Toddler on the [School] Run

I’m guessing (totally making up) that the average sibling age gap in the UK is about 2.5 based on a normal distribution…i.e. that there will always be exceptions to the rule on a lesser frequency around the mean.

Maybe when your child is 18 months or so, that’s the time your body starts pulling at your ovaries to tell you to hop on the good foot, do the bad thing, and make a baby sibling for your darling offspring.

But whatever the reason, this inevitably gives rise to a sea of parents, doing the school run with a toddler in tow.

Although I’ve mused (moaned) about the school run here before, I feel that as the Mouse has transcended from small person happy to sit in a stroller to one with other ideas, this subject deserves it’s own whole rant. Because doing the school run with a crazed toddler is something I feel we suffer in silence, en masse.

A battle of wills

If she had her way, we’d forget the whole school run altogether, perhaps just leave her sister in boarding school and be happy in her own bubble of Paw Patrol, sticking stickers on walls and playing ‘the holiday game’ (emptying every toy box within sight into a big mountain). Sadly for all of us, the school run is a non negotiable. Something the Mouse is reluctant to grasp.

Appropriate footwear

Whilst I try my hardest to ‘pick my battles’ and go with the flow, it’s hard to understand some of her fashion choices. She’s all about style over substance and whilst I do like those glittery wellies, they aren’t the best in a heatwave, as much as jelly shoes don’t really cut it during (another) rain storm.

Getting out of the door

Once the (in)appropriate footwear is on those feet, it’s keeping them on and getting out of the premises which causes the next headache. I can only apologise to the neighbours for my 8.13 daily meltdown as I descends into shouty Mum mode, GET IN THE CAAAAAR!

No amount of ‘Fine, we’re going without you’ is going to coerce this one away from her home comforts. I think we could actually do the school run, whizz round ASDA, do an hour in the gym before she even looked up, and that’d only be because she’s hungry.

Sibling Rivalry

Perhaps in an attempt to usher the girls out of the house, I’ve used the ‘race’ tactic one too many times. As a result, every step of the journey is now a fierce competition of who can get in, out, sit down, breathe in and out, first. Failure to be first in any said number of self defined competitions (walking on the wall, reaching a certain point) might result in a total fall out. There is only ever one winner, but there are always two losers – because I end up consoling the distraught loser every flippin’ time.

(Although, I can’t not add, that sometimes, the sibling love does shine through and mini-mummy is a darling at joining me in doing all we can to get her sister from A to B with minimal fuss. It’s pretty cute).

Modes of transport

The littlest of the muddlling through crew is of the age and stage of not really wanting to be in a buggy any more. She’s also a bit shy on the walking front and prefers ‘a carry’ after approximately twelve steps. Failure to meet these demands can result in what’s only known as the wrath of the threenager. One happy medium so far is the use of the scooter with pull rope, to prevent near death experience or the loss of one of two children in any given direction. It works however it does involve a significant investment of Mum power, and when backfires results in Mum carrying crying toddler plus scooter = fail. This push me, pull me, carry me circus in the mornings has done more damage to my back than any number of years hunched over a PC incorrectly, but on the plus side, it gets my heart racing and the sweat coming twice a day. That’s exercise in my book.

The get out of jail free card

When Dad works from home, we all do a little  happy dance. Well, everyone except the participants of his conference calls perhaps. Because we all know darn well, that this means that the little one can, for now, stay in the warm, happy in tablet land whilst Dad fires up the first emails of the day.

The golden silence on the walk home is something to behold, with the sweat and stress so blissfully absent.

Due to a fortunate accident, we have just enough time to get home, collect the mouse and happily stroll the short journey to pre-school if Dad gives us the nod. And ten minutes of nursery run is so much more manageable than an hour and ten minutes of the double, for all involved.

The tantrum times

The beauty of having one child, is that you are hopefully past the tantrum stage by the time you navigate the school run (ish). The fact is when having two kids, is that regardless of what side of bed your toddler got up on, you need to get your eldest to school. Bear that in mind next time you see a Mum trying her best to smile / laugh off / not cry as her toddler is going ape shit in the school line. Again. It’s probably best to not say helpful things like ‘Why don’t you take her for a walk around the field’ when it’s just taken you an hour to get her to that door in one piece. There is always one, and it’s usually mine.

Be kind. Smile, don’t laugh. Offer help and don’t expect to be able to help.

Her youngest isn’t a total little monster, she just doesn’t really dig the school run. Who can blame her. It’s boring, it’s militant, it’s time bound and it’s basically hard to be three and expected to conform all the time.

Taking a toddler on the school run is as about exhausting as it gets sometimes. We dream of the day two children stroll together side by side, a day when you can warm your hands in your pockets or even hold an umbrella in the downpour. (imagine!)

Every so often, on a really good day, when the sun shines and the path (and scooter) is going down hill, I get a little snippet of what that feels like. And it feels good.


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12 thoughts on “Toddler on the [School] Run

  1. Claire - Life, Love and Dirty Dishes Reply

    I so feel your pain. I’ve written about it too. I miss the buggy! The school run is the most stressful part of the day.

  2. Tales From Mamaville (@MamavilleTales) Reply

    It’s stressful enough with one, can only imagine it with a baby then toddler in the mix! But I see other mums doing it, and I know, I feel your pain Sarah. Hopefully the ‘good days’ you got a glimpse of will roll over sooner!

  3. mackenzieglanville Reply

    I love that last Insta pic it is super sweet. Yes got to love well meaning comments by other parents who seem to always have their shit together (NOT)! I had almost 3 years between my first two and then 2.5 with my third, and I agree when dad worked from home it was like THE BEST THING EVER. Mine are all at school now, but I have not forgot the torture of having to wake sleeping child, baby doing a poo just as I buckled him in seatbelt after he had thrown a tantrum and we were already running late! I swear he timed his morning dump with the school run everyday for a year. It is much easier now that they are all off to school. #coolmumclub

  4. Mrs Lighty Reply

    Hmmm…another reason not to have another child, ha!! #coolmumclub xxx

  5. Winnettes Reply

    You have definitely described every toddler on the school run. I know one mum is jealous of the fact that Trixie is in the pushchair for the walk on the school run… But I point out each day she didn’t see the epic face off between me and her before I eventually just bend her into it anyway. I would love her to be able to scoot like her sister but I know full well that she will either scoot straight into the road or scoot 2 paces at which point I will end up carrying her and the scooter. No thank you very much!

  6. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    Oh hun I can totally see why this could be a nightmare! I find school runs a nightmare at the best of time but Lordy with a toddler in the mix? Major uh ohs. Keep the #coolmumclub faith mama! xoxo

  7. mummyconstant Reply

    Our age gap is 18 months – call us crazy! So when I was taking Noah to school in reception, little Isla was going to the pre-school. It was stressful as one would go one way and the other go the other way. Trying to drum in the importance of road safety is incredibly difficult. They have only just got it now – they are 7 & 5.

  8. oldhouseintheshires Reply

    I remember it so well. Pushing the blasted buggy with a scooter balanced on top and still carrying my huge toddler because that was the only mode of transport his lordship wanted! It’s rough but it does come to an end. #coolmumclub

  9. Mrs Mummy Harris (@mummyharris86) Reply

    I am super fortunate that I will not have to do the school run when Ben goes to school as it will be in his nans hometown not ours! Kind of sad about it, but then I also avoid any potential bitchy mums! #coolmumclub

  10. Helen Reply

    Oh i’ve done and still do my fair share of school runs with a toddler! I’ve just added preschool to the mix so more fun and games there!! X

  11. Orangesandlemons Reply

    I’ve just found this article after three weeks of being humiliated by my 2 year old’s daily meltdowns at the repetition school gate. Today I broke and tears began to well as he fought so hard to get out of the buggy that he tipped it over while the rest of the parents looked on. I can’t tell you how much of a comfort it is to know I’m not alone in this difficult stage!

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