I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

A clean face hides a multitude of sins.

We got called into school again for a few concerns. Lateness, messy hair and faces (again) and homework were some of the things on the agenda. 

Crazy thing is we *were* making a much bigger effort to be on time. I had explained to Ellie she was at an unfair disadvantage because there were so many of us getting ready in the morning compared to others who only had one kid, so it wasn't right that she should feel upset about being late because it wasn't all down to her and that she also shouldn't feel bad that she wouldn't ever get a special prize from the special award motivator box and that I'd get her something similar. I've also said that watching tv and eating breakfast makes things slower. Natural consequences. She doesn't want to be late then she needs to be ready to leave in morning but so do 4 others and a dog. 

I say no tv, they go on computer.  I say no computer, they go on tablet. Or my phone. They are sneaky that way!!! Also. If they don't watch tv, they play and don't eat. So do I ban everything except sitting at table eating? Like I got time to police that!!

There is a lot of stuff to do before leaving in the morning. I rarely get help when I ask for it from the girls, well not enough to make a humongous difference, but I suppose every little helps. You know. Recently they're becoming more receptive to a request here and there. You know grab another jumper Millie's spilled porridge on this one. Run and get another pair of trousers Millie just peed on these ones. Quick get another cardigan you've dribbled all over that one. We still haven't mastered the matching shoe finding task. There's a lot of shoes in that cupboard. It's scary in there. At least they can dress themselves now. That's a mahasoove bonus in the getting out the house on time stakes. Although with Millie becoming two and learning the art of running off and saying no to getting dressed that has definitely put us in a timedeficit. 

Anyway I thought we were doing quite well. If I had to estimate I would say in the last month or so we have been maybe 70%  - 80% on time. And it's only about 5-10mins at the most. I have definitely heard the bell more times this year as we drive up. Last year I don't think we ever made the bell. I should ask for the statistics for this year. 80% is good. 

I basically made a decision to stop stressing and running about like a fucking lunatic trying to do seven billion things at once either shouting my head off or repeatedly repeating everything repeatedly over and over again ad-ifinitum and  ad-nauseam. I do what needs to be done. I do it effectively (mostly) and I say 'time to go, last one out locks the door' and I leave. That's what's been working recently. They hate locking the door so that used to make them ruuuuuuuush. But it also made them freaaaak out. And wail. And try locking the door and then stomp. Then I would get out the car to lock the door. Often that made us later. And it wasn't fun. Actually it was often quite stressful for everyone and upsetting at times. But I like that they try to lock the door. That's a good skill to have. Anyways. Recently, I think they're working out that I will lock it if they can't, so the pressure is off a little but they're still pretty fast out the door. I think I'll need a new technique soon.  

Invariably someone forgets something. That adds on time. So does Millie refusing car seat. That's happened a lot. 

Most days we are out the house and traffic is fine but some days it's crazy. Crazy backed right up to our road. Crazy unpredictable traffic. 

**side bar** this is my 2nd yr of leaving house with 3kids and dog. Thats two schoolkids needing lunches, snacks, breakfast, clothes, shoes, bags and to actually get out of bed and everything that entails and a toddler and all she entails. I am now into our 3rd year of school so we have gone through a whole lot of different techniques, of which there were MANY, mostly gentle (some way too stressyscary) of getting out the house. My favourite one so far was just leaving and sitting in the car till they noticed. I got a good chunk of 5-10mins of me time that way. Not so effective for those days you need to be somewhere at a specific time. Hopeless for school days, trust me. But the shouty stressy becoming unwell mummy had to GOOooooooo. Also, not to labour a point either, but getting out of bed and often being in a lot of pain and having very little range of movement for a while really puts a buzzkill on my timemojo. 

You know what also?  I really thought we were on top of the cleaning the face routine in the morning too. We've really been on the ball with it. Seriously, does it have to be EVERY day?!! And could they not help, by noticing if I've maybe missed a day or a bit and guide them to the bathroom straight away?

They have a bath almost every night.

Now hair brushing is just not happening for us. Maia's hair has a life of its own. We brush it, it fights back within hours to become the tangled mess it loves being.  Last time we had this discussion with school about Ellie's hair, I cut it short. Remember? She loved it. Until kids made comments. Horrible ones. Ones that upset her and made her not like herself anymore. It broke my heart. I also hated that I cut her hair because society can't cope with a messy haired kid. 

So, dammed if they do, dammed if they don't. Kids make comments when she cut it. Kids make comments. Kids are mean. My kids know I love them with messy or neat hair. That self-confidence goes way further than being mean. I've explained to them that some kids can say mean things because their hair is messy. We'll see if that fear will motivate them. What is it with hair brushing!!!! Maybe chocolate for breakfast would help?! 

Next up is homework. I think there is too much. I think Ellie works hard. I think she will eventually manage to finish all her homework. I think she will be self motivated and able enough to complete all her homework as she gets older. I will support her when she is ready. I think she does a lot of homework. I support her when she does it. I don't think homework is necessary at this age but help her do it. There's a lot. They disagree. In fact I expect to see more and more being piled on these poor kids in the future. It's a losing battle. I'm a lone voice. As usual. 

I am doing my best. I am clearly not a WINNER for the getting kids to school early award.  I am also not failing my kids for later in life. I am definitely less stressed which my blood pressure thanks me for. I'm definitely less shouty which my kids thank me for.  But, the message I'm getting is it's not good enough. That I'm not good enough. 

We are doing our best...

But try harder I must. So next week we go for GOLD....pre-bell. What's my reward?

There was me thinking I was putting my head down and getting on with things. Clearly I need more practice. I'm confident though, that by the time school is over we will all have it worked out beautifully. 

Meltdowns - a few out of character ones
Losing the Plot - not so many these days
Breastfeeding - nearly two years!

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