Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Music lessons

Other parents manage it. They have the job, and the kids, and they still find time to run their children to this class and that. I don't know how they do it. My kids walk to school and kinder and the shops, and then flop at home while I cook dinner. There's never enough time to do anything else.

What the hell are we doing? I wonder. The days are slipping by, one blurs into the next, and suddenly it's almost the end of the year. I was meant to arrange music lessons; our play is so unstructured that I'm not quite sure there's anything there; in fact, all we ever do is moon about. Where does the time go?

I think I blame the school run. Or, in our case, the school dawdle. It takes hours every day - especially when it goes wrong.

The other morning we were ready early enough to take the long way to school. We left at 8, in time to visit each of the two playgrounds, and arrived at school just before 9. Then I stood around chatting with parents while my preschool children played with other younger siblings. My plan was to rush home after and do a heap of jobs. But as we were leaving the school gate I noticed my three year old's jumper was missing. So we searched the school and the grounds, and found nothing. With sinking heart, I realised it may have been dropped on the footpath or left in a playground, and we'd have to walk the long way home again. So off we went, with the double pram, back through the side streets and the playgrounds. And just a few blocks before home, there was the jumper lying on the footpath, where the one year old had pulled it out of the pram basket at her feet and discarded it.

We staggered in at 10am, two hours after we left. We could have driven there and back in less than half an hour. Dammit, I thought as I flopped into a chair, tired and thirsty. What a colossal waste of time.

But later, refreshed, I found myself wondering, Or was it? On the way, my children played and swung and climbed and noted the new spring growth on the European trees. They picked a few flowers, sniffed every rose they saw, and called out the names of all the plants they recognised. We checked out our favourite front gardens, especially the veggie patches, and saw that someone else's rainbow chard, growing in a shady spot, wasn't in seed yet. Other families rode past, calling greetings from their bicycles; and old friends from kinder waved from their cars on their way to the local Catholic school. We saw a few dogs, and practiced ignoring them. My five year old tried out a new trick on her scooter. We greeted half a dozen fellow walkers, and chatted with the crossing ladies.

My house may be messy, but my kids don't care. They need trees and gardens and friendly neighbours. They need to climb on things and run and balance on walls. And most of all they need a sense of belonging. On the walk, we meet people and travel with them for a while, building relationships. We work out which street connects to which park, and develop a neighbourhood map. We observe the changing seasons, and find favourite gardens, which become personal landmarks. We discover small laneways - some, only slightly wider than our pram - and sneak through them, with a cheeky sense of delight.

Much more fun than hanging round while Mum puts on another load of washing. The dishes can wait. Only yesterday, my three year old discovered a whole block of musical railings - every fence in the street had metal pickets. She moved her hand as she walked along, playing up and down the scale. And as the notes rang out, my daughter began to sing.

1 comment:

  1. Another gem. Bravo. Love this. Thank you.


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