Monday, 5 October 2009

I only stuck out my neck for the block

Now I feel nervous, admitting that a photographer hired by the Sunday Times Magazine tracked us down today in the middle of a leek field.

Perhaps I could say that when I agreed, in an offhand manner, to supply a comment or two I didn't quite appreciate the consequence. Anyway, I supplied a comment or two. And I have no idea when the article about women who blog will arrive at your newsagent, so don't ask. I have no idea what the other women will say either; in fact I don't know who they are. But I simply encourage you to read it. It will be worth it, I promise you.

For my part, I confess.

Yes! I blog because I am a needy, dispossessed remnant of a human being, with deflated self esteem, an absent husband, a chaotic lifestyle and triplets attached to my limbs like bracket fungi holding up a decaying tree!

Writing a blog on home education, triplets and family life all forms a part of my amazingly depraved life. And as you know, home education is code for goat slaughter, ritual abuse, and poking each other with fish.

Then the Sunday Times picture desk wanted photographs, possibly to prove it. Oh. Now why don't you hand me a revolver and let me shoot myself in both feet?

Because I am damned if I do, and damned if I don't. I am damned if I put my near-feral kids in front of that professional lens, and I am damned if I don't. Someone, somewhere, will already be reaching to press send on that hatemail.

Home education has not been an easy choice. Some days it feels easier to climb backwards, blindfold, up a sheer cliff face from the dark abyss called mental trauma than it is to stay fifteen minutes in this house with screaming triplets, let alone admit and I home educate. Yet startlingly, we still believe we made the best choice.

But it's true to say that on this not-at-school-today journey, more than once have I thought I'll run away and never come back. To make myself feel better, I have told myself that when I recover in years to come, I will travel back to this house and peep through the windows to the front room, just to see how Shark, Squirrel and Tiger have all succeeded with their home education in my absence. And some days that has been a reasonable plan.

But if that photograph in a magazine says, here's a blog of happy, unconventionally educated kids, then doesn't that do something good for the image of education away from the classroom?

By way of compromise, in depth self-analysis, Dig turning ashen and exclaiming What have you agreed to? WHAT? and the usual thirty seconds of my life spent thinking through the consequence, I said, Yes! Photograph the children. No! Don't photograph me. Anyway, as everyone who sees me routinely knows, I am a stunning sixfoot tallness of drop-dead gorgeous, size eight, and I sashay to the kiddy French lessons dressed in Dior and diamante.

The photographer eventually found us. In the leeks. As he took out his camera gear, Shark immediately sat down with her oceanography book like a farm worker striking for the right to intellectual labour. Tiger and Squirrel ran off because the excitement of staying still for more than two seconds proved too much for their legs to bear. After what felt like several hundred clickysnappyclickclickwhirr we went to sweetcorn. And onions. And did much the same sitting down and running about.

Due to the running about, Grit felt compelled at one point to behave completely out of character, stand behind the very patient photographer and make great operatic drama out of scratching her bottom. This made the children laugh, and I'm sure prevents them looking like illegal migrant workers lost in a corn field. But if the picture editor doesn't choose a laughing shot, you'll know I'm not scratching my arse.

Otherwise, Grit contributed very little to the day's photography in a field. She just generally complained about everything and fell into sounding like a drunk, rambling wildly with staring eyes, grizzled beard, windswept hair and a flood of incoherence, some of which involved finger pointing to the sky, the volcanoes, the torn apart earth and the outrages inflicted on my very human body and bones by the dark arts and night forces of Ed Balls and Graham Badman.

But when all is said and done, the day truly belongs to Shark, Squirrel and Tiger and the very professional photographer who steadfastly maintained his charm and affability and never once looked like he would run away or shout out in panic.

And before you wonder, then of course I did not bother asking Shark, Squirrel or Tiger whether they would like to be involved in this exposure and media experiment.

I simply told them that if they did not make home education look like the most wonderful, liberating, worthwhile family adventure full of happiness and satisfaction, that it surely is, then when we got home I would tie them to the radiator and flagellate them with strips of wet cod.


The Green Stone Woman said...

You are your usual hilarious self as you tell this fabulous story and I'm sure you made all the right decisions and said all the right things. Bully for you!

sharon said...

. . .or even worse - send them to school!

Will be looking out for this article in the online format of The Times.

mamacrow said...

mmm, he looks cute! i feel very very sorry for you having to spend the day in a field with him... yeah...

Maire said...

Ohh, make sure to let us know where and when.

Maire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theresa said...

LOL! I think you'll make a fabulous ambassador for home education!

kellyi said...

Well done for being so brave. I know you will have done HE proud. (Unless you had a triplet fight as previously blogged about!)

Will be keeping an eye out for the article.

Potty Mummy said...

Brilliant; a blow for HE and blogging in one fell swoop - a master-stroke, Grit!

Grit said...

thank you nora!

sharon, when i see it out, i will blast news of it. unless i appear mad, in which case from here i'm keeping my mouth shut.

mamacrow! i am quite astounded!

will do, maire.

that's very kind of you theresa; home ed is one part of blogging, but it seems to have become a bigger part thanks to b&b.

hope so, kelly. the gritlets were mostly fine, and required only a small amount of bribery. um. i mean reward.

thank you potty mummy. no, make that ((THANK YOU)).

Jaywalker said...

Grit - this might be the moment to confess that it was me who suggested you to India. Because you are ace and so on. So there. And you are and the photos will be. I had to sit in the bath and juggle waffles. They will not be ace by a very long stretch of the imagination.

Grit said...

ah, jaywalker, i have finally caught up with you. i had my suspicions.

as you can probably guess, we have turned the entire thing into that experience we call 'an education'. xx