All week the kids will be doing something sporty at school. Fantastic! Well… it would have been fantastic if I were one of those super-organised mothers. In fact, if I were forward-thinking *at all*.
I got on the back foot on Friday and have been playing catch-up ever since. It was only on Monday morning, for example, that I realised that Maxi only had a pair of wellies, her school shoes, a pair of party shoes and a pair of indoor plimsolls to her name. Och, plenty shoes, you’d think. But: what would she wear for outdoor sports? All week?
Cue one swift visit to Tesco after Mini’s swimming lesson. I basically bought every vaguely outdoory kind of shoe in vaguely her size, took them all home to try on at lunchtime, and will take all bar one pair back at the weekend.
(Tesco shoes. I know. I’m going to Non-Clarks Hell when I die).
I’m relieved I found one pair that fit – most shoes from Tesco are seriously random sizes. One pair of 12s will be too small, whereas another pair in the identical style with the identical barcode, will be too big. I found one pair of shoes so wide that the velcro straps couldn’t be fastened tight enough to hold the shoes on her (wide) feet, and this despite leaving 10″ long tails. I guess Donald Duck was that factory’s shoe-last model…
Today, we went on a sponsored walk. I sat the girls down at lunchtime and laid down the law. Kids, it’s not going to be a family walk where we can bimble and go see things and talk about things and look around: it’s going to be a route march. Maxi and Midi are to stick together like glue or I will botch-tape you side by side, and Mini will be on my back in the Wompat. You don’t need to enjoy it. Just get through it. Questions? Issues?
Well, I didn’t actually think it would be a route-march. But you know what? It was. We set off in a wiggly worm of staff, kids and parents: big kids and adults With Something To Prove raced off immediately, and the buggies and tiny nursery tots clotted in the middle and strung out the line. It was drizzling as we set off, and the cloud-dam burst within 5 minutes. I discovered that my waterproof jacket wasn’t waterproof; I learned that Mini didn’t care that she was wet through because she could snooze on my back all afternoon; that Midi thought it was funny to sing “Oh I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside” with me; and that suddenly me and the minxes were at the very back of the line when the folk who’d come to a dead halt earlier decided to about-turn and go home. I don’t blame them – the route ahead wasn’t fit for buggies or small babies.
I’m ashamed to admit that I spent the rest of the entire walk stressing and narking at the girls to hurry up / wait for her sister. On and on I nagged to get them to stay together. Unknown to me, Midi was suffering the consequences of not wearing knee-high socks with her wellies as I’d instructed, and was now sporting 2 big long friction blisters (cue a ton of guilt when she told another adult about her sore calves instead of me). Maxi was pretty good and only came to a dead halt 20 times or so. I growled at her until she cried. Yep, like shouting at a committed daydreamer on perma-chat is ever going to actually achieve anything (!). I’ll feel guilty about upsetting her for years. I mean, I’m supposed to be a capable adult. I could have just decided to amble round at Maxi’s pace – just me and my 3 girls – enjoying the views and the thunder and the birdsong. But no, stupidly I was On A Mission to keep up with everyone else. Dolt! One helper hung back to walk with us, but basically everyone else zoomed off. With 20kg on my back, soaked through, overheating as I squelched through the thick mud the path had become, and struggling with 2 little girls who really didn’t want to be rushed around a 4.5km walk (I know, because we coincidentally walked it with the in-laws on Sunday afternoon), watching everyone else head off in the distance, I can’t say it was the most fun afternoon I’ve ever had. Though to be fair, the others were probably just rushing to get away from my snarling! Anyway, I’m sure that the activities they’ll do for the John Muir award will be entirely different, and will embrace having space and time to look to left and right, instead of marching left, right… And I *will* conquer this stupid bad temper and intolerance! (Or will I…?)