So it’s #sunfun Sunday funny day this week hosted by actuallymummy where you can link up whatever makes you laugh. Events this week had already caused me to write the below but I thought I’d save it up for Sunday……
*Puts up ‘Rant Alert’ sign*
This week one of the Mums at Boy’s school got in trouble with them. She is a good Mum. Her school-age daughter’s name is prefixed by the word ‘lovely’ by everyone from the teachers to Boy (who may have a secret crush on her) while her younger daughter goes to the same toddler group as Baby. They’re the sort of family you’re glad to have as friends and yet the telling off was a serious one as she transgressed something that had Previously Been Put In Writing. Specifically she put a peanut butter sandwich in her daughters packed lunch.
Now I grew up in the 70s and I’m not about to write a long essay about how we should return to an era when football violence, sitcoms based on casual racism and guitar solos were socially acceptable. However I am about to write the ultimate fuddy-duddy phrase. This wouldn’t have happened in my day.
When I was at Infant School there were only about 3 kids who had packed lunch and each of them brought in a fish paste sandwich and a packet of Monster Munch because that was what constituted packed lunch in the 70s. The rest of us subsisted on grey gristle, vegetables that had been boiled since yesterday and semolina. When I moved on to Comprehensive school and could choose my own food I had chips and baked beans for lunch every day for 5 years. At no point did Jamie Oliver pop up over my right shoulder and offer me a tasty mousaka, nor did the school write home to our parents despite the dangerous afternoon methane levels and noxious classroom odours. And I’m pretty sure at some point there would have been a nut or two around.
When I got home there certainly was. Almost every day of his working life my Father (who was a music teacher) would celebrate the departure of his last pupil with a can of Webster’s Yorkshire Bitter and a packet of dry roasted peanuts. The dangerous lunatic bastard. Except not really since I’m still alive and writing this.
Boy’s school is Ofsted Outstanding. One thing you will come to learn should your children be lucky enough to attend one is that you get a LOT of information from them. Everything needs permission. Newsletters come out twice a week and you drown under your own weight in text messages. The ‘no peanut butter’ missive came out in September and we are now in February. How people who are generally juggling work (or trying to find it) with demanding little ones are suddenly supposed to remember all this shit when they get up after 2 hours sleep with only Peanut Butter in the larder is anyone’s guess.
But it’s good right? We’re protecting vulnerable kids aren’t we? Nut allergies are potentially fatal. Well I sort of agree and sort of don’t. The only way you can fully protect children from peanut related peril is to ban them altogether – at which point, of course, the Columbian cartels would ditch the marching powder and start cultivating legumes. The rule exists mainly to protect the school and the local authority from being sued by ambulance chasing lawyers. Yes I know in the most serious of cases the allergy can be triggered by touching a peanut but then isn’t the danger of that present anywhere and everywhere? Perhaps one of the properties of an ‘Outstanding’ school ought to be to properly supervise lunch times so that children who don’t have allergies don’t share their food with children who may? Just a thought.
I’m not advocating the ditching of Health and Safety per se. Lots of it is very necessary and little of it falls in to the stuff reported in the likes of The Sun, most of which is apocryphal. Just reading this back makes me feel I’m being a bit David Cameron and this makes me want to hit myself with a hockey stick. But are we in an era where greed and paranoia are getting a very good parent in to trouble for something mine wouldn’t have thought twice about?