The eldest comes skipping out of pre-school, waving some pieces of paper at me. It’s a school portrait in which she’s braced, ram-rod straight, smiling a vaguely terrified smile, the way you might smile if your photographer were a 6-foot bunny rabbit with the voice of Timmy Mallett. The youngest takes advantage of my distraction and pulls the pic out my hand, into the buggy. She wants to look at it, which means chew it, obviously.
In the 25 minutes it takes us to make the 5 minute walk from school, we have a discussion about funerals , a low blood-sugar tantrum and countless gentle prompts on road safety that pass in, through and out the other side. One day the youngest, who routinely ignores everything I say, will learn how to ride a scooter properly. Then things will be interesting.
Actually, things are going to be interesting a lot sooner than that. Thins are re-emerging from the loft: a carrier seat; a Phil and Ted’s cocoon. And lots of very small clothes. We are about to get very busy in our house. I’ll enjoy these relaxed school runs while I can.
They’re even rushing on the sign…
The Kick-Bollock Scramble
Professor Brian Cox has yet to get back to me about the time warp. I’m not too bothered. He’d only start banging on about Entropy, and how everything in the Universe moves inexorably towards a state of disorder (if you saw my kitchen after breakfast, you’d have to agree).
But we don’t have time for Thermodynamics. It’s 8:52am and we’re in a Mad Rush. I know it’s 8:52 because the elder has got her shoes on the wrong feet and the younger has gone into her sister’s bedroom for a poo. Same time, same room, every day. It’s a ritual. I have to leave her soiled, even though the smell qualifies her as a bio-hazard. Coats! School bag! Scooter or buggy board? Scooter it is. For 2 minutes.
Then: “My leg hurts!” I load Madam onto the buggy board. Same spot, same street, every day. It’s a ritual.
We’re on the wrong side of the school bell as we reach the gate. I can live with that. As long as we get through before the stern-looking woman with the clipboard comes out. Once she guards the entrance, there’s no getting away with it.
So obviously, with mere seconds dividing sneaky success from clipboard humiliation, we run into the biggest obstacle. The Kick Bollock Scramble. There is only one gate into and out of my daughter’s school. and at 9:04 am, the stragglers going in collide with the punctuals coming out. Imagine the Severn Bore going both ways. And made out of people. It’s like that.
Of course, it’s not complete bedlam. It’s mostly a case of forcing your way through whilst trying to look like you are waiting for a gap. But the pressure of the clipboard gets to everyone, eventually. Sometimes you’ve just got to put your head down and make a lunge for it.
Late again, UrbanDaddy?
And so it begins…
Part 1: The School-Run Time-Warp
Every morning, Monday to Friday, between 8:20am and ten-to nine, time speeds up. It’s quite inconvenient, really.
It goes like this: At 8:12 breakfast is proceeding as normal, ie. being thrown all over the kitchen. Then a kind of haze descends. I can’t state with accuracy what happens during The Haze. I do know that I hear my own ever-more-exasperated voice, repeating demands to brush teeth or put school shoes on. There’s the high-pitched wailing of pre-schooler rebellion. And everything seems to move at about a million miles per hour, presumably in little tiny circles, because we never get anywhere. After what seems like ten minutes of this, the haze lifts. Somehow, it’s always ten minutes to. What bizarre fractal of space and time have we uncovered? It’s one for Prof. Brian Cox to answer, preferably by text, as I can’t stop and chat. We’re late again, you see.
“There’s no time-warp, UrbanDaddy. You’re just disorganised”.