3 under 3

No wonder I hate preschool pick-ups!

Posted on: November 9, 2011

Yesterday was stinking hot. I didn’t get called into work (I’m teaching casually and work is slow at this time of year), so I found myself with a bonus ‘day off’. It went way too fast. Before I knew it, I was getting into my oven-hot car, off to do the daycare/preschool pick-up round.

Daycare first. The girls had a lovely day, but as usual, no sleep for Molly. That’s fine because it means she goes to bed pretty quickly after a gourmet dinner of baked beans, tinned spaghetti, or even weet-bix. But this time she was in a particularly foul mood. All smiles while at daycare, but as soon as she was strapped into her seat, the tantrum began. I don’t want to tell you about my day. Neave stop touching me. Neave, I hate you. I don’t want to go home, MUM!!!

Joy. We arrived at preschool. I unbuckled the girls and we all went in together to get their brother. He’d had a lovely day, but as usual, no sleep. Fine by me (yay for early nights). But his mood was also questionable. While I gathered up Tiernan’s possessions from where they were dispersed throughout the entire preschool room, Molly and Neave made themselves at home at the activity tables. A little too much at home. Molly’s shoes were off quicker than lightning, and Neave helped herself to someone’s unfinished biscuit.

Eventually, I finished loading up. Tiernan, impatient to go, started jumping up and down next to me saying, “Come on, Mum, let’s go NOW!” I quietly told Molly it’s time for us to leave, and scooped Neave into my arms, rather precariously amongst the bag, lunch box, blanket, drink bottle and precious artworks. Molly’s response was to yell “NO!” and swipe all of the pencils and papers she had been happily sharing with Tiernan’s preschool friends moments before. She then announced, at the top of her lungs, “I NEED TO DO A POO!”

Ok, fine. I quickly dumped Tiernan’s things, and Neave, on the floor before rushing Molly into the toilet. This has become a bit of a routine – she likes the tiny, little toilets and feels the need to visit them every afternoon when we pick Tiernan up. Of course, we were followed into the toilets by at least four little friends, and Neave. I tried to shoo the extras out of the room while simultaneously helping Molly out of her pants and keeping Neave away from the sinks (she likes to squeeze the hand soaps and turn all of the taps on). Once Molly was settled, I turned away from Neave to farewell our bathroom spectators. They left quietly but with many a curious glance.

When I turned around, Neave was peering into the second of the two tiny, little toilets. She was peering in and leaning right over and then reaching into the tiny, little toilet. “NOOOOOOO!” I grabbed her before she disappeared into the tiny, little toilet, but not before she plunged her hand into its disease-ridden depths. Meanwhile, the bathroom door had burst open again and we had yet another crowd to watch as I frantically scrubbed Neave’s hands. I then shooed them away once again, and locked them, and Neave, out of the bathroom to prevent any further hand-dunking while I sorted Molly out. By this stage I was beginning to feel a little ragged around the edges.

I finally managed to gather up Tiernan’s stuff once again, which had somehow managed to relocate itself into its various original positions. I dragged our sorry butts out to the carpark, and gave concise instructions to everyone about how we would proceed into the car. The only ones who followed my instructions were Neave (because she had no choice, I was holding her), and me. Molly instead decided she would just wander away up the fence line, through the unoccupied car spaces, while Tiernan met up with his friend and decided to inspect his car for him, whilst listing all of the similarities and differences between his car and ours. Helpful.

I quickly tried to strap a reluctant Neave into our sauna-like car, while yelling urgently at Molly to “Come back here, right now!” and Tiernan to “Get out of that car, please!” Then I told myself to take deep breaths as I attempted to cajole Molly back to safety. She was having none of it, so I ended up chasing her into the middle of the carpark, grabbing her under one arm, and then dashing back just in time to stop Tiernan from following suit.

Dignified. Graceful. Completely competent and with-it.

Or not. Appearing in public with three children so close in age, I used to try to embody all of these things at all times. Because I know people are judging me. I can see that they’re doing the mental maths and are coming to the conclusion that I must be a young, uneducated Mum with nothing better to do than have too many kids all at once so that I can get an annual baby bonus payment. So I tried to prove them wrong by being supremely patient, wise, and perfect as a Mum. Even when my kids were misbehaving. Obviously, I’m learning that this is impossible. Parents aren’t perfect, and for society to expect this of them is unfair. The more people realise this, the better. So I have started to let my guard down a little. When Things go wrong, I admit that I am frazzled. I accept help from strangers. I’m honest about the challenges having three very young ones brings.

Having said that, I usually try to be a little more composed than I was yesterday. I try to do a little less yelling and a little more breathing.

But there you have it. Not perfect.

Once everyone was finally in the car, Molly entertained us the entire way home with guttural screams, punctuated by percussive kicks to the back of my seat. We all ignored her. When we got home, she was taken straight to bed, and she didn’t emerge again until this morning. Phew.

Is it any wonder I hate preschool pick-ups?

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1 Response to "No wonder I hate preschool pick-ups!"

Small wonder indeed! Sounds like it was quite a rough afternoon. I hope better times are ahead for y’all!

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