Slightly Mad Mummy: Entry 2

Charting the fabulous (and fatiguing!) flexi-Fridays with my OE-rich** 8 year old (currently identifying as a cat and a Georgian)

*Oh yes, the lessons just keep on coming. For me, that is…

January 2020 – Lesson #1: Learn from Experience

January saw our first full flexi Friday of 2020. Flexi-schooling itself is not new to us, but the new year saw our flexi-sessions upped to a full day, from the previous one afternoon a week.

Excitement was high (both of us) and naivety abounding (me), as I hoped for a more relaxed start to the day now that the school-run rush had been dispensed with and the school-related anxiety had been avoided, even if just for one day. Cheeky, I know, but perhaps we could even have a little bit of a lie-in?

Heaven knows I could have done with it. I hesitate to say “we”. One of us is a lot better at the art of sleep-deprivation. Flexi-cat is currently only giving in to her nemesis (sleep) at about 11pm, whatever measures and tactics we employ. And we have tried it all. Seriously. Even the sleep consultant gave up on us. This lady is not for turning. Or sleeping. I tell myself that such determination may well stand her in good stead when she is older, but for now it can seem a lot more like it stands in the way of my sanity, and almost certainly contributes to a recurring twitch in my left eye and an occasional demeanour of breathless panic.

So yes, the stress had gone (temporarily), the relief was palpable, but…laid back she was not. She was up even earlier than on a school day. She started coding at 7am. Please don’t judge, but by 4.30pm I had to beg that we stop for the day: my brain was fried. Seriously, though, it was wonderful. It was happy, it was productive, and it was totally square-peg shaped. But still, lesson one has to be: Learn from experience.

When you have a child bursting with overexcitabilities, do not expect the relief of having a day of enrichment at home rather than frustration at school to translate into calm. No, it was more like manic delight. And very early manic delight, at that. And why would I ever think it would be otherwise? I still remember the first time she heard about the concept of pyjama days – she was appalled. She simply does not believe in sleep.

When expecting Flexi-cat, I was convinced that television would barely feature in my wholesome vision of parenting and family life. We would be too busy gambolling through meadows and making cakes and generally being energetic and amazing. I was, it is clear now, green not only from morning-sickness. By the time she was 3, she had still not slept through the night. Despite this, she had the energy of a baby monkey on e-numbers and energy drinks. And so, I, with barely-disguised desperation, would find myself begging her to sit down and just watch a little bit of telly, just for a little bit of a rest for Mummy. To which she replied that she hated television, and why was I trying to get her to watch it when it stopped her doing things she wanted to do…

I should have been perfectly well warned against such elementary naivety; hubris, even. It really should have sunk in after 8 years, but clearly not. So, no, we did not have a lie-in, and no, I was insane to ever countenance it. But it was a lovely day, and hey, at least I didn’t have to change out of my slippers…

** OE = Over Excitable

In this series we mine the wealth of lived experience and invite members to share their thoughts with us – perhaps through an article, advice, sharing their careers, a piece of fiction or a poem. The HLP Diaries are fictional tales of parenting children with high learning potential. If you are a Potential Plus UK member and have an anecdote you would like to share then we’d love to hear from you: email