During the October half term holidays we moved house, which you can read about here. My main concern about moving was all about school. Harrison has only just started at the nursery school attached to the local Infant school – the same nursery (and the same teacher!) that I went to 25 years ago! He’d settled in absolutely brilliantly, and made some friends. Not only that, I had made some fabulous new friends, and had started going to playgroups, coffee mornings and had even had some of the mums round for a coffee in between the school runs. We were happy and settled, and best of all, the school was literally a two minute walk (well, if you’re not heavily pregnant and trying to drag a tantruming toddler along as well!). Pick up was 11.30am, and I used to leave the house at 11.15, which gave us a good ten minutes to chat to the other mums in the playground.
Our new house is about 15 minutes walk – again that is when you’re not pregnant or dragging the kids along. I knew it would be a bit of a pain in the arse but thought nothing of it – we had to move and it was still fairly local. However, in the half term we went for a walk to the shopping centre, which is about five minutes away, and REALLY struggled. I was practically dragging Alex along (who hated the pushchair) and trying to stop Harrison from wandering off – and this was with my mum there helping as well!! We talked and realised that the walk in the mornings to school would be too much. Not only that, with Harrison only there for three hours, we would literally be walking home to leave again, and it would be too much on the kids little legs. To top it all off, there is a perfectly good primary school literally at the bottom of my road – about two minutes walk. My mum and I talked and at that point I thought I had no choice but to transfer him to the local one. My heart broke at this. Selfishly, not for Harrison. He is such a sociable and friendly little boy that he would fit in and make friends wherever he went, although I know he would miss his best friend Luke. I was more upset for me – I didn’t want to leave the group of friends I had made!! I was so gutted I sat in the bus stop and cried!!
I talked it over with Graham and he wanted whatever was best, and easiest for us all. We decided that instead of sending Harrison into nursery on the first day back after half term, I would keep him off and go and get him enrolled at the new one (assuming they had places). I had sort of got my head round the idea, when late Sunday afternoon something made me double check the new school website – good job really as they don’t have a nursery!!! Instead, there is a feeder pre-school at a local church. I am not a fan of pre-schools – with Harrison doing really well with the structure of school (school uniforms, sitting in assemblies etc) I didn’t want to go backwards. It was like fate to me – he was meant to stay at his school.
On Monday, Graham was off so I took Harrison in. Being a nice day and not having to worry about Alex, we walked it. It took us just over half an hour. Harrison’s nursery has a flexible start time, so we were a bit later than normal but it wasn’t too bad. I popped into my parents on the way back to have a drink before walking back. I was exhausted by the time I got back, and luckily Graham was there to go on the journey to pick him up. In the summer the odd walk there and back will be fine, but I think there and back twice a day will be too much for the kids (and me!!).
On Tuesday, we used the bus, and it was much easier. I’d been worried about the bus in case it was absolutely packed (it is one of the main bus routes in Birmingham!) but it wasn’t too bad at all. We decided to start using the beautiful Cosatto Pablo pushchair that we bought from Beebies Baby Store. It was meant for Benjamin, but Alex’s pushchair is on it’s absolute last legs, so he has been ‘breaking it in’. I’m glad we did! It’s three wheels means it’s much easier to steer, important when we are on and off buses, and it is really easy to push one handed. So far my only groan is that the shopping basket is a bit tricky to get at when Alex is in it! He looks comfy enough though! We had loads of compliments about the pushchair on the bus and at the school gates.
On a Tuesday, we go to a stay and play group at the junior school. It officially finishes at 10.15 but we can loiter until about 10.45. Two of the mums and I went to the cafe over the road for a coffee and toast to kill the time before picking the kids up from nursery, which was lovely.
So far, the journeys haven’t been too bad. We’ve had to miss a bus once or twice when the pushchair area was full, but we are actually getting to the nursery about the same time we did before – it just takes us 15 minutes instead of 5! Obviously, I have had to buy a bus pass but it’s handy as I can jump on buses anywhere now without worrying about having the correct change. When Benjamin is born I think will I be wearing him in a baby sling more than I originally thought, to make the buses a bit easier, but so far, even with a very wet miserable day it has been much better than I thought!
The only problem is that we cut through the shopping centre to get to the bus stop. The centre has a huge Tesco (very handy!) but also has a Costa Coffee. Now, I have a REAL problem with Costa. It’s like there is a magnetic force which drags me in and makes me buy drinks from there. On Wednesday (before I bought my bus pass) I needed change for the bus, so naturally had to buy a hot chocolate to take with me. On Friday, after dropping Harrison off, Alex and I got caught in a downpour. The only way to warm up and cheer ourselves up was to stop off and have a hot chocolate of course! This could get expensive….