Friday, September 28, 2007

Things Eleven Year Olds Do When They Are Left To Their Own Devices Part 2

Well it was all going so swimmingly. We have had no tantrums. Most of the homework is getting done, she seems to be getting lots of merits. And most important she is happy.



This week so far we have had:

1) A rainy Monday morning. Did I say rainy? I am too restrained. It was howling a gale here at 7.15 and the driving rain was coming down in sheets. You can't go out in this, I said. Luckily Spouse drives the others in on Mondays, so I had time (though not the inclination, it has to be said,as I was feeling somewhat delicate after a family party on Sunday), to drive her in.

We rang her friend to say I'd give her a lift to, but the answerphone was on. Five minutes later Friend's Mum rings back and says oh she's gone.

No problem I thought, I'll just pick her up on the way.

Oh the best laid plans.

Through the pouring rain I made it to the spot where no 1 and her friend meet. There was no sign of her friend, whom we hadn't seen on the way. No 1 rang Friend up. No reply.

Perhaps she's gone back home, I said (as mooted by her mother). So we drove round there. I went to knock on the door which was well and truly locked. I was flummoxed and feeling guilty. The poor child was tramping the streets getting soaked. I couldn't understand how we'd missed her.

By the time we'd got back to the car no 1 had managed to track down her friend who was already at school (how??? I nearly crashed the car in my surprise). Friend was also (not unsurprisingly perhaps) rather hysterical thanks to the rain and being so wet. I was feeling guiltier then ever, till no 1 told me that her mother had given her a lift. Thank FUCK for that...

2)Friend's leg has been hurting since doing a jazz dance class on Friday. This obviously means she can't walk to school. So on Wednesday having established that her mum couldn't drive them (for some reason no 1 has decided to walk round to Friend's house, which is in the opposite direction from school), they blagged a lift off Friend's very accommodating Granny, a fact of which I was totally unaware until

3) Yesterday. Nos 1& 2 started clattering about at 6am. No 1 is feeling anxious because Friend is worried about being late for school, so although they could happily leave at 7.45 they are leaving at 7.30 and Friend wanted no 1 to meet her at 7.30 till I put my foot down. No 1 therefore decided she had to get up earlier and I have no idea at all why no 2 joined her. I felt obliged to stir myself from my pit around 6.40 (which quite frankly is like the middle of the night for me. I like my bed) to make sure they weren't burning the house down.

Getting up earlier didn't seem to make any difference to no 1's timekeeping mind, as she still left at 7.30 ( funny that - one of the reasons I never get out of bed before I have to is because however early I get up it has no effect whatsoever on the time I leave, so I may as well get some sleep), and that I thought was that.


At 8.17 (the time I am normally chivvying the others out of the door) the phone rang .No 2 answered it which meant when I picked up the phone two seconds later I couldn't hear who she was talking to. No 2 then put the phone down, we lost the connection, No 2 hadn't a clue who it was so I was none the wiser.

Thank the lord for 1471 is all I can say. I rang back and it transpired it was Friend's poor beleagured Granny (who must rue the day she moved into a house en route to school). No 1 and Friend were there, because Friend's leg was still hurting her. Granny had to go to work and couldn't take them in (they had fifteen minutes by now to get to school), could I oblige?

Luckily I could, Thursdays being the other day in the week that Spouse does the school run. Even more luckily all the others were ready to go, so Spouse shoved them in his car and set off and I followed in mine. Part of his route goes past Friend's Granny's so I had a terrible Schadenfreude moment to see the look on no 1's face when he drove straight past them.

Why didn't you ring me:? I asked. My phone's out of credit was the crestfallen response (What? Already? What with that and school dinner money, this secondary school lark is costing me a small fortune).

I dropped them at school. Thanks to Friend's leg I felt obliged to take them right up to the school gate which turned out to be a big big mistake. The school is down a cul de sac and about a thousand other children were also being dropped off. I am never never ever going to do it again. It took me half an hour to get out again, but at least they got to school on time.

In all the stress I had forgotten to remind no 1 to meet me at the tennis club after school. For the last two weeks she's been doing her homework in the library first and coming to find me later. And of course, now she couldn't text me, and I was unsure about the school policy for passing on non urgent messages. Thankfully they seemed quite understanding when I rang in, and no1 managed one last text to let me know she'd got the message. Double Phew.

Last night was spent unpicking the events of the morning to discover a) how it had taken fifty minutes to go a few hundred yards (no 1 had walked back to Friend's house that's how) and to b) after a long conversation with Friend's mum, make sure we are now all singing from the same song sheet to ensure that they are to meet at 7.45, if one of them is late they are to wait no longer then 7.55 and then go on alone, and if there is a crisis they will ring by 8.10am. I have also made it abundantly clear that I am not there to jump every time they cock things up.

Honestly, I said in exasperation. You're causing me more work then the other three put together. (Don't get me STARTED on homework crises).

The message seems to have gone in. This morning went off smoothly with no panicky phone calls (I put some extra credit on last night), so far so good.

Or so I thought till I went to tidy her bedroom and discovered that her pursebelt is still sitting there complete with the dinner money we gave her last night.

Which means I will have one hungry girl at the end of the day. Which is a bit of a bugger as she has a dance class straight after school.

I can feel a frantic phonecall demanding a lift and food coming on...

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