Big Bang looms on Planet Davy

1st February 2008 at 00:00
A life in the year of Emily Shark

"Why did you give Davy a detention when he says he didn't do anything?"

Well, let's see now. It was raining, I was premenstrual and the moon was in Scorpio. Also, Davy refused to stop hurling himself against another child, but that's a detail.

"We can discuss this again, Mrs Hubble, but first we really do need to talk about his Sats ... ".

I wish Mr Hubble would stop chewing his hand like that. I wonder if they planned this? "We'll both go to parents' evening, but I'll do the talking. You just stare at her and look psychopathic. Now, which of us is going to read her markbook upside-down this year?

"And another thing, Miss Shark. Have you found his coat yet?"

Oh, dear. It's all in the "yet". Some parents betray their skewed image of the universe in one word. Yes, every day I drag Davy and only Davy towards his Sats. At night I look for his coat. I have not found it "yet" because it is probably squashed and rotting behind a radiator in the science block. When it is found - some time in 2012 - it will no longer look like a coat.

"It's just that it was new this term and we'd rather not buy him another one yet."

And again, "yet".

Davy is growing up at the centre of his parents' universe, but not in a good way. No wonder he explodes when I ask him to do something he doesn't want to do. He sees me as a satellite out of its orbit. His parents revolve around him, so why don't I?

Many of us go through a terrible moment when we realise that we are not at the centre of the solar system. The sun is - there's a clue in the name. But if his own parents haven't had this Copernican moment about Davy, then when will Davy have it?

This is already the third school they have put him in. They will probably keep searching for a school that has a perfect, comfortable, Davy-shaped hole at the centre of it.

What they don't realise is that one day, this swirling ball of dust and gas that is hormonal Davy is going to harden into the adult Planet Davy.

It will be a very confused planet that thinks it's the sun. It will keep expecting everything else to revolve around it, just as its parents did. Not many things will, though, except perhaps a pale moon of a girlfriend.

School is chaos. There are loud bangs and flying rocks as all these developing planets keep smashing into each other. They carry on smashing and growing until eventually they cool down into some sort of permanent shape. Meanwhile, the teachers just hope they can escape into the black hole of the summer holidays before they're all pulverised.

As for this parents' evening, all I can really hope for is that it ends not with a bang but a whimper.

More from Emily in a fortnight.

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