It’s 8.14pm. I’m lying on the bed gently overheating in my new furry slippers, laptop optimistically open and my work emails up but I’m actually starting to daydream because I’m tired. A day in London does that now – packing in five meetings, a snatched lunch and a rush to and from the station. But I enjoy it, punctuating my month with a slice of the capital.
Now late September, school is officially underway and half term discos, books at bedtime and Trick or Treating are already hovering on the horizon. I’m not quite sure where the last few weeks have gone but they’ve hopped, skipped and jumped past me, leaving behind only vague memories of Facebooked school uniform photos and the name tag ironing frenzy.
My work emails are still open (it’s 8.22pm now) and instead of following up with my meeting notes I’m thinking about inventions that would help improve my life. Here are a few that spring to mind:
Non-colour-mixing playdoh – no more inevitable green, sludgy mess – playdoh yellow is always bright and fresh and the special edition pink sparkle version stays forever pink and sparkly
A wearable hair dryer – so I can wander around upstairs hands-free in the morning supervising the children as they hide and refuse to get dressed
The school uniform folder-upper and hanger-upper (because Scrip clearly doesn’t understand the concept) which doubles as a clean clothes sorter and distributor (there’s a theme here)
Never-ending cereal – to avoid the endless squabbles over the last three Shreddies
The shoe auto-organiser (why is there always one child’s shoe missing?)
It’s 8.32pm and I think my curfew might be 9pm tonight. I’ll be dreaming of hairdryers, cereal and playdoh.
Six months of school, six months of the school run. It’s definitely a different beast to the nursery or preschool runs – they might have been initiations but I couldn’t say they fully prepared me for the real thing.
I drop Scrip off every day and pick her up three times a week, so I’m a pretty permanent fixture at the school gates. Here’s what I do and don’t like about 8.40am and 3.30pm, every week day:
Her enthusiasm as we approach the school (I’m guessing it won’t always be like this)
Seeing new friends I might not have seen for a while – it’s nice to have a quick chat and catch up
Getting out in the fresh air. We walk it a few times a week and it’s lovely (if it’s dry)
Spending some nice, quality time with her each morning
Dropping off a happy girl and going on to do my own things – either work or a day with D
I don’t love:
Not just pulling on the first thing I find in the morning. These are smart parents – I feel like I need to be too
The crush – I always seem to find the busiest time possible, cue lots of bumping into people and dragging D out of the way if he’s with me
The uncertain greetings – seeing those people you kind of know, kind of don’t
Pulling Baby D out of Scrip’s classroom EVERY TIME he comes with me
Passing the sporty parents and feeling distinctly unsporty
The traffic! Arrive a few minutes after the gates have opened and it’s never-seen before chaos
I’m guessing I’ll have to get used to this. It’s going to be like this for the next decade at least 😉
Tonight you let me wash your hair
No fuss, as if the water wasn’t there
You dried yourself and put nightclothes on
Tolerated the toddler’s evening fun
You chose two stories and patiently waited
You spelt out some words, really concentrated
Then I kissed my little girl goodnight
Set the gro-clock, turned off the light
And closed the door on our life so far
Four and half years of my biggest star.
You’re excited, apprehensive, keen to start
I echo your feelings, but there’s also a part
That can’t let that eager little one go
Feeling sadness I’m trying not to show
School’s like a marker, a new path we must find
And I’m worried we’ll leave a little bit behind
I know you must learn, and change and grow
The journey’s exciting and there’s a long way to go
But in a way I suppose you’ll always be
My bright, loving baby, indefinitely.