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Location: Sydney, Australia

I have now moved this blog to Typepad: the new address is http://susoz.typepad.com/personal_political/

Monday, December 13, 2004

on time

For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, getting a child to school on time seems one of the most demanding activities I've ever engaged in. I find it hard to remember back to the pre-baby days of just getting myself to work, but I don't recall them being very complicated. I even managed to take a shower in the mornings, in fact I considered that an essential pre-requisite to the day. I gave up morning showers when Olle was a baby and now have one at night (when he is asleep). So I don't even have to fit that into my mornings. What exactly do I have to do? (Assume that each request/instruction to child has to be made at least two times and that he loiters and plays and daydreams around while I'm in a frenzy).

Today: Got up. Child still sleeping (big weekend). Co-parent has already left for work very early (after walking the dogs) so she can take time out for the school concert later in the day. The previous day I had washed and wrapped five soft toys which had been given to our son as a baby but which we had now decided we'd give as his gift to a Christmas charity at the concert. They were still unlabelled. Turn on iron, let cats out, feed cats, put small mat which one cat has pissed on into washing machine. Make boy's breakfast and prepare drink. Boy wakes up, comes downstairs with his uniform (which has been laid out for him the evening before.) He changes into his uniform, with a little assistance. Take frozen buns and bread rolls out of freezer, cut in half and hope they dethaw quickly. Send him upstairs to get his school shoes. Iron starts beeping (it's been on for 15 minutes). Make some green tea, set him up with breakfast at the table, go and iron my work clothes. Change into them. Come back and start labelling the charity gifts (first cut out labels, find tape, stick labels onto gifts). Put his socks and shoes on while he eats breakfast (not good for his independence but saves time). He finishes breakfast and tries to get himself some cashew nuts out of the cupboard. Spills a jar of almonds all over the floor. Put on some toast, make him pick up some of the almonds ("why do I always have to pick things up?"), pick up the rest, wash them (too expensive to throw them out). Ask him to bring his school bag to the kitchen. Start buttering his wholemeal scone for morning snack. Make his lunch roll. Place in his bag. Start making same for myself. Instruct him to place all gifts into a plastic bag and take it to the front dor. Send child upstairs to get his toothbrush. Supervise him brushing his teeth at kitchen sink while I finish making lunch for myself. Put on some toast. Decide to check his head for lice as he's been scratching a lot. Discover many nits. Spray his head with a tea-tree headlice preventative (he already has them, but still...) Send him to put his hat on. Instead he stands on the toilet to look in the mirror and wobble his second loose tooth. Go upstairs to visit bathroom and lock up. Find my shoes (junior dog often walks around with shoes in his mouth and deposits them in odd places). Come downstairs and lock the back door. Find boy's raincoat and help him into it. Put leashes on dogs, plastic bags into pockets, put my lunch into my own bag, make my toast, drink cold green tea in one go, put his school backpack on my back, place my bag on one shoulder, carry toast in one hand along with umbrella, have dogs on leashes on the other hand, instruct child to carry bag full of gifts, leave the house - on time (only just).

On a normal schoolday, we'd have to fit reading his school reader and supervising his spelling homework into this timeframe, but those tasks have now ended for the year.

We then walk to school. Stay for the morning assembly. Today was unusual because of the school concert. Normally I would not take the dogs, but would walk my bicycle to school and leave for work from there. Today I proceeded with dogs to the park for a walk, then took them home (had to put senior dog on a leash in the park to make her get a move on, she is so slow and stubborn now), at which point I discovered I'd forgotten to take my key. Knocked on an unemployed neighbour's door in order to make a phone call to co-parent, neighbour revealed he'd been given a key to our house by the ex-owners over a year ago (!), so I was able to get in, deposit the dogs, collect the video camera and head back for the school concert (which was incredibly sweet.) After that I came back home, changed shoes, got on my bike and rode to work to start the day.

Later: When I wrote 'dethaw' above, I was obviously aiming for 'defrost' or 'thaw' and my subconscious came up with an entirely new word.

Even later: Our cats, by the way, are well house trained but every so often one of them (I'm not sure which one) pisses on the mat at the back door when we are too late letting them out in the morning. I lock the cats in overnight so they can't hunt, so opening a window is not an option. It's a washable mat, so no big deal.

As Lori notes, this is with only one child, one who is at quite an independent age (but he is a dreamer...) But I think what adds to the pressure is getting myself to work too. And I stay there till 6pm, so that when we get home in the evenings, it's all systems go for immediate dinner and bedtime. I often put the washing machine and dishwasher on in the mornings and have to deal with that on return.

When Olle was in Stalag Montessori at age three, we had to get him to school by 9am and send his lunch. It didn't feel as difficult, because I wasn't working and because he didn't have a uniform and didn't have to do any homework.

This morning we were actually 10 minutes early! That's the end-of-year no-homework factor - although I did have to spend some time over breakfast removing dead nits from his hair.

8 Comments:

Blogger Lori said...

Just imagine if you had two to deal with in the morning...I have to admit I am not terribly successful at getting the kids to school on time. Will have to work on it over the summer.

14 December 2004 at 1:37 am  
Blogger Sarah said...

I dress Jake completely every day. He can do it himself, but takes tooooo long. *shrug* I'm not worried about his independence.

16 December 2004 at 4:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've noticed that most the parenting books have a section on how hard it is to get a child through his or her morning routine. So I think we are not alone in this.

-Valerie

19 December 2004 at 1:40 pm  
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