Friday, November 18, 2005

Feeling good – must be FRIDAY!

My eldest daughter, J, is four going on fourteen and started school this September. Unlike the boys, the transition from nursery to big school hasn’t been too difficult – except for the fact she has to manage without her little sister S. Being so close in age, and sharing a bedroom, they’re used to doing everything together and each morning when we drop J off there are lots of kisses and ‘I love yous’ before J will let us leave the playground. Not that I’m ever in a mad hurry to go, as no teachers appear till 8:45 and there’s no gate to secure my little darling in.

This doesn’t mean she’s in any immediate danger, as the school is small and the older children are wonderful at looking after the little ones. Nevertheless I hesitate. But few other parents do.

On Monday morning a tiny little thing, with a scarf tied tight around her neck, began coughing. And being a nosey do-gooder I edged my way over to ask her if she was feeling alright. She promptly threw up. Of course I took her with me and banged on the doors till a teacher came and pulled a face when she saw what had happened.

On Tuesday morning, exactly the same thing happened. And I mean EXACTLY. Same child, same coughing before being sick, same teacher with the same expression.

On Wednesday one of the dads brought his daughter to school and as I was the only adult in the playground, assumed I was a teacher and began talking to me as such. When I explained I’m just a clingy mommy who worries more than most, he was horrified that so many others just let their little darlings run around without supervision. He sat with me as I comforted one little lad who’d had his hand trodden on.

Yesterday a grandfather mistook me for a teacher and actually handed me his granddaughter before telling me he wouldn’t stay because people don’t like old men hanging around kids playgrounds. When I explained I wasn’t a teacher, he hesitated and asked if I would keep an eye on his granddaughter because he wasn’t keen on leaving her alone when he had promised her mother he would get her to school. I agreed, then took care of one of the older boys who had fallen and grazed his knee.

By now I’ve got quite a following and I’m beginning to wonder if some of the kids are mistaking me for a teacher too.

Today’s Friday (Yabbadabbadoooo!) and is extra special because the children are allowed to dress in their own clothes if they donate £1 to Children in Need. This is more exciting than you might imagine for a four year old, and J and I had our first ‘adult’ row last night about what she would wear. She’s turning into a right stroppy little madam. But I won and she’s in jeans and trainers.

As I entered the playground this morning I could feel the buzz of excitement off the kids, all running around like mad things and comparing clothes, shoes, scarves, and coats. And what an array! It’s obvious some parents lost the fashion argument with their offspring, as there were at least four little darlings dressed as princesses and a power ranger too. It’s not that I don’t adore these cute outfits – it’s just that the kids have got to get through the day without freezing, falling, or needing help with the toilet, and I have doubts how many of them will manage this in their full length garb .

I stood around as my posse gathered to show me their glamour. And then one little girl walked into the playground and stopped dead. I saw her before she noticed me. I couldn’t really miss her as she was the only child in uniform.

My heart was breaking for her as her little face crumpled. I know it’s not a big deal, only clothes, but it was a huge deal to her. I barely had time to bend down before she flung her arms around my neck and sobbed. Between hiccups she explained she’d been off school ill this week and her and her mommy had forgotten.

Luckily when I banged on the doors, it was J’s teacher who came (another softie) and when I suggested the little mite might be allowed to borrow some clothes from the dress-up corner, J’s teacher happily obliged. I left her choosing between nurses outfits, cloaks, and princess dresses.

Best of all, I’m left feeling good. There’s something very special about other people’s children throwing their arms around your neck and letting you dry their tears.


Blogger Who is this Dave? said...

I'm with the grandfather. It is a lot harder for men to be involved with children these days. I am allowed to speak to them at work, but only after I'd been positively vetted by the police. If a strange child wanted to fling its arms around me (OK, fairly unlikely) I'd be very, very hesitant.

Friday, November 18, 2005 11:49:00 am  
Blogger mm said...

You're an absolute doll, Jonah. I can't imagine what people are thinking, dropping such little kids off and walking away with no teacher in sight. And I can't imagine what the school and/or school board is/are thinking, not having a teacher on early morning yard duty. Don't they have to deal with insurance and liability, or am I just so near to my letigious American cousins that it's the first thing to pop into my head?

You'll be remembered as the cool mom. :)

Friday, November 18, 2005 12:19:00 pm  
Blogger Jona said...

Hi Dave, I must admit I was a tad surprised the grandfather was so blunt with his reasoning, and saddened, as I believe children need contact with people of all ages and the world today has made us all so wary of each other.

Maureen – the school covers itself by being very clear about playground cover times, but realistically working parents don’t have many options. And Thank you :o)

Friday, November 18, 2005 1:03:00 pm  
Blogger Huw said...

I remember those early mornings without adult supervision. It was a time terror and frantic activity reigned as scores were settled and the best stickers were swopped.

Friday, November 18, 2005 1:23:00 pm  
Blogger MarkD60 said...

you made me drop a few tears of my own with this one.
very sweet!
you're the best!

Friday, November 18, 2005 1:25:00 pm  
Blogger Me Over Here said...

Wow, Jona, you're the best mom and adopted mom I know of. It's great to know that at least ONE parent cares for their children (and those that aren't their children). You could have so easily let that uniform-clad little 'un go on sobbing about her missed-dress up day, but you took such a proactive stance that I bet the little tyke won't soon forget it (well, maybe, but when she's like, 15, she'll recall a really nice lady who helped her out way back when). Everyday I admire you more and more! Hope I can been that great of a mom someday!

Friday, November 18, 2005 2:59:00 pm  
Blogger Me Over Here said...

Er...aside from my mom, you're the best. Teehee!

Friday, November 18, 2005 3:00:00 pm  
Blogger Jona said...

Huw – lol, I hope I’m not spoiling their fun ;o)

Mark, you’re a softie!

MOH – Thank you, though you’re embarrassing me and I’m sure anyone would have done the same :o) Funnily enough my second son hates me tonight and won’t even talk to me – all because I made him put a jumper on as we left school. Hey-ho, can’t win them all ;o)

Friday, November 18, 2005 4:10:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I nominate you as Honorary Teacher of the Year.

(You are building quite a resume.)

Friday, November 18, 2005 6:15:00 pm  
Blogger No_Newz said...

Your a good extended mom. :) I do the same thing and the kids really just like knowing someone who cares is right there if they need you. It bothers me that our staff isn't out earlier. And it bothers me more that parents ditch their kids anyhow. I know there are work and other priorities but nothing comes before the kids.
Have a great weekend!
Lois Lane

Friday, November 18, 2005 6:20:00 pm  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Ah, Jona, you are so good. I want you as my teacher.

Friday, November 18, 2005 7:58:00 pm  
Blogger Southern Sweetheart said...

Awww! What a sweet story and what a mom you are - not only to your own children but to all the others that have latched on to you. I'm surprised so many people would leave their child unattended - I don't have children but no way in hell would I ever leave one alone in a school yard -- prime place for someone to kidnap them!!

Sure was nice to read a story such as this after a long hard day at the office -- you made me smile...thank you!

Friday, November 18, 2005 11:28:00 pm  
Blogger FTS said...

You really got me with the little girl crying because she forgot about it being the day she could wear her own clothes. What a great story.

Saturday, November 19, 2005 2:55:00 pm  
Blogger Rae said...

Great story. The little girl at teh end was definitely the kicker. I am continuously amazed at how some children grow up without proper care.

Saturday, November 19, 2005 3:54:00 pm  
Blogger Müzikdüde said...

Great story and you did an awesome job telllingn it. That's a rarity in the blogosphere.

Found you via FTS...(he has a great readership)

I'm throwing you on my blogroll

Sunday, November 20, 2005 6:08:00 am  
Blogger Daisy Mae said...

Oh stop it Jona, you made me cry with another fabulous post again. Seriously I teared up on this one.

You know perhaps this is the universe's way of telling you that you should become a teacher, or at least a playground supervisor. Or maybe just a dryer of childhood tears.

Sunday, November 20, 2005 6:40:00 am  

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