Sydney Mum finding motherhood is totes hectic
Kindergarten, Term 1. First child is about to finish her first term at school. It’s all momentous. Huge learning curves of scheduling, packing lunches, remembering which day to pack a book or news item or homework and mostly getting to school on time.
How’s it really going? I am dealing with an excited, tired, emotional child who is amazingly learning to read and write. The progress amazes me, this is not about her being anything extraordinary, but a teaching curriculum that works and a lovely teacher.
The first few weeks we just got home and flopped. I pulled out the snacks, the smoothies, the popcorn (not all at once) and let them watch TV. I relied heavily on icey poles from Aldi. Thin sticks of frozen flavoured water. It’s how I got them to the front door most days. I would yell out ‘Icey Poles!’ as their motivation to forget their fatigue.
The other child had just started three days of preschool, not his first time in a school, but a new school with different schedules. We also made them scooter to school, as the parking was ridiculous. I felt better if they scootered and then crashed into the bean bags at home. At least they exercised.
The first sign of fatigue was the crying. If we took a different street home she would cry. The sobbing carried on while scooting. No words would help, just getting home and having an iced lolly. One afternoon she screamed ‘I want to go my way!’. She wanted to make her own decisions. Take control and not just obey. So I let her. ‘Which way would you like to go?’ Didn’t matter if it was the same way; it was her way.
Swimming was the only after school activity this term. Just wanted to save all her learning energy on school.
As the weeks progressed we found going to parks, having playdates, going to the library or just playing with toys at home became the best option after school. A few surprise trips also broke the mood of tiredness. We would go to the beach or the Smaland play room at Ikea. On days when we all needed it, out came the iPad. Sometimes we all need to stare at a screen for an hour.
We reached the Easter break really exhausted and spent every day in a new park. I wanted to do nothing the same as our school days. New places, lots of fresh air and open play. We had some delightful days where one park trip lasted 6 hours. 3 hours in the park with various school friends also hanging about, plus another 3 hours drinking wine at a neighbour’s house on the way home. At the end of Easter the house was a toy bomb site. Everything had been rediscovered, played with and left in a complicated pile.
Saturday nights we have started the movie night ritual. It gives a sense that it’s the weekend and not a school night. They are always asking if tomorrow is a school day or not. Can’t quite work out if the question derives from a sense of dread or not. We watched ‘Ghostbusters’ a few times and then last week was ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ (1971 version of course). Their frantic delight when Charlie found the golden ticket and ran home had me in tears. The 3 year old acted like an upside down cockroach with arms and legs flying, the 5 year old had to jump all over the couch. You have to eat chocolate at some point during this movie. It’s cruel not to.
The holidays start this week. There will be train trips, museum visits, more parks and playdates. What delights me is they are both different from 10 weeks ago. The 5 year old plays and talks and colours and set ups her own activities. The 3 year old joins in or does a similar thing. There is always fighting but there is more self-directed play, more quite play, more intense play. I feel more like the conductor of this team. They are themselves I just have to guide them to do their best.. or just keep them quiet.