– by Amanda Coop
RAISE your hand if you’re not a morning person. Now, keep that hand raised if your kids are also not morning people, except on the rare occasions when you have the chance to sleep in.
To those with raised hands, let us shake our fists in our collective anger. I feel your pain. I felt it quite forcefully in my ears, on a morning not so long ago when I woke to both my kids bellowing at me from beside the bed.
“Mum!” They yelled in unison. “MUM! Wake up!”
“Huh?” I said, abruptly ripped from whatever lovely dream I was having (probably about the day I will actually get to sleep in).
“What time is it?” I looked at my phone, which was beside the bed. “Guys, it’s 6 o’clock,” I said, both horrified and confused. “What on earth are you doing?”
Such early starts would normally be reserved for exciting occasions such as Christmas morning, birthdays, or heading off on holiday somewhere.
“We’re ready for school!” Miss 8 announced enthusiastically. I groaned and flopped back on to the pillow. “Well, your teacher’s not.” It was, you guessed it, the first day of at-home learning for Term 2, brought about, of course, by the coronavirus pandemic.
My kids, who, on any normal school day, need to be dragged kicking and screaming from their beds at 10 past seven, were standing there, dressed in school uniform, their little eyes gleaming, brimming with enthusiasm for the day ahead.
The school hadn’t required them to wear uniforms for their home learning, and Mr 5 is in kindy and doesn’t even start school until next year, so he never needed one anyway, but that hadn’t stopped him borrowing one of big sissy’s polo shirts. It was actually sort of adorable. But it was also 6am.
“It’s really early, guys,” I said. “You could go back to bed for a while. We don’t need to do any of the normal lunches and packing.”
“We’ve already started making our lunches,” Miss 8 said. I was feeling at this point fairly grumpy (did I mention I’m really not a morning person?) but it was actually lovely to see them so keen to hang out with boring old me for the next five weeks while I fuddled my way through primary school maths (and boy, did I fuddle).
Even so I couldn’t help but think they were killing off all the benefits of at-home learning – no washing of school uniforms, no lunches to make, sleep-ins.
There’s gotta be some payoff for the parents, right? Especially for those poor souls who had to hold down their day jobs at the same time and/or have more than one school-aged child.
Fast-forward to the end of our five weeks together and I had surprised myself by mostly enjoying it and realising I didn’t really want to part ways at the school gate the following week. I was still pretty hopeless at maths but hey, we never expected any miracles.
The kids had settled nicely into the groove, and thankfully abandoned uniforms, pre-packed lunches and early starts.
Just in time for me to have to drag them, kicking and screaming, out of bed at 10 past seven the following Monday morning. Right after I made their lunches.
– by Amanda Coop