Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Under a bush, down memory lane

When I was in primary school there was a boy in my class who ran away from home and hid and slept in a bush for two days before being discovered. As I recall, nobody seemed particularly concerned (well, we were only about 6 or 7 at the time), and it just seemed the kind of thing that he would do, and I suppose I just thought he'd be back at school within a few days. And he was. The thing about this boy was that he was a little bit of an oddball. A bit of a loner, a bit of a loser, didn't really talk much, oh, and often turned up to school wearing his pyjamas under his uniform. That's the bit that sticks in my head, and that's why I can totally recall this boy and his name and where he lived and what he looked like. Unlike most of the people I went to primary school with, I would probably recognise this guy if I saw him in the street.

Without ever having consciously thought it, I suppose I have always wanted to make sure I never had a kid like this boy. I have no idea what his home life was like, I just assumed it was the same as mine. Normal. But who knows. I wouldn't have known at that age what might have been going on at home, and maybe things can't be ok if you feel the need to go and hide in a bush for a couple of days. I've been thinking about this boy a bit and wondering what he's doing now. (He's not on FB so maybe he's got more of a life than me).

Yesterday Orla came home from school missing her school sweatshirt which I discovered was in with all her soaking wet swimming things. According to her, her teacher told her to put it in there. Not anything at all to do with the fact that she hates wearing it because it's too big. Anyway, peeking out at the top of her polo shirt I caught sight of a pink t-shirt. My automatic reaction was to assume that we must be into 'hinting season': where teachers and Kita careworkers drop subtle hints to me to tell me that my kids aren't wearing anywhere near enough clothes. 'Bugger!' I thought. Is it that time already?

On closer inspection, it became apparent that it wasn't the teacher dropping hints, but in actual fact her father quite possibly being asleep when he started dressing her. For Orla was wearing her Minnie Mouse pyjama top underneath her school uniform. Oh the shame!! It wouldn't have been quite so bad except that she'd had swimming so there was definitely someone who saw it, but most often it's not the actual class teacher that takes them to the swimming pool. So to top it off Orla decided that she would like to show her teacher her Disney Princess knickers (as you do) so I can be pretty certain that she saw her pyjamas too. Oh, the double shame! Eek! Incidentally, her teacher said 'Nice...'. Though I would have thought a 'Wow! Cool! I've got those too! Gleiche!' would have been more appropriate.

And now I am wondering whether the boy in my class who sometimes wore his pyjamas under his uniform maybe just had to dress himself or had a really tired father.


  1. Interesting situational read. I would have thought that the boy who wore pajamas under his clothes and slept under a bush actually came from an abusive and neglectful home. And no, I wouldn't have thought that at 6, but I do now. And that's with my actually threatening at least once a week to send my 5yo to kita in her pjs if she won't choose clothes/wear what I have chosen (either works). It's the combination of the two that makes me think neglect, along with the "odd duck" status.

  2. That must be a recurring theme in primary school kids. I've never done it myself, but I seem to recall a chapter in one of those Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Clearly where she wore her peejays under her clothes to school one day just because she could, and she wanted to see how it would feel.

    So, even when we were that age, when those books were written, that must have been a thing that happened.

    Or else Beverly Cleary's imagination exerted quite a profound influence on early readers &mdash, maybe she's not to be underestimated!

  3. Gosh, you're right! I'd forgotten about that. Ramona was one of my heroines as a child, and in fact I had that name on my list of girl's names for child no. 2. But I got a Hamish the Pest instead.


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