This morning, firstborn's second morning back at school following the drama of his bad foot, I begged and pleaded with him to let me drive him to school. But thanks to the eco-brainwashing that has been a staple of his education so far he refused. Apparently if you walk to school on a Wednesday you get a shiny badge, but if you are driven in you get a big, fat C, next to your name. Something my straight A anxiety freak couldn't cope with, so off we set.
Halfway there and just at the point where it would be pointless to summon a car for the rest of the journey, he melts down into tears that his foot hurts. Hmm, I ponder, what would a good mother do at this point? Sweep him up into a cuddle and dry his tears? Carry him all the way to school on her bended back? Or shout at him "You stupid boy, I told you we should have taken the car?". If, like me, your answer was the latter, then I'm afraid we are straight to the back of the class.
Trouble is my boy has such bad timing. On most mornings our walks to school are leisurely strolls, where we discuss how big the oriental poppies outside one of neighbours' houses have grown, or ponder what the cloud formations herald in the way of weather for the day ahead. They are our special, alone time, and are even more precious as they are due to be shattered by the incessant chatter of his little brother when he starts reception next term. But this morning I was booked to do an early photoshoot for work and I had to get back in double quick time.
As he wailed and his face grew wet and red with tears, I began to tear my hair out as to how I would square the circle of needing to do a quick as a flash school run, whilst also wanting to look after my little boy. In the end bad mummy was quashed and I carried him all the way to school, his arms twined around my neck and my back creaking with the effort. My body is made for slouching at a keyboard not schlepping six-year-olds.
We got to school, horribly late, and then he refused to join his class on a tour of his new Year 2 classroom, as he claimed to be unable to walk. Strange this for a boy who ran up to school yesterday so he wouldn't miss his chance to sing at the open evening. Worse was to come as the teacher said she couldn't leave him on his own in the classroom, so I would have to stay.
I glanced at my watch and realised that the make up artist was due at my door in less than 10 minutes. What to do? In the end a supply teacher was found to sit with my boy and I dashed off wrapped in a black cloak of guilt (again) in order to wait a good 15 minutes for anyone to show up for the shoot. Typical.
As I ranted to my husband to vent my feelings of inadequacy, he gently pointed out that as my life is lived on a knife edge it's only to be expected that the slightest tilt of its axis would leave me all in a spin. Firstborn's illness twinned with my nanny's holiday has knocked me for six, if only I were able to stop myself from taking this out on the children with such regularity. As ever my parenting report is reading could do better in big, bold letters.