One of the THE most stressful part of my day is the walk home from school. It’s not far, a mile, it’s a slight incline all the way and it’s like being dragged about by a herd of rampaging wildebeest!
It starts in the playground while we wait for Aoife, Seth sits on the floor in the mud. Sometimes he might have a little lay, a small roll around. I take a snack to try and keep him on his feet. He has been known to pick it off the floor and eat it. Then he has a little crawl in the mud, he is more than capable of walking but crawling is more fun. Interestingly he never crawled before he could walk. Once Aoife has been gathered the fun really begins. As we walk home he will stop to carefully select a stick, a few steps later he will discard that one for a bigger one, a few more steps and that one will be cast aside for what can only be described as a tree trunk. Thankfully with this windy weather of late there have been so many sticks to choose from. So many. Today he found a fantastic stick and proceeded to do his best Basil Fawlty impression on a complete strangers car! I try dragging him away but I swear his arms stretch.
Next, I physically have to wrestle him from a pile of dog shit that he so desperately wants to stand in and I’m clearly the worst mummy for not letting him leap in it. Every puddle is stood in, every pile of leaves walked through and every grass verge traipsed on whether they’re in our line of walking or not.
He has to touch every post and electricity box at a certain point on the way home. I sigh with despair knowing they’re probably covered in dog wee, hey, maybe even human wee. He has a little lie down on the way up the hill, every 5 metres maybe. When we are actually walking between rests he is turned around, back to back with me, facing back down the hill. My arm is constantly being wrenched out of its socket. He is blessed with a strength beyond his two and a half years, he possesses the strength of Thor Bjornsson!
We get to the main road waiting to cross, he likes to tease the drivers, making out like he is going to step out in front of them. Obviously it won’t happen as I have a firm grip of him. Finally there’s a break in the traffic “let’s go” I say, Seth spots a stone he really needs, I trip over him, Aoife trips over me, we all land in a pile back on the curb and wait for another lull. Once we successfully start crossing he must stop in the middle of the road to jump a bit (as you do) or to watch the bus that’s heading directly toward us. “Bus!” he declares with glee.
As we round the corner he attempts, sometimes successfully, to dehead some lovely rosebushes. I mean they were really lovely, the man in the house there puts a lot of time and effort into them. I should probably buy him some new roses… There are a few more piles of dog poo to fight over then we’re on the home stretch. He sticks his hand in the wheel of the neighbours 4×4, covers his hands in filth and then goes for a sprint finish. Once we get to the front door he says “ding dong” wanting me to lift him up to the bell. I look at him standing there. God knows what on his hands, in his hair, over his cherubic little face.