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Back to school week never goes smoothly in our house, despite all the Facebook photos posted by other parents.
It’s the first week back at school and, inevitably, things are not going particularly well. I’ve been late for drop-off once and for pick-up twice. This is mainly because children have gone back on different days and everyone is extremely tired because they didn’t prepare at all, despite constant entreaties to go to bed early. Next summer I am just going to record myself saying the whole getting enough sleep is as important to your health as eating vegetables/You will live to regret it if you don’t spiel. It will save time. I may set it to a tune by BTS, if that is the only way to get their attention and if, big if, they are still into BTS by next summer.
Only son went back to school in too big trousers on Tuesday morning. I did a last minute hemming job and he was off. He didn’t even complain much because he had set up a packed lunch extravaganza to ease himself into the week. I was late picking him up, though, because daughter two had suddenly remembered that she needed “equipment” for the return to school. She went back on Wednesday after hours of deciding what to wear since, to her horror, every day is a no school uniform day in sixth form.
I woke her up at 7.30am, giving her a bit of a lie-in, but when I checked up on her at 8am she was still in bed. That gave her 10 minutes to get out the door so I could drop her and then only son in time. Only son’s school is 20 minutes from hers. She emerged at 8.25am. I dropped only son 10 minutes late then glanced at my phone. On the parent whatsapp group it said something about the kids having to be in quarter of an hour early for assessments. Oh dear.
I arrived late to pick up only son, having been caught behind the inevitable tractor – the perils of living in the countryside – and having been waylaid by listening to the Westminster drama and wondering about the similarities between the no deal bravado and the testosterone-driven, risk-taking behaviour that landed us in a global recession. My mind has also been occupied in large part by Hurricane Dorian. Some of my family live in Bahamas, though not in the worst affected areas, but I spent part of my childhood on Grand Bahama. I cannot imagine what people have had to go through.
Daughter two came home and promptly fell asleep on the sofa. It emerged later that it had not been a good day. She’d missed a lesson due to a confusion over the timetable and after years of slog for the GCSEs, the first comment from a teacher about the A Levels was that this was going to be the hardest two years of the students’ lives. It was not exactly motivational. Do teachers not get any training in child psychology? Daughter two looked extremely gloomy and said that maybe school was not for her.
Meanwhile, daughter three announced that she needed a new school bag. She has spent the week doing a summer GCSE art project which she only remembered last week. She’s back today and daughter one begins university next week. She has been sorting out cutlery and bed sheets and the like. Change is something you get used to as a parent, but when everything is changing at the same time – university, sixth form, GCSEs, etc – it is a bit disorientating. Hopefully we’ll be onto a more even footing at some point in the next decade or so.