This week was the week of X’s school nativity, it was all of his year (Reception) plus years 1 and 2. Collectively, years 1 and 2 are apparently now known as “Key Stage One”, I’m feeling myself sounding old at times like this when I say “Oh, you mean infants?”. To be completely honest, I’ve been quite worried about the nativity coming around.
We always knew there was going to be a nativity, it was in a newsletter right at the start of term and to be honest, it’s unlikely there wouldn’t be some kind of play around Christmas anyway. The newsletter stated the dates and we kind of forgot about it, as most parents would as it didn’t directly affect us trying to clean enough items of school uniform, find a book bag, or fill in his “Reading Diary” for the thousandth time.
When the time for the nativity started approaching there were some general thoughts about whether B would be able to go as it’s quite a big thing for her anyway. When the tickets were “Released” I jumped on them as there was a “2 tickets per child” policy and I didn’t want to miss out. I chose to get tickets on the Tuesday as I knew my mum would be available if B wasn’t able to go and so there wouldn’t be an empty seat… plus to be honest my mum would love to go if she could anyway.
You see the problem is, lots of B’s recent mental health problems have involved Angels. In fact, her big period of psychosis which led to her going into hospital revolved around Angels sending her to hell. So as you can imagine, the emotions regarding them are quite strong. They have been a positive thing to her in the past but because of things she’s experienced they have also given her lots of negative emotions too. Either way, they are a strong reminder to her of difficult times. In the past seeing them as decorations in a shop has triggered her getting quite upset. And of course you can’t generally do a nativity play without… yes, the Angel(s). Typical that X’s school haven’t succumbed to the “Let’s be PC and do a show about elves”!
B was quite anxious and was back and forth about whether to go, or whether to not go. The not going of course would lead to guilt about not being there for X. I reassured her that she could choose. The ticket would not be wasted and X would see two people waving back at him. We never mentioned to him about whether she would or would not go so that he would not be expecting her to be sat there, or equally would not be surprised.
As the date got closer I started to get a little more anxious about it myself so mentioned it to a friend at work who has helped me over the last couple of years and so knows about B’s situation. He suggested I find out what would be going on in case I can do anything about it. When he said it out loud it seemed the right thing to do. Luckily, I’m actually friends with the head of the PTA at the school, K. She went to school with my sister, and even came on a family holiday with us! So I thought I would send K a message to see if she could let me know whether X was going to literally be an Angel and then I could ask for him to be a shepherd or something else. She’d read the blog so also knew that B had a few issues and was really helpful.
The trouble is, it wasn’t just X who was going to be an Angel… his entire year were all going to be dressed as Angels and singing a song at the same time. Bloody typical, couldn’t really have him as a shepherd then… although the thought of one shepherd in a sea of 89 Angels was slightly appealing if I’m honest! K even went on to say she could reserve some seats so that B could be near an edge in case she did feel overwhelmed etc. and said I could contact her any time for any more help I might need. So, although I couldn’t really do anything, I now had knowledge! I told B and then she was able to know what to expect and could decide if she was up to going.
B was still backwards and forward up to the day before… and slightly on the day too, but in the end she decided she was going to go which was brilliant! So, we got all dressed up… that’s not to say we got dressed up smart, that’s reserved for weddings, funerals and … we’ll that’s it really! But, it was absolutely pissing with rain, so we needed jumpers and big coats and hats etc. We knew we had to walk X home afterwards too so expected to be pretty wet by the end of the afternoon.
We arrived about 20 minutes before it was due to start thinking we’d be some of the first ones there…. errr… nope! There were luckily plenty of seats left, but there was definitely already quite a big group who were already settled. We looked at the end of the rows for any reserved seats, saw some that we couldn’t decide were for staff off to the side and opted to simply choose two end seats at the far end of the hall kind of out of the way.
We sat and waited for the rest of the hall to fill up, having to move backward and forward every so often to let people squeeze past. Then it all started, we spotted several classics we could of used for “School Nativity Bingo”: Child not looking where they should, child shouting into microphone, child mouthing the words the others were saying, teacher holding a roll of tape for emergency costume repairs… all good stuff! They all did very well though, considering they are the little ones in the school they were very well behaved and seemed to know exactly what they were doing.
We were watching for quite a while as we’d realised that clearly the really little ones from Reception were all going to come out near the end. Because people that work with small children all day know that trying to get 90 four and five year olds to sit patiently for 30 minutes is insane! Then we spotted some white costumes lingering by a teacher just outside the edge of the stage (Bingo item 8: Kids peeking from off stage). I got the camera all ready on my phone, the current scene ended, a couple of teachers rearranged some benches on the stage and the whole 90 strong reception year started piling in wearing their Angel outfits! White tee-shirts, little silver wings, and tinsel halos with little stars on. Mean as it sounds, I’m not that good with other peoples children, but they did all look very cute…. but where was X? Some of his classmates had come and gone, and the stage was getting quite full. Then his teachers was in the hall too…
Oh no, we figured he must have had a naughty moment, or he’s got too upset or something else has gone horribly wrong and he wont even be doing it today… typical… and we’ve come for nothing… Then he appeared! The very last one out, holding the teaching assistant’s hand. He looked over and gave us both a massive grin as soon as he saw us, which made all the trudging through the rain and worrying about everything all worth it. B was really proud of herself for being able to go in the end and she enjoyed seeing him do his bit.
X then continued to be a really good boy singing (most) of the words of the song and doing (most) of the hand signals / gestures they’d incorporated…. to be honest in some of the photos he does look like he’s picking his nose… but I’m quite sure he was just fiddling with his face… probably!
So, many thanks to K for all the help, and for all the information. And well done to X’s school for a really well produced, acted, sung and generally organised nativity play!