Children don’t usually learn to tell the time until they’re about 6. I’m sure they can learn it sooner than that, but I have skipped that one with Big Girl until now. Because when your kid is standing in the middle of the living room at 10pm with eyes like this, begging to stay up until midnight because ‘they’re not even tired,’ it always pays to have a back-up plan.
You don’t need to be able to tell the time to have bad timing, though. Children seem to have an in-built sensor which detects the moments when you just really need everything to go right.
Then they crap all over it.
This post in prompted by the interesting school run I experienced this morning. Little Girl tried her best to make us late. I was just about to give the shout to get shoes on when she piped up with, “My sock is wet.” How did she get her sock wet? I don’t even know. But wet it was, so I had to traverse the Washing Pile Of Doom to find another one.
(Someone remind me again why I thought it was a good idea to buy the girls identical socks in different sizes?)
But her plan was foiled, and we managed to leave on time, by the skin of our teeth.
It was raining. Grrr.
On the way to school, Big Girl starts to complain of a really sore tummy. Now, she has been off-colour all weekend, but she did eat breakfast and played happily enough this morning. She said, “I’m really not trying to get out of school, but my tummy really hurts.” Hmmm. Does that sound like a chain-yanking turn of phrase? Possibly. But she’s never done it before, and she is rarely ill.
It would be inconvenient enough on a normal day. Having to drag a poorly child out to get her sister from pre-school is no fun. But today I said I would pick up the girls’ friend from the gymnastics club she goes to with Big Girl after school. So if she didn’t go, it would mess everything up.
So there I was, trapped in indecision.
In the end, I decided to send her in. She didn’t look that bad, and she can always tell her teacher if she gets worse.
But now, of course, I feel guilty in case she is feeling really awful.
It gets worse. Obviously.
We were about to cross the road next to school. Somehow, Little Girl tripped on nothing, as far as I could see. And I could only watch, with futile, reaching hands, as she rolled into a muddy puddle full of decomposing leaves.
She was soaked. There were bits of soggy leaf all over her. No blood though, which I was rather thankful for. She sobbed and sobbed.
It was then that I noticed her shoes were on the wrong feet.
Thank God I keep a set of spare clothes for her at school.
And then there’s the rest. All the times they have waited until we are miles away from a toilet before proclaiming their desperation.
The times they have waited until we’re in a crowd of people before asking, “Mummy, how did the baby get in your tummy?” in a voice that carries.
Oh, and the times when they scream all the way home in the car because they are overtired, only to fall into a light, movement-induced sleep as soon as you turn down your road.
It’s risky, leaving the house with small children.