When the children were small, I felt I was stuck in Groundhog Day. I'd have a baby which would grow into a toddler, then another baby would appear, who also grew into a toddler, just in time for the next baby... There was a stage when I thought I was going to be stuck in a Dantean Circle of Hell changing nappies forever.
But then, miraculously the last baby became a toddler and there was no more patter of tiny feet (mind you her toddlerdom was nightmarish, as I realised nos2/3 never got any opportunity to be demanding as I was always too busy with the baby).
For the last couple of years, since no 1 made the move from junior to senior school, I have enjoyed the novelty of having different experiences with the children, and loved the feeling that finally I was moving on.
However, this week we found out the school that no 2 is going to. Readers of this blog may remember we had a bit of a nightmarish time with no 1 as we sat her for a grammar school with disastrous results. Although it has all worked out well in the end, and no 1 loves the school she's at and we do too, we felt it was only fair to offer no 2 the same opportunities. So for the past year she has been trotting off to see a tutor on Saturday mornings (there is no way a child of mine and I could sit down together to study without one of us killing the other). This has actually been enormously beneficial for her maths, so whatever else, it hasn't been wasted. By which you can assume she didn't get into the school either.
Which is fine, and I'm really not bothered about it. She's pleased to be going to school with her friends, and all's well that end's well. Except we are now at the part of the year when no 1 started to have a really miserable time as she realised her life was about to change. And I have a definite here we go again feeling about it all.
Where no 1's Year 6 was miserable because she hated the thought of growing up and leaving her cosy school, no 2's is miserable because at any given point there will be someone in her group of friends who she's fallen out with. (I had to go into school two days running last week and encountered her crying in the playground both times.) This week we seem to be back on track. Until the next time...
Year 6 is also the year that hormones seem to kick in in a big way, and at the moment I am just gritting my teeth and hoping we can get to September without too much trauma. No1 had an immensely difficult time for about a year during the transition period, and so now I have that sinking Groundhog Day feeling over again. Because I know I'm on the cusp of lots of emoting (no 2 is after all my Drama Queen), lots of tears, and on my part sheer exhaustion trying to deal with it all. And in two years time I'm going to have to do it again... and again...
And on top of that, no two children being the same, no 2 has added something new to this explosive mix.
Yesterday I took the kids to their regular tennis lesson. All of them bar no2 play tennis, so I usually take a picnic tea as we're there for hours. I love it as the kids all play in the grounds with their mates, and I get to have a rare opportunity for girly chats with mine. Except that yesterday, no 2 did something entirely unexpected (which just goes to show my grandmother's adage about never being able to predict what your children will do is dead on the money).
I was sitting talking to a friend when two of no 3's friends came bursting in, wide eyed and anxious to tell me that no 2 and her friend had hopped through a hole in the fence and gone exploring. IN A HOSPITAL CAR PARK. Apart from the obvious danger of being run over by a car, or more likely an ambulance, there are also any number of odd greebos hanging around the entrance (I've been in Casualty with the kids sometimes and been quite frightened). I couldn't believe she'd done something so idiotic (mind you this is the child who the other day on a Safety day also went off with the stranger because she followed her friends, so why am I surprised?)
I ran round to the fence to find no 3 gabbling, I didn't want to dob her in (so clearly no 2 had been very stern about that), to which I replied that this was PRECISELY the situation when dobbing your sister in was ESSENTIAL. I frantically ran in the direction no 3 had pointed me in, but couldn't see them. I went back to the hole in the fence, to find no 3 and her friends now on the wrong side of it, so I shooed them back in, which was just as well as an interested toddler was looking like he might like to go exploring too. No 3's friends helpfully told me there was a gap in another part of the fence and went off to check whether the miscreants had made their way back to the club via it. Nope. They hadn't.
I ran back inside the clubhouse to double check they hadn't somehow found their way back in, but there was no sign of them. By now, I was really starting to panic, because I didn't have a clue where they were and no means of communicating with them. Except.... I suddenly remembered I'd lent no 2 my phone to play games on, I could ring her up. A friend lent me her phone, but in my panic I couldn't remember my number. Then I put my hand in my pocket and discovered I had my phone anyway. I was on the verge of going to search for her again, when I suddenly spotted them coming through the gap in the fence.
I have NEVER felt so relieved/furious/emotional all at once. In seconds we were both reduced to tears, and she had the biggest telling off of her life. After a period of due consideration, I also decided in the end that, although she clearly had learnt her lesson this particular transgression did require a proper punishment. So she's grounded from the computer for a week (the first time I've EVER had to do that), and with any luck she won't do anything quite so stupid ever again.
Except that, no 2 has always challenged me far more then no1, so I suspect this may only be the first round in a battle which is going to last for YEARS...
And I still have nos3/4 to go.
It's official. I am definitely back in Groundhog Day.
Although, I still can't quite stop myself from having a sneaking admiration for her adventurous spirit. At her age I'd have stood and thought about it then wimped out. You have got to admire the nerve of them, even if they did nearly give me a heart attack...