one small step

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Alice started junior school this September and I know it’s an easily spouted cliche, but she does seem to have grown up in that short space of time in some ways. Earlier this week we were talking about when she’d be old enough to walk to school by herself and she seems quite comfortable with the idea already. I told her that I used to walk to school by myself when I was her age, which led to a conversation about why it’s different now. My answer was that people didn’t worry about things so much back then, which I think is generally true.

This morning I took the girls to school; a rare occurrence for me and one I would have enjoyed far more if Nick hadn’t driven off in the car taking both sets of keys, leaving me to run around like a headless chicken for five minutes just as we should have been leaving trying to find a spare set. Which we don’t have, by the way. I ended up letting myself into the neighbour’s house to steal the set we gave them for locking-out emergencies, which seem to happen far more than they should do. Which is a whole other story.

ANYWAY. As we got to school, I asked the girls who normally went in first and Alice told me that Nick waits for her bell and sees her in before taking Jessica round to her classroom. Then she told me I could leave her in the playground with her friends, as some of her other friends do that. Now I know my husband and I know he is totally uncomfortable with this, so I asked her if Daddy did that, to which the answer was no. “But I wouldn’t be scared,” she said, with a laugh that implied she didn’t know why he wouldn’t do it, she’d be fine, what’s the big deal?

It seems to be a theme for this week as I also got caught in a conversation about a very similar subject with some people at work; how do you balance the whole giving them their independence thing without getting arrested for negligence or at the very least frowned upon by the school gate gestapo?

It got me thinking about how independent we encourage them to be and my conclusion was probably not as much as we could. So I’m making a start with the insignificant things; getting them to help out more at home and being more self-sufficient. They’re both perfectly capable of stuff like washing themselves in the bath, getting their own drinks – Alice can even make sandwiches. But I guess we might have to draw the line at sending them off to school with their own door keys just for now.

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