Schools Answer the Call

School SignAfter a hectic weekend, I had every intention of settling in this week with a bucket of caffeine and getting some work done. Such is the joy of freelance writing, you can stagger your working hours around other commitments although there is a constant rejuggling required when life gets in the way. I discovered this the hard way on Tuesday.

You see on Tuesday, I got the Phone Call. All parents of school-aged children know about the Phone Call. Generally it’s a school office staff member or teacher who calls and hopefully greets you with “Don’t panic!”¬† I like to categorise and colour-code these calls, depending on severity, much like the terror threat or bushfire warnings.

Code Green is a popular one around here. It matches the colour your child is when you arrive to collect them. Code green signifies that your child who wasn’t sick this morning has come down with a Potentially Infectious Virus and must be quarantined immediately. Having a son who can’t differentiate between hunger and the bubonic plague means I have had that call a few times over the years, but I can hardly tell the secretary to “give the kid a sandwich for Pete’s sake”. Fair enough too. If I were a teacher being coughed, sneezed and occasionally even vomited on by someone else’s children, I’d be donning a surgical mask and handing the little blighters to their parents with a pair of long-handled tongs.

And then there is the Code Electric Blue (for DRAMA!). Because I live almost adjacent to our school, I don’t mind these so much. There’s a whole feelgood Disney movie vibe about running across to the school with netball shoes because an excited child has phoned to say they have had a last-second call up off the bench to the School Team. Or organising someone to dash out and check the busstop where a musical instrument has been misplaced. And I really didn’t mind running a second set of clothes up to a kindergartner who had fallen into a puddle. Mummy Saves the Day!

But Tuesday was the Code Red of school calls. “Your son has fallen in the playground and injured his arm. Can you come straight away?”. All thought of work left my mind, as I raced across to the school. So much for a calming parental presence, as I appeared wild-eyed in the sick-bay door wearing what my grandmother would have kindly called a “house dress”, thongs and hair in a frizzy top-knot. Don’t judge me! Writers are known for their¬† comfort dressing, I’m told. Even Jo March had her “scribbling suit”. Thankfully teachers and school office staff know their stuff and my white-faced, trembling little boy with a broken wing was well looked after while I quickly gathered my wits about me. His arm had been expertly bandaged, I was given all the pertinent details about how he had fallen so I could correctly advise the hospital(he wants me to tell you he fell off a llama, but he tripped over a tree root and quite possibly his own feet) and I was even accompanied along the short walk home in case he got woozy and I needed assistance.

A trip to emergency, x-rays and a plaster cast later, I am once again grateful to the wonderful people who spend their days looking after our kids. I say it so often, but it bears repeating: Schools are so much more than we give them credit for.

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10 Responses
  1. Kylie L says:

    Wow. Until five minutes ago I didn’t know your real name or that you even had a blog- the things you discover!
    I recognise all of this… like you, I write at home (three days/week, anyway) and thus my dress standards on those days are best described as ‘lax’… like you I also live ridiculously close to the school (4 doors in my case- I can hear the bell). And like you, my children’s school is fabulous at looking after them in all ways, and don’t seem to care that even though I live closer than any other parent I still arrive last each morning with hair wet and tracksuit on.
    Here’s to both our great schools, and to a quick recovery for your son!

    • thinkthinkers says:

      Yay for great schools! And I have to say ours was lucky I wasn’t still in my pyjamas, as is often the case at 11am. :D

  2. Jayne says:

    I work one street away from my kids’ school (yes Kylie, I can hear the bell too and that’s when I turn my puter off at work :-) ). Last year I got ‘the call’. My Indy had fallen and banged her head quite badly and they felt she was ‘acting oddly.’ WTF? I think I literally flew out the door and was there before they had her school bag ready. She was ok but had a pretty huge graze on her head.
    But your poor, poor boy. Big kisses and wishes for a speedy recovery.

    • Thinkthinkers says:

      They like to scare us don’t they?! Daughter fainted in middle of choir performance last year at HV gardens! I think the teacher was never more happy to hand off a student – so much responsibility!

  3. LizK_is says:

    I’ve had all those calls too, thankfully only the one Code Red and it was for a minor bump to the head, precautionary only. I am dreading the Code Red for a broken bone and can only hope that when it comes (and I know it will come with my son) that I will not panic, that I will find some calm within me although I worry I’ve run out of that particular trait…

    And now I’m wishing he was at the school around the corner instead of the one I have to drive to :(

  4. I think that the llama story is the way to go.

    I hope that he’s up and about soon. I’ll have to call in so that I can sign his cast. :-)

  5. Gabfran says:

    In our house we have a theory about the amount of vomiting that goes on in our 5 year old son’s school. There is no soap. The kids are encouraged to wash their hands which involves turning on taps crawling with bacteria. Not that the soap would make much difference. Our son who is a fairly truthful sort regales us with a new von-mit story every night eg Martin was running & then he von-mited everywhere, there was von-mit on the walls, on the floor. Etc. On the code red topic, I do hope that these calls are few and far between. You seem to have taken it remarkably calmly and well. Who would be a teacher? Projectile puke & weans hell bent on self destruction. In loco parentis never sounded more apt, the loco part that is.

    • thinkthinkers says:

      Aaarggghh von-mit!!!! We have aqium handwash in all our classrooms since last year’s flu season. I think some teachers give all the kids a squirt as they come in after recess and lunch. Overkill perhaps, but I’m not the one being von-mitted on!

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