One of the joys of working on the blog rather than fixed employment, is that I can drop things at a moments notice fairly easily. I get to see school parades and Monkey not joining in with Sports Day, without having to juggle time off with employers. I’m really thankful for that. Last week the children in Monkey’s literacy class were meant to be going to Salcey Forest on Wednesday and I’d offered to be a parent helper. A day in the forest with Monkey and his school friends, it all sounded rather perfect. Monkey would be sharing Mummy on a school trip. Although, from previous experience, he hasn’t always been very willing to share my attention freely!
Anyway, on Tuesday, the teacher checked the forecast for the next day and it was dire. Torrential rain and high winds. Not ideal conditions to subject 26 youngsters from year 1 and 2 to! The trip was postponed until Thursday, with the hope of better weather. Thursday would normally be a full day of writing for me, there was a moment of thinking, grrr, I really need to work. But I couldn’t imagine the disappointment on Monkey’s face if I told him I could no longer help out. The trip wouldn’t come again, the experience of seeing him and his friends having fun, would be gone. Priceless moments, so yes, juggled, not very well, looking at the ‘to do list’ I still have by the side of the laptop. But I couldn’t miss the trip.
Monkey was so excited on Wednesday night, 9pm and he was still awake. Oh dear, this didn’t bode well for my 7.30pm sleeper. But the next morning he was up and ready to go in the blink of an eye. The weather was behaving, it was a day for sharing Mummy on a school trip.
He was so proud to have me walk into school with me. Not so happy to be told to go to the toilet with everyone else by his literacy teacher. Mummy isn’t in charge in school Monkey, your teacher is. A hard lesson to learn at times. The groups were called out, and I noticed a new maturity in my little man. He wasn’t in the same group as his oldest friend. Last year that would have caused a total meltdown, but this year, not even a blink of an eye. I was to look after Monkey, his class mate J, who he’s been friends with since the start of school and two other boys who I hadn’t met before.
Monkey isn’t known for sharing. It’s not a strength of his. He can also be rather possessive when it comes to me. On last years school trip, we were with his best friend and another friend for the day, at Wendover Woods. One of his friends had been ill on the coach, people needed to move around and I was asked to sit away from Monkey. That started the day off the wrong footing for him. He wasn’t happy. But all was fine once we’d arrived at the Woods and we’d been reunited. That was until the boys were den building. Sharing Mummy on a school trip wasn’t on Monkey’s agenda that day. There were a few tears and some compromises to be made that day. Monkey had to share me, this didn’t make him particularly happy at times.
So how would this year go? He was beyond excited as the coach pulled away from school. We’d been to Salcey Forest earlier in the year, so Monkey knew the layout and was eager to get started on the Stick Man Trail. There were trail sheets for everyone, and we could also work as a team. We went for a pick and mix approach, but the boys were having lots of fun. I saw another difference in Monkey, he let go of my hand, he would walk on ahead, he would let me talk to the other boys and help them with clues. Monkey really was sharing Mummy on a school trip with no fuss at all. He’d still come back and hold my hand from time to time, but he was happy to work as a group, happy to share me and my time. It really was rather wonderful to witness. Such a change.
He isn’t keen on the watch tower at the top of the Tree Top Walk and nothing could persuade him to join the rest of the school group at the very top. So he had his exclusive Mummy moment, and that was fine. We had as chat, a few moments to ourselves before everyone reappeared and told us all about what they had seen.
Hungry tummies were calling and we all headed to the outside eating area. Tables were sat at, and lunches handed out. Monkey was happy to let me help other children get sorted. He was happy for us to have group conversations as we ate our food. He was sharing and happy. All was good.
I’d been so proud of Monkey and his attitude all day, but then something happened that really highlighted his maturity, his willingness to share me with someone who needed me more. We’d been happily chatting over our lunch when Monkey’s friend J announced that he was feeling sick. He did look very pale bless him. Ok, Monkey I need to keep an eye on your friend, but you can go and play with everyone else if you like. Last year that would have caused a real issue. There would have been tears, but this year my 6 year old could see that his friend really needed my attention, and off he went with the others. I think J was just feeling rather tired, we sat together quietly, made a few toilet runs just to be safe, but he was fine. Given 10 minutes of peace, his colour came back, the smile reappeared and off he bounced, eager to join the others. Monkey had happily played with the other children and came bounding back when it was time to get back on the coach. He’d shared me, no questions asked.
I was very proud of Monkey for sharing Mummy on a school trip throughout the day, but especially when his friend was in need of a little TLC. My son is growing both in height, and maturity. It’s a wonderful thing to watch.
Mummy I’ve had a brilliant day. Thank you for coming with us.
Monkey, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I made a choice when you arrived in my arms. That choice was to be there for every moment that I possibly could. I’ve never regretted that decision. Money might be tight, but moments in my son’s life are priceless, worth so much more than replacing rotten windows and threadbare carpets!