The Grenade Goes To Boarding School

Sometimes it’s easier to say what you mean and other times it’s more eloquent to write it. I vlogged it today, which is the beauty of an integrated multi-media experience. Obviously, it means that pre-vlogging I had to wash and apply make up to mask troll like status. I was expecting to be a weepy, dramatic mess of smeared mascara, and Kate Bush like woeful lamenting, but The Grenade, very surprisingly, walked into to school and didn’t so much as want to give me a kiss goodbye. I have, in the most stoical of British military spouse tradition, been burying my head in the sand and giving the day of reckoning a damn good ignoring. I had talked the The Grenade about it, and he said that he was a bit frightened of the housemaster. I had no problem with this as I thought the bloke might have a fighting chance of getting my special little nightmare to toe the line, especially with this fear instilled within him, and so, saw this as no bad thing. On the whole though he didn’t seem overly concerned. When we got back from Frenchest France on Saturday, one of the neighbour’s sons had just left to go to boarding school and his sister is going next year. The head boy in his dorm he’s known since he was 3 years old, and he has always admired him in that adoration of older boys, who fight better, fart louder sort of way. The beauty of living amongst the community is that this is the norm so he doesn’t see it as a big deal.

It’s early doors and I am sure that it’s the beginning of a journey which will be a rollercoaster, but as I said as I vlogged one off, with all the disruption at home, being distracted at school and focusing his attention on mastering the written word is the most important thing. This is his best chance and I do eventually want him to leave home, educated and financially independent, because as Bank of Parents go, we are more representative of the current Bank of Scotland, when it comes to cashflow.

Page 90, October Prima Magazine – pimp, pimp – for my published piece on the I Hate Housework blog. You get a free pink lippy too!!

Today, is the start of my new initiative called AMMM’s M&M of the MONTH – I will send the person who typed the best comment of the month a FREE! packet of M&Ms for their marvellous words. You decide who it is so please vote on each comment. The most popular comment will receive a bag of the little multi-coloured, crispy coated chocolate nuggets.

The commentator will be awarded the prestigious title of A Modern Military Mother’s M&M of the month for the whole of the following month and I will pimp you across my blog and other social networking platforms too, (that’s if you want me too). So therefore my lovely little M&Ms get commenting for the chance to win a little packet of crunchy chocolate coated delight!!!

Today I am also wishing lots of luck to Heather@NotesfromLapland and Vix@Vegemitevix at the MADS tonight. Live blogging on the results as they are announced can be found at Who’s The Mummy

COMING SOON – A truly incredibe, new branded site here at A Modern Military Mother, which is hotter than a hot thing on a hot day and is being cooked up storm by the world’s most talented, artist and creative Kificreative. Are you looking for a design solution then look no further than Kifi!! However, please don’t look until she’s finished creating the new rocking design for me, otherwise I will be mighty p*ssed off!!

It’s good to be back. I missed y’all. The Grenade’s at school, The Menace is back at nursery, Hagar’s at work and me I am back, rested and raring to go. I have had a quick email chat with Annie Jones, the author of Gumboots and Pearls and she’s going to pop over to my quarters and I am going to have a chat to her about life on the domestic frontline back in those black and white days. Of course, this means that I am now going to have to read the bloody book as well.

Vegimite Vix has been running this fabulous meme called Tribal Wives and I would love to hear from an army wife and navy wife to see if you want to write a tribal wives peice from an army and navy wife perspective. I have got the RAF covered, but I think as culturally the three services are so different, we need to do it from the tribal wives of all three. Please leave me a comment if you would like to get onboard or email me at:

It’s going to be an autumn packed full of tales from the domestic frontline. The work up to war has begun……..and I am going to do what we millies do best, bury my head deep down in the sand, open the wine and give it a damn good ignoring. Keep calm and carry on!


  1. Blimey! I’m standing by my newly made bed with my shoulders back not daring to look anywhere other than eyes front!Please be gentle with me though ‘cos my only other experience of the military was a short time in the brownies!!:)

  2. Loved the vlog.
    Especially as the voice and the camera were slightly out of synch (reminded me of one of those 1950s B-movies like Astro Zombies) and the magazine was mirror-image so could not read it at all. Is that a cunning ploy to get me to buy it?

    But you were faaaaaaa-bulous dah-ling and hats off to the Grenade for being such a star.

    Although I think blotchy mascara would have suited you fine as well on film.

    LCM x

    1. Ha ha! I know I noticed that too but I thought it had added appeal and I couldn’t be bothered to do it again. I filmed it in photobooth on my Mac. I might have to resort to the video camera next or maybe not. I quite like the lack of lip sync.

  3. The start of sprogs back to boarding school is always met with trepidation… it gets easier especially when they turn into teenagers! The best bit is not having to force them to do homework every night, that is someoneelse’s job!

    I loved “Gumboots and Pearls” … Have you read “Posh Frocks and Postings” – the RAF equivalent but in poem form, although that might be volume 2.
    Volume 1 is called “Waiting in the Wings”. Despite their datedness some things still hold true!

    1. I think I need to check out this milly spouse literature. I seemed to have just been to busy being one! I am still early in the game of the boarding school – so far I have hated it but it’s not about my best interests! I’ll report back at the end of the week when I see what condition he is in! I have just ordered a liftime supply of name labels.

  4. I have to say that when i first saw the title of this I thought- Oh no. Sending your kid to boarding school goes against every fibre of me. But now I completely understand the different type of childhood your son has had. You are absolutely doing the right thing- because the grenade needs continuity in his life. I got moved around from school to school a lot and starting afresh is bloody hard. I had six primary schools in all and two secondary schools. I don’t think it’s made me mental or owt, but all my bullying situations happened on starting a new school.

    Your son will also make lifelong friends.

    1. Thanks – he really does. If I thought he’d be able to survive life without doing it this way believe me I wouldn’t have opted for this. He needs the best chance we can give him. Even if we have to make some sacrifices along the way. Writing is such a fundamental skill and it is the thing he struggles with the most. Plus he’s not special needs enough for the state system so he would just fall between the gaps, not get the help he needs and get lost. It really is in his best interests even though I am not sure if it’s in mine! It’s agony the separation from him – it makes me feel a bit sick.

  5. Its your neighbour here! Spoke to the Grenade yesterday and he seemed really chipper about school! My first born, having been in boarding school approximately 6 days now, has apparently had two “I really miss home ” episodes and I have been advised not to call him until I get my first letter home (hopefully tomorrow). Although I am an emotional wreak – I know how lucky he is to be in a such a fantastic school – with all the opportunities that come along with it. Don’t feel bad just watch the Grenade fly!

    1. Well hello neighbour! Oh no!! OMG – we must drink through it I feel 😉 yes – you are fine. It’s the separation anxiety – it’s tough for you and them. Chin up chicken – let me know how he gets on and we have to arrange to have Mrs Bowes-lyon over tea very soon !!

  6. Helloooooooooooo m’dear!

    Good to have you back 🙂 Oddly I ordered Gumboots and Pearls yesterday, it has been dispatched today so I will do a book report for you when it gets here!

    My baby brother and I went off to boarding school in the same year, mummy said it was absolutely horrible for about a month and then she loved the peace and quiet lol, I was never sure whether to be hurt or pleased! Hope The Grenade enjoys it, I loved it and my little brother did too – eventually, although I think me ‘dating’ his head of house helped there 😉

    1. Hello – I would love a book report from you! Thank you very much! Yes, the silence is deafening. It’s weird – he drives me around the twist but I feel sick without him. The web we weave. I hope you had left school by the time you were dating the Head of House – otherwise I am sure the Padre wouldn’t approve, unless he was Catholic of course!

      1. It hasn’t arrived yet, but as soon as it does I well start my prep 🙂

        Ooops! I meant Head of House as in the Head Boy of that particular house lol, nothing sinister and even then it was only as a few ‘dates’ to dances and letters, kept my baby brother firmly in the popular corner until he had settled in and made it there on his own!

        Must be absolutely horrible without him causing mayhem … ((hugs)) x

  7. I’m so glad he went without a fuss. That must have been such a relief to you. I loved your blog. Me being over here in the States I could watch your vlog over and over just to hear you speak. I love the accent!

    I also love your idea of the M&M of the month. Too cute!

    Welcome back to bloggy land! We missed you!!!

  8. I really enjoyed your vLog, my daughter is a non sleeping kid with some special needs and her Prep school has been a wonderful place for her. She get’s 5 hours exercise a week, and the small class sizes have really helped her concentration issues.

    She’s been asking to board, and I think that when she’s older maybe 13ish we’ll consider it. She’ll be doing 6 days a week there anyway and she’ll want to be with her friends more – I know I did at that age! If the Grenade’s school is anything like my daughter’s he’ll have a great time.

  9. You vlog very eloquently my dear! I think the fact that you are doing the best for The Grenade is completely admirable but it still must have been a very hard decision to make! I always wanted to go to Boarding school thinking it would be like Mallory Towers but my Mum wouldn’t let me!!! Chick is also a non-sleeper which she definitely doesn’t get from me!!!!

    1. Thanks lovely – there shall be more vlogging to come – all those presentation course that I have endured during my working life have to come to something. I read all of the St Clares and Mallory Towers books – I would have loved to have gone to boarding school. My parents couldn’t afford it! The Grenade HATES school so he doesn’t really understand what privilege this is – as you can imagine. Typical isn’t it. That non-sleeping thing – I have many theories but i think it’s linked to some form of oxygen starvation to the brain during pregnancy or birth or at some point of growing – it’s not genetic.

      1. hi, just read this reply, my son doesn’t need sleep and he nearly died during the birth due to lack of oxygen. do you think there is a connection? it had never occurred to me. he is up until midnight every night, aged 5, with no apparent adverse affects, apart from to my sanity! it is clearly not normal, but what can you do? drug them?
        good luck with the boarding school thing. i went to one and LOVED it! so did my brother and countless friends. it must be absolutely awful for you as a mum, but he’ll be having fun I’m sure. i recommend Jennings and Derbyshire books rather than St Clares to get into the mindset of the prep school boy – they are from the 1950s, but still seemed highly entertaining to me when i read them in the mid 80s.
        take care, love the blog

        1. YES!!! I definitely do think there is a connection between sleepless-ness and HYPOXIA (this is the official term for the deprivation of oxygen to the brain) – and also any of the ADHD, Aspergers, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia type conditions. It’s like the lack of oxygen f8cks up the brain’s coding so they don’t think and act in the way that a child that hasn’t experienced any oxygen deprivation. I suppose it’s a form of brain damage but really it’s about teaching you how to manage it, rather then fight it and also to stop thinking that you can influence it in anyway. Diet helps and exercise – definitely lots of fish oil (eyeQ) – brain food. I would buy a trampoline, get in a good supply of DVDs and books and make rules that say – I don’t care if you are up but you are up in your bedroom, don’t bother me – this is my time. You need to teach him how to occupy himself. I have stopped drugging but on occasion when I was hanging out of my botty hole and not able to function I have been know to give him something to knock him out to ensure I get some sleep. You need to understand that there is nothing you can do to change this and then work out how to handle it.

      2. Fascinating – I had just assumed, along with everyone else, that we were terrible parents! But really, he has always been like this. We read all the books, did all the stuff, and even paid a very expensive ‘sleep trainer’ much cash to ‘cure’ him. Nothing has worked. The part I find difficult is the irritating smug parents whose kids have slept 12 hours a night from 6 months old, and reckon this is in some way down to their own excellent parenting, and that we must, therefore, be completely, wilfully, stupid.
        My son’s heart slowed right down during labour and I had a crash c-section, after which they found the cord was tightly wrapped around his neck. He was a bl**dy difficult, grumpy, sleepless (although adorable) baby, and I always thought the birth might have something to do with it. Cheers, v interesting. Will try the fish oil / trampoline route! xx

    2. p.s. forgive me, I might have contradicted myself slightly – I didn’t know that oxygen deprivation might be connected to sleeplessness, i did think that a traumatic birth might have affected him as a baby, but more in a psychological sort of way, if you know what i mean. cheers for the advice.

      1. Chill my dear, no contradictions noticed and yes, I have too experienced the smugness of those who think that children sleep because of their parenting skills. In fact I have lost friends over it but to be honest onwards and upwards – and hey, you might be a crap parent, obviously I don’t know 😉 but that’s not why your boy doesn’t sleep.

        Oxygen is such an essential part of our functioning and the brain is such a complex organ and the variants are so massive that it is really difficult to say the impact on each child and how adversely it will affect the way the brain is coded. What amazes me that Drs, health visitors and midwives still don’t make this connection. Birth trauma can influence a baby’s first life experiences but oxygen starvation has far reaching implications, which you may observe in your boy – he may have a really literal sense of humour, he may find it difficult to sit still, he may complain that he has a tummy ache, he could always be hungry – he might struggle to use his cutlery or hold a pencil, he might focus on certain subjects and become a little obsessive, he may be a really fussy eater- all of these ‘eccentricities’ can be the result of a hypoxic experience at some point during feotal development and/or birth.

        What nailed it for me was when my hubby had to go into a special chamber and experience signs of hypoxia so that he can identify the symptoms. I believe in my opinion, the impact of hypoxia is directly linked to special education needs and fine motor/gross motor skills development and behavioural patterns in children.

        Cerebal palsy is at the severe end of the hypoxic spectrum and sleep deprivation is at the mild end. I am glad that it helps – feel free to email me: if you want any coping strategies for both yourself, and the smug mother f8ckers and just for someone to say – I understand and it’s not your fault!

  10. Another fab post me dearie. I’m very interested to hear how the Grenade gets on and I’m sure you will have plenty of tales to tell a la Mallory Towers etc etc. I personally cannot imagine sending my rugrats to Boarding School as I think I am a) too selfish and b) too frightened that they would be able to manage perfectly well without me. I respect anyone who is brave enough to take the plunge and realise it is often another necessary evil attached to being a military mummy. So, do we continue to devotedly follow our men around the world and pack our children off to Boarding School or do we elect to petulantly stamp our feet, demand that he buys us our own pad off the ‘patch’ and let him commute to RAF Middle-of-Nowhere? I chose the petulant stamp my feet option! A very interesting debate which I look forward to you exploring.

    1. Our hands forced not so much by the mobility but more by his needs for small classes and additional teaching support that he would not have received in the state system. What is defined a need in the state system is not the same need in the independent system. Plus when we were posted to Poole, we couldn’t get him into our first choice and got him into another school where he was punched on his first day, and the teacher was more coping than teaching! We were then forced to put him an independent day school at our cost for the last 2 years because the schools in our catchment area were supporting a very economically deprived community. During this time in the independent system it emerged that he has learning needs that put him firmly in the middle of the schools system. Not special needs enough for the Special Education Needs system not academic enough for the independent system. This is the best for him, no matter how hard it is for me, sat here deafened by the silence and aching to know how he is getting on. It’s been a real journey and a battle but ultimately I think this is the best middle ground solution – I am not sure what we would have done if we would have to termly board him. We are not in a position to stamp feet and buy house and send him Hagar to commute to RAF nowhere.

      1. I fully understand your reasons for choosing the path you did. Unlike me, you are being completely unselfish and putting your little man’s needs first and you are a fabulous Mum for doing this, however difficult it might be for you right now. I do hope it gets easier for you as the weeks go on and that the Grenade has a blast in his new school.

        I was just observing that our husbands seem to reach a point in their careers, which clashes with our kids schooling and many of us have to decide whether we are going to follow them around as a family and face constant upheaval for schooling or choose the Boarding School/stability option or the house-buying/stability option. It’s a very difficult decision to make where the kids are concerned and at the end of the day we all have to make the decision that is best for them and the family as a whole.

        Good Luck to you all xxxx

  11. Debris, well said! We are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to our lives, kid’s schooling and husband’s career aspiration. What I don’t need right now is the SDSR to throw a spanner in the works!

    1. Lizzie! I know that would definitely be a nightmare!! Lovely Debs, thank you for your gorgeousness! I just read my reply to you, I didn’t mean to sound so grumpy!! I was watching Dragon’s Den, following the MAD awards live and commenting on my blog! Yes, you are so right too – we are stuck between mobile hubby or banish the kids – how little we knew we conceived our babies in the safety and stability of RAF Odiham that the possibilities and change we would face in the advent of career progression!

  12. Difficult to see one’s 7-year old off to boarding school. I’d have thought having him home in the evening to let him talk about reading, his school-mates, the teachers, etc would make school more fun – or at least that’s what worked for me here in the US //

    1. He’s back friday – he only boards Mon-Thurs – home for weekends. It’s a long story but it means he’ll stay at the school for 5 years. He can’t handle the moves – he’s already got weaknesses. I saw him today – he’s loving it. Me – I am the one struggling!

  13. Congrats on your Prima article and also on your son’s happy beginning to school. I just put my son Nino into school for the first time and it was difficult for me too. The year before I had homeschooled him, but I realized that I just wasn’t going to be able to continue that forever. Thankfully he loves his new school (even though it is expensive enough to require me to sell my own organs regularly for him to attend) and says everyday that it’s “The Best Day Ever.” I hope your son continues to love his school and that you can be relaxed and happy! Loved the VLOG and your lipstick. Mwah!

  14. Being a military spouse myself I totally see the logic in your decision. I have considered homeschooling as an option for when we get back to the US due to the fact that I have no idea at what grade level my children will be placed in once we return.

    I would hate that they be ahead and placed with children their own age for the sake of being around children their own age and being bored out of their minds. On the other hand I don’t want them thrust forwards and being thrown to the wolves, as such, with older children. This whole parenting lark isn’t for the weak of heart or mind is it?

    1. Trans-atlantic that’s fairly epic and two different school systems as well. Very complex. I am banking on us not getting overseas postings for the next five years. They are fairly rare now in Hagar’s line of business so the odds are good. I am not sure I could handle a continent between us with both Hagar or I not an UK soil. I have been in Australia without him and USA but we like to keep one parent in the same country at the same time as a rule of thumb.

      When are you back in the good ole USA? How long do we have you here for? We should visit each other and blog it. What do you think?

  15. You’re adorable. A you’re adorable, B you’re so beautiful, C you’re a cutie full of charm….. I always put everything to song. And I love your voice….. it’s so so so British. Ha What did I expect? Polish?

    The Grenade’s a strong little boy of seven. You’ve got your finger’s in many pies right now. Glad you’re back.

    1. Yes – very British indeed, although there are much posher than me!! I am just a commoner, with a sculpted voice – very vanilla. Thanks – weirdly I missed you too, that’s why I popped over to yours and gave you nudge. x

  16. I have been so pants about keeping up with blogs over the summer and all, so it passed me by that Grenade had gone to boarding school. I hope that it works out well for all of you.

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