Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Private Investigator Mummy

In recent weeks, since Ellie started school, my journey of being Ellie’s mum has required me to develop a number of new skills – interviewing suspects (well Ellie), finding clues (most frequently in her school bag) and generally the skill of ‘investigating’ (acting like a dog with a bone).

I am therefore proud to introduce you to my newest persona – Private Investigator or PI Mummy and I’m pleased to share with you my first two investigations.

PI Mummy and the mystery of the school lunch
Ellie has school lunches which cost about £70 per term and has done since she started at this school. It works because when I get home from work it’s too late to start cooking and making sure she eats a proper meal. Instead she can have something quick and light. (I make no apologies for this – I’m a working mum, so I’m afraid it’s life). The problem I have is that I have no idea how much Ellie eats of the school lunches, because I’m not there.

I was obviously therefore pleased when Ellie came home one day not long after starting school with a stamp on her hand and stated that the dinner lady gave it her because she ate most of her lunch. To be honest her explanation did vary from all of my lunch to most of it so it wasn’t entirely reliable but was at least consistent in that she was eating well.

A few days after Ellie came home and proudly showed me two stamps – one on each hand. She announced that she’d eaten all of her lunch – hence her stamps. Now I don’t know the portion sizes at all but I figured that’d got to be a good sign and whilst my investigator nose was slightly twitchy I accepted what she said.

Several days later I was chatting to one of the other mums at the school and I decided to broach the lunch stamp subject in order to verify what I’d been told. (I note this as good investigator practice.) I started by saying that the stamps were really helpful albeit a little confusing and I was pleased to see that she clearly recognised what I was saying – nodding and smiling. Then just as I was about to relax she continued with ‘they are funny though - sometimes they get one stamp on each hand because they get one dinner lady to stamp one hand then hiding that hand they go to another dinner lady and ask for another stamp – that way they get two’. Oh - that’s my girl.

As you can imagine PI Mummy kicked into action and that night I confronted Ellie with my new found knowledge in order to elicit a confession. Ellie for her part didn’t even try to deny it but giggled loudly and said ‘we all do it’. She even proudly explained the process to me! For my part I’m afraid to say that on this first outing of PI Mummy I was totally wrong footed and quite simply speechless.

PI Mummy and the mystery of missing PE bag
My second investigation was prompted when Ellie came home from school one evening and clearly announced that her PE kit was missing at school. My investigator instincts sprang immediately into action and I quizzed Ellie:

  • Where did you look? ‘everywhere’
  • What part of your PE kit is missing? ‘all of it’
  • When did you see it last? No comment
  • Did you ask a teacher? ‘She said she couldn’t find it’

Term hadn’t long started so I was somewhat confused but Ellie was quite clear it was lost- the entire kit and bag. I instructed Ellie that she had to go back into school the next day and look for it…properly. I used my stern investigator voice and repeated the instruction again in the morning before school.

The next evening Ellie reported that it was nowhere to be found and even the teacher had looked.

PI Mummy was of course not going to be beaten so the next time I was collecting Ellie I went straight up to the teacher and asked if I could please come in to look around and check lost property. I would find the kit.

Ellie and I duly looked around the entire classroom and the other reception classroom too. Even Ellie’s teacher walked around and looked with us. Now I didn’t have my magnifying glass but Ellie’s PE bag is bright pink with Hello Kitty on it and a huge name label saying ELLIE so I don’t believe I missed it. I got on hands and knees several times and looked extra carefully around the pegs where every other child’s bag was hanging happily but alas, there was no sign of it.

Ellie and I went around to reception to check lost property and ask for their help – the loss was noted down and they would ask everyone to have another really good look. There was nothing else to be done so we retreated back home and I licked my wounded pride at the fact I had failed to find it.

After another week we hadn’t heard anything from the school so I admitted defeat – marked the case file as MIA and sent an order into school for a new uniform. Message received back (via Ellie’s child minder) was that the new kit would be available the next day.

Now you can already tell that this isn’t the end of the story and the final blow came the next morning. I was mid-sentence, handing over the required cheque to the child minder so she could collect the new kit when Ellie looked up and simply said ‘I found my PE kit’. That was it – nothing else, she just turned and continued with what she was doing.

The file has since been marked closed case but I can’t help but feel slightly aggrieved that I can’t credit the find to my investigator skills…ah well next time.

So there you have it – the first ever PI Mummy investigation reports. I hope you like it and as always, I’d love to hear from you (@sharonmsmyth or via the comments box on this page). It would be great to hear from other mummy and daddy investigators and how they’ve dealt with similar mysteries.

Just before I sign off, I will not mention this again, but if you’ve enjoyed reading my blog I would be immensely grateful if you would consider nominating it for a MAD blog award. Most relevant categories are best new blog and best schooldays blog so if you’re happy to nominate (it takes only a few minutes) then please do!


  1. Oh dear the missing kit sounds very frustrating. Bibsey's favourite toy Honey Bunny went missing for a couple of days recently. Quite a mystery and a bit of a drama. In the end, having checked her bed several times already, I found Honey Bunny in the BED. Duh!

  2. It was frustrating Bibsey Mama but I also fear it's the start of things to come so my investigator skills are going to have to improve! lol

  3. I just popped in from Mummy's Little Monkey via Blow your own Bloghorn. Loved your investigative skills, was just like the unfolding of a PI Thriller. Glad the PE bag was found... but it was only partly solve. You left us all hanging by a thread... where did Ellie find it? I shan't sleep until I know. Teee hee hee.
    Please do visit me at

  4. Hi Lynda - I'm so sorry to disappoint but I have no idea where it was discovered. All Ellie could tell me is that it was found. You can only imagine my frustration...I know I looked everywhere.
    Glad you found the blog - I shall have a visit over to you too. :-)

  5. oh no, I can see me becoming PI Mummy too again when mine starts school, I think I already do it at nursery :)

  6. Oh, we have had so many of these! Mainly, it involves jumpers going home with other children, but I've still never solved the mystery of how we ended up a pair of trousers down without a swap ever being evident... Surely I'd have noticed if my son came home without his trousers on?

    Hopped over from BYOB on Mummy's Little Monkey.

  7. School is part PI, part psychic I think ! We seem to get half messages home, we have lost a coat that never appeared and even a Viola went missing on the school bus !

    Just found you via Mummy's little monkey.

  8. Thanks for hopping over mymummylife and More4Mums - it's good to know it's not just Ellie that does this stuff. The best i've heard so far is losing shoes and similar to mymummylife - surely the parent would've noticed! :-)
    Pop by again soon and thanks for reading. x

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