Nick King's Blog

I've done some pretty cool things, but nothing's as cool as creating our family

Sorry!

Sorry!

Adopting a toddler?  Indeed, dealing with a toddler for whom you are in any way responsible? Then get used to that word.

I believe myself to be an up together person.  I've done some interesting things in my life.  I've built a number of businesses, made sufficient money and invested it wisely so that now, in my 40s, I'm lucky enough to be able to pick and choose the work I do.  I had a successful political career for a while.  All of that has provided me with a variety of life skills which make me reasonably confident, eloquent, self-assured even.

None of these qualities has, however, prepared me in any way whatsoever for looking after the chaotic, charging, sprinting, free spirit who is our three year old daughter.

In the space of fifteen minutes this week, I counted that I said 'Sorry' over 30 times while chasing after our little girl.  That's twice a minute!

 

Waiting in the school playground to collect our son is a fantastic opportunity for our daughter to blow off steam.  There are plenty of other toddlers wandering about with whom she can play.  There are number and letter motifs painted onto the playground surface which intrigue her.  There are lots of adults upon whom she can practice being engaging and sweet.

This is of course all a facade.  Our daughter's sole purpose is to create as much chaos as possible.

This particular afternoon was no exception.

 

Starting with a couple of her play school friends, our daughter decides to play chase between the legs of the ever increasing crowd of adults awaiting their children's school release.  Rather like a game of mini human pinball I find myself saying sorry to most of the adults around me as our daughter and friends bounce of legs, buggies, prams, bags and the like.

At our village school there are two entrances.  One for the reception class children and one for everyone else.  Reception children come out five minutes earlier and are only released through a gate when their parents are recognised as waiting for them.

When this process is completed quite efficiently it leaves the gate wide open with a clear view of the reception playground, replete with climbing frames and play equipment beyond.  Now, the normal reception teacher is used by now to our daughter making a break for the open gate when she has half a chance.  Except that this particular afternoon the normal reception teacher wasn't there.

The supply teacher was older. Of the old school.  With a haircut as severe as the expression on her face when she appeared next to me.  

"Is she yours?" She asked quite tetchily. 

"Oh! Sorry! Yes." Was all I could manage.

"She was headed for the play equipment, I intercepted her!" Says slightly irritated supply teacher who has clearly already formed an impression that I am a father who has no control whatsoever over his daughter.

"Sorry, yes, you see I'm a Governor, so she's here a lot with me and knows where all the play things are, sorry. Sorry." I mumble as supply teacher turns on her heal.

 

By now the other children are coming out of school.  I need to talk to one of my fellow School Governors about some school business, so encourage our son to keep an eye on his sister while I chat to my colleague.

The call of my colleague's son, who is equally being kept waiting by our conversation, and who has a football is too much for my son, who abandons his sister within seconds.  

Over my colleague's shoulder I notice our daughter by the intercom at the school's main entrance.  

"No!" I shout, to no avail as she reaches up and starts pressing the entry buzzer wildly.

Now, our daughter has form for this too, so the door isn't opened remotely, rather the headmaster arrives at the door to open it and ensure there's no unauthorised entry.  

"Sorry," I say to my colleague as I leave the conversation to get my daughter away from the school entrance before she can do any further damage.

The headmaster opens the door, bending forward to talk to my daughter.  She however is too quick for him, ducking and running in-between his legs she's into the school reception area in an instant, leaving the poor headmaster looking bemusedly over his shoulder as she runs through the reception area into the body of the school.

"Sorry!" I shout at the headmaster as I charge past him after my daughter.

The receptionist needs a "Sorry," as I run past her, as does the parent to whom she is talking.  

Our daughter knows the layout of the school pretty well, so she's through reception and headed towards the classrooms already.  Two teachers and one of the cleaners also get "Sorry's" before I finally catch up with our little girl as she enters the girls toilets.  

Skidding to a halt in the doorway, just as I hear the bang of a cubicle door, the rather startled little girl exiting the toilets also needs a "Sorry."

 

Realising why my daughter was running and being confident of her ability to complete her ablutions and return to me I retrace my steps.  More "Sorry's" are uttered to the receptionist and Head on my way out.

"Sorry, she needed the loo," I say to my colleague who is still standing in the middle of the now empty playground.  

 

Our conversation completed I utter another "Sorry" to my colleague as we part, returning to the reception area where the Head now has my daughter by the hand.  "She was trying out the library," he says with an expression that says 'I'm so glad she's your daughter and not mine'.

"Sorry," I say.  

The Head and I need to have a short conversation.  It takes no more than a further five minutes, during which time our daughter has got every Peppa Pig book she can find from the library shelves, attempted to do a break dancing head spin on one of the reception area stools and has had to be hauled back from the School Hall where she has attempted to join in the after school activities.  

That's another eight "Sorry's" in the space of one conversation.

"Sorry!  All I ever say to you is 'Sorry', I say to the head as I finally heard both children out of the front door.

 

Sorry!  I hope you've enjoyed this post.  Sorry!