|They're so cute when they're organised.|
Almost like, well, if I achieve not one other thing this day, at least I got Joshie off to school with his library books, and Issy's hair is done.
But it comes at a cost.
Because once I've hounded Joshie into reading the end of his reader, finding his other reader, putting them in the folder, putting the folder in his school bag, finding both library books, finding his library bag, putting the library bag in his school bag, putting his lunch in his school bag, sit with him and provide gentle encouragement while he attempts shoelaces for the millionth time, I'm exhausted.
Every single step Josh takes every morning requires at least three reminders. Thank goodness reader/library day is once a week or we'd be on the news for all the wrong reasons.
Sarah needs her speech listened to, timed, her pictures stuck on the fridge in simulation so she can point at the right moments. She needs her book review booklet gone through for spelling and punctuation. Which nearly makes me weep. IT'S THEIR NOT THERE FOR GODS SAKE!!
Note to self: she's 9. she's only 9.
Issy desperately needs help drawing a...squirrel. No idea why. She just gives herself tasks to do while I rant and rave at the other pair and demands my attention frequently because she thinks my attention is great. The other pair would rather find a nice place to curl up under a throw rug and be invisible until school time.
Then I walk Sarah around to the school library to hand in her booklet, having made sure she has her speech, palm cards, pictures and magnets to stick pictures to the smart board (the school magnets are inferior- who knew?), kiss, hug, instructions for the afternoon.
Then I take Joshie to his side, avoid a melt down by double checking he also has his man of the match medal for news, kiss, hug, instructions for afternoon.
Then I go back home with Issy, discuss scooter vs walk, decided on scooter, find scooter, find helmet (with princess crown), she scoots for 50m and then walks and whinges the rest of the way. Find preferred lunchbox we thought lost forever is actually at preschool, transfer lunch from inferior to preferred, admire the lost tooth space of her best friend, finally escape to the peace of the footpath.
Every child is where they should be. No tears and no shouting. That's just today. Not every morning is as successful. In fact, it's a bit of a miracle. Often there are tears (could be any or all of the 4 of us), arguments, things are forgotten, someone gets clingy or doesn't like their plans for the afternoon.
If I rush them, try to send Josh with Sarah to walk across to his side of the school at the lollipop man, insist Issy walks because I know how it always finishes, it doesn't work. Then I just feel worse.
I am incredibly lucky to have the luxury of spending this time making sure their day goes smoothly and giving them a good send off. But what is it teaching them? That I'll always have their back? Sure, but I'm not going to be there every step of the way.
What's the balance between shoving them gently but firmly out into the world to fail a little (or a lot) and making sure they feel supported?
It's 9:25. I've just had the three busiest hours of my day. And while I have 5 hours and 40 minutes child free ahead of me, I'm totally knackered.
Plus everyone knows the hours between 9 and 3 on weekdays go faster than other times. It's like a weird blip in the space/time continuum.