The life of Ryrie seems to be stuck in a perpetual state of coughing and it’s really starting to P me off.  The Cough (yes, I have used a capital letter, it has become the fifth member of the Ryrie family and so is worthy of this grammatical promotion) arrived in our midst late November with a momentary easing at the end of December before coming back with avengeance two weeks ago.  I actually think I will go mad when I sit on the side of T’s bed trying to get her to calm her breathing in the middle of a fit, and then, oooh, what’s that? yep, could it possibly be? yep, The Cough is now coming from J’s room.  The Cough is now in Dolby Surround Sound Stereo.

I have tried everything I can think of to get rid of, or at least ease, The Cough from the little bodies that it appears to have taken up residence in.  Spoonfuls of honey, honey and lemon drinks, cough mixture (various – including one particularly vile homeopathic one which makes J run to hide as soon as he spots the bottle), Vicks vapour rub on the chest, Vicks vapour rub on the feet, another pillow, throat lozenges, the window open, the window closed, even half an onion in the room.  Nothing seems to work.  The Cough is laughing hysterically at us in every wheeze, every dry retch and every tear that it causes.

The children are actually much better, since I wrote my last post (Poorly) their temperatures have gone, headaches eased and are generally much better.  However, yesterday I found myself in a situation where T’s teacher was firmly suggesting to me that T would “benefit from a day at home” and that the day before she “had not been focussed and was coughing all the time.”  I still haven’t quite figured out how I feel about this.  On the one hand it’s refreshing to be at a school where attendance records aren’t the be all and end all of the success of a child’s primary education.  But on the other I feel rather miffed that a teacher has told me, in no uncertain terms what they think is best for my daughter.  I could handle this if it was on an academic level, I would appreciate their candour and expertise.  But it wasn’t.

I don’t think that I am a negligent mother, I had taken T’s temperature that morning and the evening before and she was ‘normal’ at all times.  So the age old yardstick for giving children the day off school (i.e. a temperature) was being used and T was in the clear.  T had three days off last week and I felt that she needed to get back into routine, back with friends and back learning again.  Yes, she is a little tired thanks to The Cough, but I felt that she was well enough to be at school.  The Cough could be hanging around for weeks after all.  Shouldn’t the teacher respect the parental decision on matters of health and support the parent and child accordingly?  Or was it simply a case of the teacher being fed up with the sound and disruptive nature of T and The Cough and that she couldn’t face another day of it?  Am I being harsh?  Maybe I am.  It has made me question how much support I should be giving my child’s teacher though.

Until now I have given every one of my children’s teachers my full support.  They do a job that I wouldn’t have the patience for and that will have the biggest impact on my children’s futures.  They deserve parental respect and trust.  Though to be honest on this occasion I feel that the teacher, however well intentioned, overstepped the mark.  I haven’t ever questioned teaching methods but perhaps on the next pyjama day that the class decides to have (in snow and minus temperatures with the inclusion of a wellie walk, as per two weeks ago) I’ll be querying the wisdom of this and questioning where the educational benefit will be.  Actually, I know the answer to that last part – the children will learn that in the cold winter weather they need to be dressed warmly to prevent them from falling into the clutches of The Cough and driving their mothers insane.