The internet returns. And so I bring you last Friday.
Work. The end of a stressful week. My mobile rings. “Nursery” flashes onto the screen. This is enough to scare me as it is. “What’s happened, is she ok? Why are you phoning?” I think but do not say. They must be used to people having this reaction.
“Hi it’s Hayley from Nursery. E’s ok…” are her first words. But.
“She’s been bitten on her cheek.” What? “She’s fine… But we do recommend that you contact a doctor in case she needs antibiotics.” Antibiotics! Jesus Christ – what the hell was she bitten by? This is the point where I try to remember to sound like a responsible parent but not an hysterical one. “Is she ok? Was she bleeding?” “She’s fine, there was a bit of blood but we don’t think the puncture wound’s very big. But we do recommend talking to the doctor. We’ll see you later then. Bye!”
And she’s gone. So feeling a bit daft, I call the doctor. Surely the nursery are just covering their backs? I try to detail the incident without going overboard – the risk of appearing overly cautious and just plain stupid is a big one. But the doctor gets into the spirit of the thing anyway.
“We wouldn’t automatically prescribe antibiotics,” he says, “unless the flap of skin is hanging off her face…” Thanks Doc for your reassuring words. I return to work.
Now in this situation, I rapidly discover that my inner conservative parent is willing to beat the crap out of my usual liberal parent. Because of course, this is the kind of everyday incident that nursery staff are used to and, after all, at some point it could well be E that does the biting. Nevertheless, her cheek? I can understand an arm or leg or something but biting her face? “Just kids learning boundaries,” says the liberal. “Oh shut up,” says the conservative. If I find out who it was that little shit won’t know who’s bitten it.
Boundaries my arse.
Of course nothing says “Why, government ministers, reducing the number of nursery staff to children ratio is a really stupid idea” like your child being attacked by another child who may or may not be infectious. I was against the idea in the first place but now, she clearly needs her own personal guard!
In the event, of course, I get home to find a teeny tiny little hole on her cheek. She’s done more damage scratching with a torn fingernail. I decide this is the best time to teach her about boundaries.
“If anyone except Mummy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa and Grandma or Auntie C come close to you kick them here,” I say gesturing to the genital area on S as a demonstration. “Or pull their hair or scratch them. Tell them to keep out of your personal space.”
She smiles at me. She’ll lure them in then kick. That’s my girl.