Modern Mum Blog: Weathering the storm of returning to school

Louisa braved the cold weather and made sure her toddler was occupied.

Louisa braved the cold weather and made sure her toddler was occupied. - Credit: LOUISA NEVARD

Although going back to school was a relief for the children as well as myself, the poor toddler had to adjust to loosing his two favourite playmates after monopolising them for seven weeks.

However, with the advent of more toddler groups re-opening and lots of new ones starting it has finally allowed us to have some quality Mummy and toddler time.

One of my favourite groups is an outdoor toddler group run by Happy Mama, it’s such a relief to know that we can have something that maybe able to continue throughout any covid lockdown (although I do genuinely hope they’re gone for good).

The woodland trees keep us sheltered through most weathers, although recently our little group was hit by relentless rain that would not stop throughout the session.

Nearly every parent sat in rain-soaked coats whilst the little ones, as is often the case, are suited and booted in storm proof suits.

Despite this chaotic weather the toddler group as usual was a huge success with muddy puddles, stories and snacks. Soon after our stormy experience I decided to invest in a rain suit for the toddler.

I decided consciously to go for a completely impractical colour for puddle jumping and mud pie making but I thought he looked so cute. He also loves wearing it which is a bonus however, I cannot get him to stay still for a picture!

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I did proudly devise a four-week lunch menu for the kids based around the meals we cook at home. I was going to make them glorious lunches everyday with home-made treats and snacks.

The plan would be to batch cook the first week and then pull out of the freezer all those lovely goodies and pop them in the lunchbox like some wonderful 1950's advert.

After the first week, my energy had dissipated and I had reduced my kids' lunchbox menu to three days of exciting lunches and two boring days of a cheese sandwiches with a croissant (its all I could find in the cupboard in the morning rush).

The children have given surprisingly mixed reviews on my amazing lunch plan, both kids say they like them but one child preferred crisps and chocolate instead of my home baked cakes…kids are a tough crowd!

Sadly, after a cold final week in August, we had very hot weather on the first week back at school. It was these hot temperatures that lead to us being trapped outside our front door in the heat of the sun.

The toddler and I had collected the older two children from the school bus and we were desperate to get inside to cool off from the heat of the sun. The house door had been baking in the afternoon sun which had caused the lock to stick and I couldn’t open the door.

This led to me frantically ringing the door bell, calling my husband, and finally, a series of text messages.

Unbeknown to me, my husband had his headphones on in the office and was listening to the end of a conference call.

With the children in the shade next to some sand and cement, I frantically tried to open the door sweltering in the heat. Unfortunately, the toddler started to dig in cement, and being stuck outside, I had to use sand to gently get the cement off before brushing it off on my clothes.

Once his hands were clean-ish, I continued trying to open the door and texting my husband. I turned around again to find all the children playing in the sand with the toddler with shoes and jumping on top.

I then rescued the toddler and sat them down quietly on the grass…..I was so hot! …..As I tried to twist the key my elbow was burned by the letterbox nearby.

I then had a brainwave and asked the kids if they had any water left. To my relief I could ease my burn with their drinking water. Finally, my husband opened the door and said 'how long have you been standing there'? 

He was completely oblivious to the doorbell, the calls and the text messages!

With school mornings has come the chaos of getting ready. One child is very good at getting up early and ready as they have found that they can watch TV.

The other child is frequently up late despite my desperate pleas and as the time ticks away I bark simple single word orders of “teeth,” “drinks,” “shoes” and “coats”.

Even though our morning ritual has always been the same, they still need to be reminded. Sadly, although I have left my breakfast, fed everyone and tried to wrangle them into something almost presentable the late child still takes me by surprise just as it is time to board the school bus.

The latest failure on my part (because at the end of the day I will be the one judged and blamed) was to send my child to school with the wrong socks and sandals in cold weather…where did their nice new boots go?

I don’t know if I will ever get leaving for school quite right. Getting up early is not necessarily better. I found this out when my watched stopped one morning and I spent 20 minutes saying 'we have 10 minutes left'.

I almost relaxed only to then realised this is not a feeling I’ve had on a morning with kids before.

During the day is still busy but calmer and I even have a chance for a little quite time with the toddler instead of a nap. This involves the toddler watching a little TV and that leaves the kids (at weekends) and I at a loss on what to do for 30 minutes.

To fill the time the kids and I have been trying some new puzzle apps on our devices, with all of us competing against each other for the highest level or the best score.

Recently, there was one particular advert, on our free app (I only do free ones), that kept showing a toy sorting game. It looked like a good challenge so I downloaded it and tried it out.

Within minutes I realised it was no different from the sock sorting in our house. Sort five people’s odd socks is not fun and the game of the same theme was promptly deleted.