Aaagh! School. I used to like school when I was a little girl — I expected Little Miss Sunshine to like it too. But the first few months have been tough, as I have mentioned in earlier posts. For starters, the kiddies are due in class at 8.25 sharp, which means we are expected to get up at 7 am. Now what proper human can stand that? I'm happy to report that my daughter is a proper human — she definitely likes her sleep. She didn't take to being dragged out of bed at the crack of dawn too well and tended to mutate into a bawling yeti (a bit like her mum used to in similar situations, I guess — it's in our genes). Next she would stubbornly refuse to get dressed and quite efficiently stave off my attempts to pull down a T-shirt or pull up a pair of trousers on her wriggling body. Even the peace pipe (a bottle full of milk) didn't help much as the Little Miss was too proud to accept the bribe.
I'll just skip the part where she bluntly refused any sort of food I tried to offer as breakfast. The next of our morning delights was trying to hoist up a struggling she-devil weighing nearly 20 kg into her car seat. Please shoot whoever invented those blasted things right now. Why do car seats have to be so goddamn complicated? Little Miss Sunshine's one (her nickname was never meant to be ironical, by the way) is so ridiculously bulky and high that I have to press her poor little head against the ceiling of the car in order to get her little bum in. (Quite a feat in itself as I'm still recovering from an injured shoulder and elbow I broke some time ago.) I am already the only person I know who is able to adjust and fasten the seat belt of the contraption at the best of times, so closing the buckle on my miniature bucking bronco in the morning is a herculean task.
Then, crying tears of frustration, I'm left to face the morning traffic. Oh joy. About three hundred cars driving in both directions in a maze of narrow little streets with space for only one line of traffic around the school, maneuvered by crazed people who are so late and flustered they think it's OK to drive on the footpath or veer onto your lane because somebody's car is actually parked in their way. These people make angry gestures at you if you have the cheek to cross their path, and try to barge their way past you at any cost. Let's just say this is not where I make new friends. I was never that fond of bumper cars anyway.
(I'm begging Mr Grumble to let me cycle to school, but he's too scared our little girl would get run over. Seeing how most people drive around here — often without a licence as that trivial sort of paperwork was totally optional in Ireland until recently —, I must admit he has a point.)
The rest was easy: parking the car somewhere on somebody's flowerbed, dragging the tearful wench up the hill and into her school, and lastly peeling her off my leg to push her into class (which took about half an hour as the little mite is as strong as an ox and fiercely determined), while simultaneously trying to stop her from sticking out her tongue at the admittedly stern teacher. Then trudging back to my car with a heavy heart, wondering if moving here and enrolling her into that school was the biggest mistake ever.
Then there were the other parents. It was rather comical in the beginning when we were all looking at each other shyly at finishing time while waiting for our offspring to be released. It felt like we were back at school ourselves and wondering who would be our friends. But mostly it felt very weird to be one of them — an adult. I have no problem with the notion that I am somebody's mother, but somehow I was still seeing myself as this sort of kooky teenager who is not quite sure what she wants to do when she grows up. Waiting outside school with the rest of the old folks has made me realize I have gone over to the dark side — adulthood. Gah. (Or have I?)
Salvation came from the dark side though, because it really soothed me to find out they'd been just as miserable as we had for the first few months. Playdates helped too. Little Miss Sunshine soon announced that she had a best friend. (Never mind the fact that said best friend seems to be a different person every day.) Five months on, life is easier. No tears in the morning. But Little Miss Sunshine still stubbornly keeps her mouth shut all day in school — won't say a single word to her teachers, and would often rather miaow to her friends than use any sort of human language. She makes up for all that silence once she gets home, so there is no need to worry about her speech abilities. I just wish my little rebel would enjoy school a bit more, poor sod. I mean hey, you can see the sea from the schoolyard!
So we're now looking forward to the Easter holidays. We're going to Paris but I'm close to dreading it — I'm going home to a bunch of family problems and a string of assorted doctors who may or may not help with my mangled arm. Ah well. The more horrible the experience, the better the tale should be afterwards...