? And the tray dropping will most certainly happen – for everyone. It’s pre-school. It’s where you learn how to interact with your classmates.

    My daughter’s “boyfriend” switched to a different daycare where the boys are apparently not very nice. So he plays with the girls, has developed an interest in Hello Kitty, and had to be talked into the dog pillow pet rather than the pink and purple unicorn. Stop worrying so much!
    Congrats on your wedding couple – they are quite awesome! Wish I could vote for them…

  5. My special needs son started Kindergarten this week. I’ve been perseverating about this day for the past two years. He did beautifully. Just a few rough minutes at the beginning of the first day and then beautifully.

    But oh how scary!

  6. Wow! A photo in the countryfile calendar means you’re proper famous!
    I still have the sheep that won last year as one of my computer backgrounds.
    Harry sounds like he’s getting on fabulously, and long may it continue.

  7. One thought re the show and tell, I wouldn’t count on the accuracy of what he said. “No one listened” may mean “One person got up to go to the loo” or “I felt really scared and so I looked at my shoes while I was talking” or “I’m generally finding separation really tough so this is a good way to tell you I’m sad”. The veracity at this point is low as they aren’t really sure what’s true and what’s not (eg the whole “daddy said I could watch television” thing).

    Hang in there, sounds like he is doing very well.

  8. I elicited proper screeches of delight about the BBC Countryfile. I mean, proper. I’m telling absolutely everyone. I am ordering copies for the in-laws, who will wet themselves and proceed to tell everyone they know that they know the hay bale bridal people lady, and she makes incredible wedding cakes. Mark my words!


    if i can figure out how to vote, i will, though maybe it’s one of those things where you have to watch on the tee-vee, and then i can’t. but i am voting in my heart.

    seconding may’s reminder about the clapping being in high school, not kindergarten. i don’t even remember anyone being horrible when i wet my pants, and that was first grade and i was certainly not insulated by popularity. oh, the horror of having to wear strange pants!

    but i digress. it sounds like harry is doing splendid work and will figure out the trickier bits roughly as quickly as anyone can.

  10. I did worse than wet myself at primary school and I don’t remember anyone being nasty about it…
    Am quite sad that I didn’t get a Harry Bear Hug though!
    Seriously, he sounds like he is doing OK, and I think much of that is thanks to you and the amazing mother you are.
    I shall be watching Countryfile for the first time ever on Sunday, and will definitely Vote Hairy x

  11. Yay for the talented Hairys!! I’m so pleased that young Harry is doing well, and how privileged I feel to virtually know a celebrity across the pond! Steve Felton’s photo is excellent, of course, but your ‘scrappy’ one has its charm. I particularly like the lone tractor track cutting through the wheat/corn/barley(?) field framed in yours. I suppose the paved road doesn’t usually say country living, but I am entertained by the strange white symbols painted on it and realize I could probably never drive in England. Then again, I nearly took out a pedestrian on the first day of class on campus this week, so maybe I should just stick to public transporation (or maybe camels). Bravo for the hairy follicle too.

    We are virtually voting for Steve’s pic over here!

  12. I’m with Thalia on the unreliability of reports of occurrences at school by reception kids. Ive had things Ive actually seen described in completely bizarre and unreal ways at the end of the day. It does all sound pretty good for week one though. Go Harry!

    And get you famous calender lady!

  13. Litigious me is thinking that maybe you or Steve should copyright the haybale couple image. Wouldn’t it make a lovely greeting card? Be sure that greedy Hallmark doesn’t snag it without your permission!

  14. Very pleased about the hay bales! Who needs a Countryfile calendar, I wonder?
    I am poetry sure from my own experience of 5-year-olds that they area not really able to tell reliably if they have their whole audience’s attention. And no-one is going to find dropping a tray by a Reception kid amusing, as May says that’s a secondary school thing. Primary school is sweetness and light.

  15. As I an ex-primary school teacher I am still rolling in the aisles at Katie’s last comment. I’ll get over it.

    And am properly impressed by hay bale’s photo success. I’m assuming that HF and his dad are now taking most of the credit with no mention of their evil doubts and attempts to flee before project completion? Will give May a run for her money in the voting stakes if it allows demented colonials the opportunity.

  16. Shit, good job I read this now. 50 mins until vote time. Naturally I shall view all the entries and make a calm unbiased decision based on the quality of images on show.


    Of course you have my vote.

    And crying doesn’t count unless Harry sees you. Fact.

  17. I know what you mean about heart in two. I did not cry when O went on Friday morning but I did have a little moment of heartbreak when he bounced up to a few children only to be rebuffed, and ended up having to play with his sister. Also, I agree that it is very difficult to tell what actually happens at primary school. If you are unsure in any way then it’s always good to check in with a teacher. And I’m sure you know that already so sorry for sounding patronising.

    Am so pleased Harry is coping well, especially as going to school is the biggest event in their small lives so

  18. Always voting Hairy, always.

  19. I don’t think I can vote, but like bionicbrooklynite I am voting in my heart! Congratulations on getting into the calendar, and good luck!

    Also, about the show and tell …I empathize very much with your reaction but I agree that it might not have happened quite like one worries that it might have. A group of children Harry’s age (heck, even somewhat older) is probably always a little chaotic and talkative and not necessarily listening. I am not sure what his child care situation had been immediately beforehand, but if he’s been spending more time in a smaller/quieter group or with adults, he may be used to more focus or listening from those he’s talking to.

    It does sound like a lot of independence and many new things for him to get used to. I know things are different when you’re working through a background of physical and other challenges, but I think this may be true for Harry nonetheless: over and over, with my son, I find that he rebounds from challenge without meriting the fear and anxiety that I layer over things. He is resilient and doesn’t take things to heart like I do; they are just small incidents in a day for him. That’s not to say that he is infinitely so, but he weathers those everyday difficulties, like a dropped tray or wet pants, wonderfully; and over and over again I find myself surprised by the ways in which I don’t need to intercede. And at this age, the children really are very kind and accepting of one another. I hope you find the same for Harry.

    And gosh, I just can’t get over it. The conversations you are having with Harry, when not that long ago you didn’t know if you would ever converse, or at what level. Amazing and wonderful.

  20. Where to purchase a flower bouquet for anniversary?

  21. […] up 10 days solid, somehow, which was also fun. Then, following on last year’s scintillating bale Bride & Groom triumph, I spent days (the crown is woven willow, sprayed gold) building a straw-bale Queen for the […]

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