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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The School Bus

We have just moved to the country. As my husband needs to do a longish commute to work and I don't drive, this means we are taking advantage of the local authority's free transport schemes for school children.

My 9 year old did not like the idea of travelling on a bus from the start. Then he got hold of the council leaflet which focussed very much on safety so now he is using every frightening statistic to accuse me of child abuse in even thinking about putting him on an evil beast such as a bus.

My 6 year old says it is exciting to go on the bus and loves her bus pass as it is bright and yellow and she can wear it round her neck.

My 4 year old only starts full-time school next week but seems to think that going on the bus will be a huge adventure.

The night before they went on the bus for the first time, I barely slept. I am so used to either walking them to school or waving them off as my husband drives them there. Throughout the night, I fretted away with a really sore solar plexus wondering if I was doing the right thing.

I took them to the bus stop and met a mum there who reassured me that they would be fine. It was good to meet a new friendly face and she made me feel much better about things. The children got on fine and the bus driver told me that I did not have a pass so could not go with them. I was not proposing to but was standing at the door of the bus with a tortured face on clearly.

My 9 year old still thinks I am a terrible mother. He reports that the older children swear and throw tic tacs. Find it hard to focus on what he is saying as I remember my childhood addiction to orange tic tacs.

I get annoyed as he does an emotional job on his sister so that she changes her smile to a tantrum and refuses to go on the bus. I talk her round and remind her about her colourful bus pass. She loves all things colourful and she is soon cheery again.

I remember going on the school bus. I remember getting punched in the stomach by a lad. I remember Mum and Dad moving house to be nearer the school as a result of this incident. All I can say is that if my lot want to enjoy chickens, pigs and life in the country, the school bus is non-negotiable. I will spin it as character-building and may well find a shop that sells tic-tacs.

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