It was imperative this morning to get my son to kinder not only on time, but just a little early.
It is his fourth birthday next Monday and as his mother the responsibility for organising his party has, as usual, fallen squarely (and solely) on my shoulders. Tell a lie – my husband did contribute in deciding which date we would celebrate it this year. Next weekend is out! Apparently a four year old birthday party on Grand Final weekend is a definite no-go! The following weekend hubby will be toddling off to his brother’s bucks night and even I wouldn’t dream of putting him through the torture of enduring three hours in a play centre with a hangover. (Not to mention the fact that it would mean that I would be following our eager two year old around and having to go down the HUGE slide over and over and over again whilst hubby took over my role of looking after the baby and chatting to the other parents.) Not a chance!
It just so happens that four short weeks ago my son’s centre brought out a new policy.
Via the weekly emailed bulletin we were all politely notified that we were no longer permitted to distribute party invitations in the centre (or hand them to the teacher to give to parents) unless EVERYONE in the class was invited. Apparently it is contrary to the school’s community based ethos and the new policy is to protect our children from feeling ‘left out. ‘
That’s a total of 22 other children before you even count family members or other friends. I’m sorry, but at $19.50 per child, that just isn’t financially feasible! But I know that my son will be broken hearted if his kinder-besties aren’t with him at his party to join in the fun.
Whilst I believe that the intention behind this policy is well-meant, I can’t help but think that this is just another case of political correctness gone mad, (and not only because it now makes my job as chief party organiser all the more difficult.) How are our children supposed to develop coping mechanisms for life if we always shelter them from life-experiences? I’m pretty certain that during my school career there would have been more than one party I wasn’t invited to and I’m not emotionally scarred by the experience – infact I don’t even remember it!
At the grand old age of four my son and his peers have already formed friendships and sub-groups within their classroom.
This is the way it is at kinder, and this is the way it is in life. I know my husband won’t be inviting all his work colleagues to his next birthday bash!
After discussing the new policy with a few other Mums I discovered that I am not alone in my view. One mother, so opposed to this new rule, took the matter up with the headmaster. The upshot of this meeting was that she was advised that she should wait in the car park with her newborn son (in the cold September weather) and stalk the parents of the children she wished to invite. Since the kinder programme also provides day-care, drop-off times for parents can range from 6.30am – 9am. ( Or ten past nine if you are me!)
As devoted to my children as I am, I didn’t even consider undertaking such a ludicrous mission. But I thought that if I could arrive around 8.30am when the kinder programme officially starts I might be lucky enough to bump into a few parents and exchange some contact information.
The morning preparations to leave the house on time followed it’s usual course.
Namely, me repeating requests until I was blue in the face, my eldest son bouncing around the house in his usual hyperactive state like a kangaroo after a double expresso and my Master two-year old stripping off his clothes as soon as my back was turned. (Just for the record he doesn’t get this particular habit from me!) All this was punctuated by regular wiping of my 10 month old daughter’s snotty nose. My usual flapping and fussing, disorganised routine was slowed down somewhat by having her perched on my hip (whinging and whimpering) as I went round and around in circles getting nowhere fast.
Finally I had them all in the car ready to go and we were only ten minutes over schedule. I dashed back into the house to grab the boys’ bags and realised I had forgotten my son’s water bottle for kinder. This was followed by much scrambling through the kitchen cupboards until I located it. Filling up the bottle, I screwed on the top and dashed back to the car. By this time Master almost-four had decided that he now needed a wee. “Quick, quick Mum,” he urged me holding himself with a look of sheer desperation on his face.
“This is just typical,” I huffed as I hurriedly released him from his car seat.
As soon as the seat-belt straps were off and he was out of the car the urgency seemed to miraculously dissipate. Master almost-four dilly-dallied his way to the front door, stopping briefly to examine a snail on the way.
I held back the urge to scream and told him (in no uncertain terms) to get a move on. At this rate we would never make it on time.
After using the toilet (and weeing on the seat, I might add) he decided that he couldn’t possibly go to kinder without the paper aeroplane that I had made for him earlier this morning. When we couldn’t find it a tantrum ensued (mine not his) and before too much longer we were all back in the car – complete with the bent, crumpled paper aeroplane.
By this time I was more than a little frazzled!
I let out a long sigh and tried to gather myself before reversing out of the driveway. It was only 8.15 in the morning and I already felt as though my total energy expenditure for the day so far was equal to a ten kilometre trek through the Pyranees!
Master-two goes to the local day-care so our first drop-off was just around the corner. As I reached across to the passenger seat I realised (to my utmost horror) that I had forgotten to pack his beloved Coco teddies in the bag. I could almost feel a little grey hair sprouting from my scalp as I turned the car engine back on and headed back home.
Needless to say by the time I had driven the thirty-seven kilometres to Master-four’s kinder, there wasn’t so much as a vehicle in the car park let alone a parent.
I have no choice, it seems, but to repeat the morning mayhem all over again on Friday and hope that I am more successful. I am a glass-half-full positive kind of girl by nature, but even I have serious reservations about my ability to pull this one off!
Wish me luck!