The Long Day Closes

Almost too tired to think tonight, but I thought today’s events were worth getting down as it’s the first time things went pear-shaped on the school run.

Not badly pear-shaped, but…enough.

It’s the third day of the proper school run now; none of this half-day working from home meandering up to nursery then back to drop ‘Lays at school, no sirree bob.  It’s the full monty now.

This morning didn’t see any single great problem, but rather a litany of small ones: a particularly nasty pooh by the eBub, an only slightly-less-helpful-than-usual Millie, a couple of minutes longer wait for the bus and a tiny bit more traffic than normal on the roads, so that we managed to miss our train from Sidcup back to Albany Park.

What’s annoying is that we so very nearly made it.

Leaving nursery I put Millie on my shoulders and powered down the hill in full and certain knowledge that we were behind schedule, and at Sidcup shops we saw our train just pulling into the station.

Now, I want some kudos here, because I ran hundred metres mostly uphill, under a bridge and through some ticket barriers all with a four-year-old child laughing hysterically on my shoulders.  For someone who seldom runs 100 metres in an entire month that’s a goddamn Olympic performance!

Sadly, it wasn’t quite enough: I crashed into the side of the train literally as the doors closed, gaining sympathetic glances from the departing passengers and a question from Millie as to what the word “S**t” meant.

We had 20 minutes till school started and 18 till the next train.  A lucky bus might have gotten us there in time, but I wasn’t feeling especially lucky.

So we caught a taxi. 🙂

At the time Millie seemed decidedly underwhelmed by the experience of travelling like a grown-up in a car (i.e., without a booster seat), but the Lovely Melanie tells me she talked of nothing else when picked up from school that evening.

And when I eventually got into work (there were – of course! – rail delays on the way into town) I had an unexpected email telling me I was to conduct a job interview in two hours time.

I’ve never interviewed anyone for a job before.

Today feels like it’s been a long day – in fact, I’m amazed that everything I’ve recounted above happened just this morning.

Huff…

Um, yes, definitely going to be a lot thinner, I think…

But I do get to see more of the girls in the morning, which is nice.

Well, more of Millie, at least – it’s about the same of the eBub.

At the moment I get up at 6.30, and have a shower, then wake Millie and help her get dressed.  Then it’s my turn to get dressed and Millie and I wake the eBub so all three of us can go downstairs for breakfast.  Today, it was Cheerios, a nice change after a couple of weeks of bran flakes (yes, my children love bran flakes – is that weird?)

Breakfast is about 15-20 minutes, after which everyone goes back upstairs to clean their teeth; then it’s time to put shoes on, coats on, eBubs in eBuggies, packed lunches and book bags in Millie hands and we walk to the bus stop and wait for the bus to nursery in Sidcup.

On a very bad day we might have to wait ten minutes.

At this time (7.40am-ish) it takes about ten minutes to get there.  We drop eBub off at nursery, which takes another five minutes, then Millie and I walk down the hill to Sidcup station for the train back to Albany Park.

The walk down takes about ten minutes, the train journey about three minutes; fortunately we’re going against the rush hour flow so the train is usually empty.  Off the train and up the stairs ready for another ten minute walk from Albany Park station to Millie’s school, usually with Millie on my shoulders at least some of the way.

Millie is dropped off at the school gates now, so I kiss her goodbye, wave until she rounds the corner and set off on another ten minute walk back to Albany Park to catch the train into Charing Cross and a full day’s work.

At least the train is nearly empty as it’s gone nine o’clock so rush hour is mostly done with.

Sweating, I sit down to read my book and try to avoid thinking about doing the same thing again tomorrow – and for years to come!

Cough puff huff hack

One thing is for sure, as Han Solo once pointed out – we’re all going to be a lot thinner. Not because I’m trapped in a garbage compactor on the detention level of a Death Star but because the girls’ new routine for getting to nursery is rather more high impact than I’d anticipated.
We’re up earlier and need to be out the door and on a bus earlier, lest the rush hour of doom catch us in it’s leaden clutches.
Then, with Amber safe at nursery, Millie and I need to catch a train back home – the rush hour of doom being now in full swing the buses can’t be trusted so we have to race for the train station.
This morning was the first trial run of the new routine, and although I’m now sweaty, puffing and stiff it was otherwise very successful.
So successful, in fact, that Millie and I were early so we got to pop back home and get our breath back a little.
Millie will be going to her first session of after-school club today, something she’s not 100% happy about and it’s making both the Lovely Melanie and myself feel a bit guilty. Given the choice we’d rather be there to pick her up straight after school; capitalism these days demands, however, that we both be in work.
Still, at least I’ll be a bit thinner – no bad thing, believe me! 😉

And would you believe it, this entry was written and uploaded on the railway station platform using my iPhone!

Little sister

The Lovely Melanie has pointed out that poor old eBub doesn’t get much of a look-in here, at least not compared to her big sister and iPhones and what-not.

Not due to any lack of affection on our part or because she’s a bit boring – quite the contrary!  It is, as you might expect, because she’s a bit smaller (i.e., less able to demand attention) and because she isn’t the only small child in the house.

Always in the background...

Millie had us all to herself so she got loads of posts on here about what she’d been up to, how she was growing, what she’d eaten, etc., etc.  With the eBub I guess we’ve seen a lot of what she’s doing before – it’s not as novel and/or shocking as it was with Millie; which sounds terrible, I realise, because it’s absolutely not the case that we find her less interesting.

On the contrary, she makes us laugh and smile all the time, especially at the moment when she’s taken to wandering about the place shouting the names of anything she passes: Daddy!  Books!  Bag!  Door shut!  Door open!  Gate!  Car!  Mummy!  Lay-Lays! (her name for Millie).

With Millie at school all day yesterday it was just the Lovely Melanie and the eBub at home so they went for a walk around the local streets, which was, I’m told, an absolute treat.  eBub normally has to stay in her buggy when we go places because she walks so very slowly – even Millie outpaces her these days, especially on her bike or scooter.

But with no Millie there to hurry everything along they could leave the buggy at home and take their time.  Amber pushed her own little buggy with her beloved Bah-bah (Makka-Pakka) in it, and she’d stop pushing every couple of minutes to check upon him.

As at home, everything that went past that she had a name for she’d shout out: Car!  Doggy!  Lady!  Tree! And every five minutes she’d just sit down on the path for a wee rest – after all, she still has only little legs and they’ll carry you just so far without a pit-stop!

Finally, remember I mentioned the new Picasa with face recognition?  Well, looking at all the concentrated mass of eBub pictures on there I was struck once again by what a happy little soul she is.  Pictures of everyone’s else, when seen together, show a  lot of smiles interspersed with various other expressions, too – when the camera caught them unawares.

Not so the eBub!

Just about every single picture of her is of a little grinning, smiling, chirpy, happy, cheerful face.  In fact, if I can find the time I may try to knock up a little montage of them all since seeing so many little eBub smiles together is such a beautiful life-affirming thing!

Full-time

Millie has started full-time at school today – 8.50am till 3.15.  She did an almost full day yesterday, 10.30am till 3.15 and seemed to enjoy it just as much as any of the previous half-days.

With her being so small still we did worry that it might be a bit of a long day for her, but she came out absolutely full of beans, all ready to help me with some shopping and collecting Amber from nursery.  It’s an exhausting job at the moment because the streets of Sidcup (where nursery is) are all being dug up at the moment and the traffic in the mornings and evenings is a bona fide nightmare – I’m talking about 10 minute bus journeys that are currently taking over an hour during rush hour.

I thought we were being pretty clever in getting the train instead, but it’s a far from perfect solution.  The bus stop is about three minutes walk from our house.  The train station is ten (more like 15 with a Millie in tow).  The bus stop at the other end is, again, about three minutes walk from nursery.  The train station is about ten minutes and all uphill.

So the only real plus to taking the train was that we get more exercise.

Still, it was worth it when we got there to find AmberG sat round the table with all of her little friends having dinner, and all looking so cute that I wanted to take a picture.  Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take pictures of other people’s children at nursery any more.   It’s the law.

Probably something to do with paedophiles or something.  Bloody paedos and overprotective parents spoiling it for everyone else!

I am quite impressed.

I am quite really impressed by the latest version of Picasa, the free photo viewing software, which now has face recognition built into it.

And face recognition that really works!  Not only can it pick out almost all of the faces in photos, but it can tell you who they are, too!

Obviously, you have to start by telling Picasa who’s who in your photos but once it has a handle on your friends and family it’s scarily good at labelling those people and finding more photos of them!

I was particularly impressed with what a good job it did with my mum: having seen lots of recent photos it also recognised her in a wedding photo from way back in 1971.

Now, my mum looks very good for her age, but she really doesn’t look 21 any more!

Picasa also did a surprisingly decent job with photos of Millie, who obviously looks very different now from when she was born.  It spotted her in pictures that even I had to look twice at.

The final lovely thing is that it will group all of your pictures of someone together.  That might sound a bit obvious, but seeing tens or even hundreds of pictures of someone at once really shows you how they’ve changed over the years.

I’d be interested to see how it copes with photos on the website Faces In Places…