Beautiful Jersey, gem of the sea

Corbiere Lighthouse

I’m working hard on a PR campaign.

“Look,” I say to Ben, pointing out a badly photocopied page from yet another school prospectus, “in Year 6 you get to spend a week in France…”

“Hm,” says the child who’s spent nearly every holiday and half term break for the past year in France.

“..you’d be going with your friends,” I persist, “sounds like fun doesn’t it?”

“Yeah,” he replies, in a tone reminiscent of his father when Lincoln City are on a losing streak, “if I’ve even got any friends by then,”

He’s only in Year 4.
Does he really think that after two years at his new school, he’ll have no friends?

What does that say about his self-confidence/enthusiasm for new experiences/zest for life?

In a seemingly unrelated, but entirely relevant incident – stay with me here – we are on our way home from an abortive attempt to get to swimming lessons.

Abortive because the traffic jam on the A38 was so bad I gave up.
We’d already missed Hannah’s lesson, and the rows of cars parked on the Devon Expressway meant Ben’s class was looking just as hopeless.

When we got home, Ben grassed me up –

“Mummy swore twice today,” he told his father, who obviously never swears in front of the children. Not even when the computer reveals its malicious nature by turning against him.

“You’re allowed to swear when you’ve been stuck in a traffic jam for an hour,” replies Mike, in an uncharacteristically supportive moment.

I wasn’t even swearing at the traffic. I was swearing at a former colleague from Radio Devon, whose traffic news had put the snaking queue of A38 traffic fourth in the running order of motoring snarl-ups.

Fourth?

It reached from the Tamar Bridge back past the Manadon roundabout.
That’s at least four miles.
And who knows how much further its tentacles reached at the peak of rush hour madness.

In short, I was not happy on the way home from our hour-long trip to the A38 sliproad and back, and I made my feelings clear to my sitting-duck former colleague.

The children were listening, as always.

“Why were you so rude to that person on the phone?” asks Ben.

“I know him,” I explain, “I used to work with him at Radio Devon.”

“I wish you still worked there,” he says.

“Why?” I ask, assuming it’s so I could have bought him a Nintendo DS, an IPod, a laptop, another weekend at Bedruthan Steps, or any one of the many things I’ve vetoed on the grounds of expense.

But no.
His reply runs counter to his public reaction to our impending move.

“Because then we wouldn’t be moving to Jersey.”

Silence while I think about what to say.

“Don’t you want to go to Jersey?”

“We-ell, I am quite excited about it…”

He doesn’t say –

but I’ll lose all my friends, the only home I remember, everything and everyone I know, my entire life, the universe and everything

So I choose to hear only the “excited” comment.

“It will be exciting,” I try to reassure him, “and I’m sure you’ll soon make some friends.”

But I feel my PR campaign has hit a granite wall.

Are they both pretending to be positive to save us worrying? Surely they’re too young to bother with all that subterfuge.

Surely…

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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4 Responses to Beautiful Jersey, gem of the sea

  1. Iota says:

    Maybe they have mixed feelings, as I’m sure you and your husband do. I guess you just have to keep communicating (isn’t this what everyone says you have to do as a good parent?)

    My 6 year old today told me that his best friends are in Scotland – after 10 months here. I think he has some nice buddies here, but I’d under-estimated the strength of his friendships in Scotland. They were only a year old (ie first year at primary school), but had meant more to him than I realised. I’m not trying to depress you. My 10 year old has made good friends quickly here, and didn’t seem to suffer much loss in leaving, although I’d have expected an older child to have deeper friendships.

  2. Good, I’m not the only mother who occasionally swears in front of the children (child, in my case).
    I’ve given you an award!

  3. Lucy Diamond says:

    Oooh, it’s hard. We moved cities in July and my eldest (now 7) was exactly the same – terrified she wouldn’t make any new friends, devastated to be leaving our old home.
    She barely slept the night before starting her new school, she was so worried (and she’s usually a very confident, sociable child). BUT bounced out of the door at 3.15 saying she’d made three new friends, then three more the next day…
    Just a day left of this half term and her sparkle is back. She seems really happy at the new school, as does her brother (5).
    THEY WILL BE FINE!! But I totally empathise with what you are going through. It’s really not easy – but then, I think you already know that!
    Best of luck with the move.

  4. Omega Mum says:

    I am convinced that if we ever do move I’ll be the one who’ll need to be comforted by the children. So get yours trained up and send them over for pre-trauma counselling.

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