Infants. How I loved their little ways - those faces shining with excitement, the thrill of their first steps in reading, story time ...
"I shouldn't say this, but they're a bunch of delinquents," the nursery assistant confided on my first liaison visit. Still, by half-term they had settled into a semblance of order. Flopping in the staffroom one afternoon, I got a call from the secretary. "She says the twins are back," I said. When the laughter subsided, one kind soul hugged me. "They never stay long," she whispered.
Vlad and Amelia stood before me, flanking their mother. They had returned from Romania with their Scottish father that week. "This is Amelia. She is very good and clever. You will like her. And this is Vlad. He is very naughty and he is not so clever. Amelia knows what to do." With that, the tiny woman left.
Vlad misbehaved, Amelia scolded him constantly, until both looked miserable. "It's all right, Amelia. I'll look after Vlad," I said. "But Mummy says I must be mother at school," she pleaded.
Mummy bustled into the room after home time, having quizzed Amelia. She confronted me with a list of Vlad's misdemeanours. "You must beat him when he is bad," she told me. "I can't ... I wouldn't. It's not allowed," I said. "But you have my permission!" she insisted. I responded with a firm "No".
Days passed. The conversation was repeated. Finally, in obvious frustration with my ineffectual methods, Mummy appeared and addressed the class. "Good morning, children. Vlad has been a naughty boy. When he is bad, I want you to kick him hard. Do you understand?" She then gave a mock demonstration. The children nodded and, well, have you ever seen 20 five-year-olds rubbing their hands together?
The writer is a supply teacher in Highland. Send your worst parent stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.