Curiosity killed the cat we didn’t own

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WITH three children in tow I am of the opinion I have pretty much seen and done it all and that nothing could surprise me about parenthood.

But if this week is anything to go by I am completely wrong.

How quickly I crashed to earth when I met my eldest child’s new teacher for the first time as she introduced herself to us parents at a “let’s get to know each other” meeting at school. I had rushed home from work early in order to make sure I had collected the offspring in time to make said meeting.

I was full of good intentions about how I was going to sell my daughter’s best points to the teacher. I was ready to talk to her about all the wonderful things I love most about her. I patiently sat as other parents took their time talking about their various offspring, proudly rehearsing all the good things I was going to say about my child.

But the wind was taken out of my sails when I sat down and the first thing the teacher said to me was: “I am so sorry to hear about your cat.”

“Pardon, what cat?” I asked, confused. We don’t have a cat – much to eldest daughter’s annoyance. “Well, er… your cat that died last week,” she stammered looking worried as my face started to reveal the awful truth.

My daughter doesn’t just have an overactive imagination; she has the most overactive imagination in the world. I soon realised she had made up a story to this poor teacher and hoodwinked her. Oh no, my heart sank.

I babbled something about her being very sensitive and maybe she had got confused between real life and fantasy. I apologetically said perhaps this was because she had been reading Jacqueline Wilson’s Cat Mummyover and over again, where a girl mummifies the family’s pet and keeps it in her school bag after she finds it dead. Only the decaying smell causes the family to find out the truth of what happened to the pet.

However, after chatting a bit more it transpired that she had deliberately used this horrific tale to cover for her failings. It was only when the teacher asked her why she hadn’t completed a bit of work in class that she turned the water works on and came out with this tall tale. “But she had real tears and I was cuddling her and everything. How on earth will I know what is true or not now?” asked the bewildered teacher.

I told her I would have strong words with my child, who at first tried to look blankly at me as I confronted her with her lies.

However, she soon realised the game was up and quickly it dawned on her she was now in deep trouble.

My suggestion she talked to the teacher first thing the next day was met with doubt, but after much persuasion she owned up and apologised. Thank goodness. Let’s hope there is no repeat performance of this episode. I think she is subdued enough now to have realised the error of her ways.

Now I need to work on getting her to channel the energies into more productive means – like schoolwork. I am hoping it is just an age thing and she will grow out of it. Since I confessed her antics I have heard no end of similar stories from other people about their children.

The best was from a colleague who claimed to a taxi driver she was pregnant which is why she asked him to pull over so she could throw up outside his cab – and not of course because of the copious amounts of alcohol she had consumed.

The poor bloke even held her hair as she was being sick and waited to make sure she got in her house safely.

I now think my daughter may have a future as a fiction writer – she certainly has the imagination for it.

I will be taking her along to this year’s Sheffield City Council backed Off the Shelf Festival, which starts shortly, where there is a half term work shop on the how to be a young writer, among other exciting things. Visit: www.offtheshelf.org.uk