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Pre School Battle Fields

There are few things in my life that fill me with dread and fear quite like the prospect of trying to get my kids to school each morning. George, as with most things in his world, meets the challenge with as little enthusiam and fuss as possible, but he gets the job done. He moves at the slowest pace possible and will skip whatever he can. He never brushes his hair, has to be nagged to brush his teeth, never makes his bed or opens his curtains etc but the fact is, the end goal of getting up, dressed, fed and out the door is achieved with minimal drama.

Alice however is whole different story. She wakes in our bed when the alarm goes off at 6.30am. And yes shes always in our damn bed in the morning because when she wakes at 11pm and declares war on the paper thin wall of The Shit Shack that separates her room and ours, its just easier to tell her she can get in our bed if she stops her onslaught. After wedging herself between me and Greg, shes out like a light. Judge me all you want but I'd rather do that than listen to her kick a wall all night shouting "help me, I'm sad". And she will do it ALL night. So at 6.30am each school day, the first signs of impending war begins.

Alice can wake in a great mood and ask for hugs and tell you she loves you or she can wake with a brain flooded with glycine, call you an "asshole", shout "fuck you" repeatedly (gotta love Tourettes) promptly smack you in the face and kick you in the spine. Its like a weird game of "Mood Roulette" that you have no choice but to play.

Whatever version of Alice you get, you can at least expect 20 minutes of relatively good mood while she takes her meds and eats her breakfast. Sometimes she feeds herself and other days her movements are all over the place, so rather than have cereal power blasted across the dining area, I feed her myself. It is at this point, just as breakfast is finished, that 9 times out of 10 all hell breaks loose.

Now we've never really established if its the vile meds she takes for her condition hitting her stomach, if its food giving her tummy ache (In NKH we see a lot of stomach issues after eating) or if its the sudden emergence of anxiety starting to build because we now need to get ready and decisions need to be made and things are suddenly out of her control. But what ever it is, her personality switches completely. In Alices brain I suspect it goes something like this:

Oh God now I have to brush my teeth, do I do that now or later? Later is better...but maybe Ill do it first today and mix things up a bit, no I'll do it later. Will it hurt? No I like it, I'm sure i like it....or do I? I have three pairs of shoes I could wear today and I cant decide which one. Maybe Ill try each in turn, then go back the first, or maybe the second, perhaps the third. I have 6 school tops, all identical but how will I know which one feels the best unless I try them least twice? I wonder if I can get away with a swimming top instead, I know I like them. Yes I'll try on all my swimming tops to see which one feels best. I know I need my hair brushed but I hate my hair being brushed, but I have to have it done. I'll let Mum brush my hair, no I wont, yes I will, no I wont. What day is it today? Whats happening at school today? What if I dont like it? What if my regular teacher isnt there? Why does my tummy hurt? Oh god now my tummy hurts and I dont want to go to school. Asshole, fuck you. Damn it now I'm swearing, Mums mad. I'll change my top....and my shoes, that will help. Bugger I have no fine motor skills, I cant do this unless I ask Mum and shes changed my top 15 times and we are on the 7th shoe change. I think shes about to blow. Maybe if I just lie on my back and refuse to move she'll give up and I can stay here. I love my Mum so much but just want to punch her for making me do this. Damn it I cant punch her, I know Ill bite myself instead.......

and so it goes on and we slowly descend into hell all while Im trying to get myself dressed, pack lunches, put away the breakfast things and get us all out the door so my poor son at the very least gets to his school on time and without his mother in tears as I am so many mornings.

With Greg still working from home the way this tends to play out now is that I keep fighting until Im either in tears, have sustained an injury or until I've thrown something in anger and I finally relent and ask Dad to just pick her up and throw her in the car in whatever stage we have gotten too. In her early school years I have been known to deliver her wearing nothing but a nappy and snot. I've handed her over with a bag of toiletries and clothes and sobbed in the school car park. But these days with Greg at home she is at least dressed and medicated on delivery to school nowadays. That is where I set the bar. And before anyone thinks it, yes I do have to get her to school. I have an older son who I have to drop off first and despite what normal parents might think looking at this hellish daily ritual and wonder "why put yourself through this"? The fact is Alice needs an education, she needs to go to school and I need a fucking break.

Once Alice is strapped in her seat, she is either sobbing her apologies of how she cant help it or shes sad and needs hugs or shes swearing at me like a drunken sailor and trying to kick the car windows with her incredibly solid orthopedic shoes. George sits in the front with his head hung low telling me its ok and that he loves me and I wipe my tears and tell him hes awesome. This is my every day and Id say it goes like this on 3 to 4 school days a week. So if Im ever short with you, or pissy or apparently not as "funny as you used to be", just reread the above. Then read it again.

With the above in mind, today was even better than usual. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

The day began with a hug and a kiss (The "Mood Roulette" Gods, smiled favorably on me) but it was short lived. Things, as usual, unraveled once breakfast was consumed and Greg was drafted to step in to deposit my feral swearing child in the car. Meanwhile Im spraying Georges hair orange for "Crazy Hair Day". I have no idea what the fucking purpose of Crazy Hair Day is or why they do it but its obviously yet another way to inconvenience me and add more things to my workload. Don't even start me on Book Week. So after racing round the shops like a lunatic yesterday trying to find orange hair spray, the one bloody colour we cant find, because George only wants orange of course, we found a can of "coral" wash out hair spray. At the time I had my doubts about "Coral" actually being Orange but I had no fucks left to give at this point and as Alice too had Crazy Hair Day the next morning my anxiety was already giving me palpitations. I bought the last remaining can of coral hairspray and plonked it on the side at home next to the two school notes, from the different schools that my kids attend, advising me that Friday was Crazy Hair Day. Now had I taken the time to read the notes carefully and observe that each school was doing Crazy Hair Day of a different damn Friday to each other at this point, then this morning might of gone a little better, but I didn't. So it didn't.

So there I am spraying Georges hair "Coral" which is in fact more like a peachy shade of Salmon , with Greg asking why George wants pink hair. George is panicking and I'm desperately telling him its just the lighting and its actually orange, not pink, so stop worrying (it was not orange, it was most definitely pink). Thank God Alice doesn't want to add a decision on hair colour to her already overloaded brain, so we usher a pink haired son and a swearing, snot covered daughter to the car and off we go in the direction of Georges school, which is 20 minutes in the opposite direction to Alices school.

Alice repeatedly calls me an "asshole" and has an argument with some invisible person sat next to her then promptly cheers up and starts talking about how excited she is to be going to school (FFS!!!!!). I drop a pink/orange haired George at school, take a deep breath with my head on the steering wheel before I start the drive to Alices school. Not long now and the school run is over. I can do this.

At this point I'm jolted out of my moments calm with pink/orange haired George thumping on the window with tears in his eyes shouting "its next week'!!!!

Sure enough not one soul at the school drop off has Crazy Hair and the Principle is looking at me with the judgement that is specially reserved for Mums like me. George dives back in the van utterly mortified and tries to hide in the footwell.

I race the 20 mins back across town, drop George home on the way so he can shower and wash his hair. I take Alice to school and plead with her to at least be good today and not hit anyone or intentionally wet herself or generally bring disrepute on the family. To which she quite literally says "Maybe yes, maybe no. Who knows?" and laughs like a manic.

I drop her off to a playground full of kids with Crazy Hair, head back home, collect a wet and pissed off George, drive 20mins back in the opposite direction yet again, all the while apologizing for being a fuckwitted shitty mother and bemoaning why two bloody schools in the same district have to do fucking Crazy Hair day on different days!! George says rather than confess to my fuck up because its "soooo embarrassing" he will instead tell his friends Alice shit herself as we were leaving the house and that's why hes late.

I went home and cried and later I will go and look for proper orange hair dye for next Friday.

Thank god tomorrow is Saturday.

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