Monday. Rest day. And also is the first day we bring my little boy to school. I’m reminded of the refrain in ‘Going on a Bear Day!’: “What a beautiful day! – We’re not scared!”
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Michael Rosen, Helen Oxenbury:
We head over to his school and he trots in with zero problems, especially when he sees that they have toy cars. I am not sure what to do; parents were never allowed into classrooms, so it is hard to lean on my own experience. We head away, and he’s perfectly okay to see us go. We go back after two hours and again, he’s grand. All happy. So far so good! We spend the afternoon together just hanging out, the three of us, and life is good.
Tuesday. I’m supposed to go running today, but I honestly can’t make myself. We drop little man into school, and go do errands at Dundrum Shopping Centre. We seem to buy everything, then go pick him up. Again, he’s all happy and joyous, all skipping innocence. Home, dinner, all happy joy joy.
Wednesday: So we drop him off early this morning, at 830 am and oh my god the traffic. Lots of lovely Mummies rushing in and out, parking aggressively without actually letting themselves acknowledge it. It’s hellish, and we make the mistake of trying to cross over the M50. Oh my God! How the hell does anyone get anywhere in this city? It’s so bad I want to cry for them.
Each morning, no matter what, that is your life.
Being at home means there is much more likelihood of eating. Trying to keep busy when in essence you’re just trying to kill time is hard. We go to pick him up and he is exhausted, he falls asleep in the car. I feel guilty, for some reason. He’s so little. He has to go to school. We’re taking a week off to focus on him, while he gets used to it. But I am here relaxing and getting annoyed at daytime radio, while he copes with it by himself. It seems uncaring and wrong; indulgent.
Thursday: – Right, look enough talk. I get up, do some gentle exercises, then we drive him over to school. He heads in all happy, then home we go. At about ten to eleven, I head out for a jog. I get about half a mile done, and the pain in my hip starts. Then it gets worse, and much worse. I figure, sure, not good, but I’ll walk it off. I try again and the pain is just awful. I walk the rest of the way home. My mood isn’t helped by a size X runner passing me by (size X is a size so small it’s theoretically possible to be less than zero), who gives me a dismissive once over. I glance at myself in a window and confirm that yes, I am all lumpy roundness. Damnit. Damn it. I go in, limp upstairs.
I check my weight. I haven’t done that for 30 days, and have kept to a diet. I have waited for this moment to cheer myself up, and not being able to run is a good time to get some good news. So on the scales I get. And I discover I have lost the grand total of FOUR POUNDS. Misery for 30 days, and now this. After grumpily briefing the other half I head into the shower.
As I begin to wash off the sulk, I get to see a spider rushing out towards me from the corner. A big, hairy spider. I’m superstitious about these, I’m convinced they mean bad news in on the way.
I am Claire’s crushing guilt.
Nevertheless, the resulting scream was both powerful and courageous, and I was perfectly happy to be covered in soap when I got out of the shower.
I got into bed afterwards to see if a rest would improve the hip. I honestly just wanted to have a bit of a cry, was feeling low because of the pain. And that was when the phone rang.
It was the school.
Little man had managed to get out of the classroom. He’d run to the front door, and managed to nearly get out of there.
Up and out and away we go, not talking.
So on Thursday we’d managed to get to the school, and found little man crying his eyes out on the mat in the schoolroom. We made the teacher explain herself (how the hell did he get out please?) and made him apologise for causing such worry to her. Then home, fretting, and lots of chores. Then bed, as early as I could manage. Trauma makes me exhausted, and there was nothing else for it. Friday saw me awake at 4 am, worrying. And also little man decided it was the perfect time to play, despite my ignoring him. Then up at 6 am with the alarm, breakfast, and heading over at 7.30 am. I headed out later to get my hair cut, determined to keep myself in a permanent state of readiness. This is also the last chance for hair cuts and any real maintenance for ages; strike while the iron is working through phonetic sounds. The haircut is actually a lot of fun, and I come home looking more reasonable than I had for a while. No sign of escapism from Junior either, that seems to go okay.
We pick him up, and the teacher informs us in an appalled tone that he fell asleep in the room. This was utterly unremarkable in the creche two weeks ago. But I am now, it seems, worse than Hitler. We take him home, grateful to all the Gods that it is now Friday, and we can exhale.
Saturday: Dear friends come over, who we have not seen in far too long. Because she is a baker, and she is brilliant.
Youse all mad jealous.
I learn in quick succession:
- A child sleeping in class would indeed be a very bad thing, and we are now those parents.
- I can’t cut fringes for peanuts.
We eat, and laugh, and I feel my shoulders go down slightly. I stay away from the weighing scales, though.
No exercise. Is that to be gone forever, I ask myself? We play for hours in our pjs, and I realise I’ve left the Little Man’s bike out in the rain. We wheel it in, only for the electronic siren to go off again and again. Eventually I take it off the bike and hide it in the sitting room, and the child had the job of running in and turning it off at random intervals; a job not unlike being a parent. We eventually give up and smother the noise with a pillow and a stuffed hedgehog, which isn’t giving me hope for his parenting future.
Hedgehog thinks of murder. ALL. DAY. LONG.
In an effort to encourage civilising my offspring, I line up Lego figurines to convey the importance of sitting in a desk, of listening and of focus. Two rules are laid out over and over; do what the teacher says, and wait for Mummy and Daddy. He trots off to bed later that day as innocent as snow.
Exercise audit; nothing done so far. A worthy goal would be to have three exercise sessions of small duration this week. A swim during lunch and a run during the week, and a run at the weekend. If I can fit that in, and that is how I am seeing this, then I’ll have accomplished something. Wish me, and us, luck.