Going to big school – managing the school run with the rest of the family in tow

first day

I’ve been on holidays – holidays with family; holidays from writing and holidays from myself.  There’s been so much happening and not happening that finding time to write or to balance what’s mine and what is required from me has not only been difficult; I’ve found it darn right impossible.  The other times I just couldn’t be bothered.  Sorry dear readers.

So it was that things that I would’ve normally written about passed me by and then it became too late to recapture them . . . until this week.

This week has seen me reach a milestone in motherhood.  This is a milestone that for four and a half years I’ve known it was coming.  Yet, it seemed to arrive suddenly and gave me mixed feelings joy, trepidation and that hoary old chestnut, guilt.   The milestone I speak of is my first child’s first day at Primary School.

Master 4 was more than ready socially and academically.  We had uniforms, lunches and bags sorted.  He was excited and I was nervous for him.  We made his day special by both of us being there for him to walk him in, meet the teacher and find his desk.  He was totally fine while I fussed about and lingered.  I was proud when he did not cry.  I felt sad that he did not need me so much anymore and was making his first foray into the world for hours at a time without me.  But I did not cry either.  A kind of bitter-sweet emotional wave engulfed me as Mr MF ushered me out of the classroom.  Overall it was me who was overwhelmed.

At pick up time, Master 4 gave me a big hug and said “I loved it Mum, can I come back tomorrow?”  The poor darling doesn’t realise just how many years of schooling he is yet to get through!

Today is his fourth day at school and he still loves it.  But today was the first day that I have had to run the gauntlet of ‘school drop off’ with Master 3 and Master 19-months in tow.  Now I have described Master 3 before – suffice to say that he could conquer the world with one finger, he has such a strong and ruthless character.  Master 19-months is his number one fan.  So I had a plan . . .

I locked Master 19-months in the stroller and bribed Master 3 with promises of a bakery visit for a cupcake on the way home before we got out of the car.  I made sure that Master 3 understood that he could not run away from me, hit other children or tear off into classrooms.  He nodded sagely, his big chocolate-coloured eyes sparkled with innocence and he made me a ‘pinky promise’ that I just knew I could not trust.  Then I got Master 4 to hold his hand.  I held his other hand and pushed the stroller with one hand.

We meandered across the car park successfully and along the path towards Master 4’s classroom – a distance that took about 3 minutes, maximum.  By the time that Master 4 had unpacked his lunch and hung up his bag Master 3 was getting antsy so I picked him up so he couldn’t run away and I agreed that he could have a quick play in the playground on our way out.  I was now carrying a child while pushing the stroller one handed.

We said quick goodbyes to Master 4 and headed off.  The playground was just around the corner so I let Master 3 down to run ahead.  He climbed up the steps to the platform at the top of the slide and proceeded to piss his pants the second he was at the top.  Nup, he couldn’t have done it on the grass on the way over.  Wee flooded down his legs, wetting his shoes and socks and created a giant puddle that began to trickle down the slide. Are you fucking kidding me?!

I parked the stroller and went over to lift him down.  Only he didn’t want to come down.  He wanted to stay and play so he began to scream one of his finest tantrums.  Eventually I was able to coax him towards me so I could lift him down.

Screaming that he wanted me to leave him there (fuck I wanted to!) he then lay on the ground and screamed while I tried to hold his hand to get him to walk with me.  Pushing the stroller with one hand was becoming more difficult and in the fluster I ran Master 19-months into a pole on one side of the path and then into the garden on the other side.  Trying to maintain some dignity I half dragged him and half pushed the stroller . . .

Finally, we got across the car park and back to our car.  By this time Master 3 had changed tack.  He started screaming that he couldn’t walk because his pants were wet.  I stripped him off so I could dress him in dry clothes (that I keep in the car for such accidents since I’m so organised) only to find that the only dry clothes in the nappy bag belonged to Master 4 who is much bigger.  So he had to wear size 6 shorts and no boxer shorts and then I wrestled him into his car seat.

By this time the normally easy going Master 19-months was getting stroppy and who could blame him?  When I went to strap him into his car seat he decided that screaming and making his body stiff and flat would be the way to really tip me over the edge.  He was right.  But the car park of a school is not the place to do your ‘nana with your kids.

So taking some deep breaths and muttering to myself about how fucking wonderful motherhood really is I managed to get Master 19-months confined.

Then I thought about my dilemma.  Would the wee dry by recess time and could I just high-tail it home?  No.  I could not.  It was unhygienic and poor form overall to leave your kid’s piss on play equipment.  Different story if it was on the grass, but Master 3 had made sure he had well and truly left his calling card.

wet

So I drove up to the front office and explained what had just happened and asked if I could have a bucket to wash it down.  The lovely administration officer just laughed and told me a ‘funny story’ about a parent volunteer whose younger child poo-ed in the corner of the classroom last year.  I bet it wasn’t funny for that mother.  Thinking that it could be worse I anxiously left the two kids in the car and rushed across the quadrangle to fill the bucket at the mini-sink.  I climbed up on the playground and washed away the wee.

I could hear both kids screaming in the closed car as I walked back.  I really didn’t want to get back in and drive back to the office to return the bucket.  But I did.

I turned on the radio loudly to drown out the screaming.  Strangely they love loud music and they stopped screaming to listen to it.  Within seconds they were both calm again.

As crazy as that half hour had been it wouldn’t have been right to punish Master 3 for wetting himself and wanting to stay at school with his big brother.  So we did go to the bakery on the way home – primarily because I needed to drink coffee!

A short time after that we were home and with little fight they both went to sleep.  I then took the wet clothes and put them in the wash.

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