I’m sure I have many fine qualities, but there is one particular skill I lack, probably more. The one that I yearn for is a scientific bent, or a hefty dose of logic in the alternative. This would help me be a better predictor of outcomes. Instead, I am usually bumbling along several metres or sometimes kilometres behind the rest of the herd. My herd is unruly, in need of firm leadership, if not a cattle prod. It may well be something to do with their growth and development, coupled with my own age and decrepitude, but the combination appears to be paralyzing.
This dawns on me one morning when I notice a trend. We have prompted our larger darlings through the morning routine, given countdowns about our impending departure until the moment arrives. The moment when their father says, “Time to go,” prompts an unusual phenomenon. Instead of filing dutifully towards the exit and the awaiting car to chauffeur them safely to their ultimate destination, namely school, they turn tail and run in the opposite direction in a mad stampede.
This habit, for it is an intermittent habit that pops out to bite us every once in a while, used to be due to an aversion to transitions. Then it was an aversion to the school bus. Then, an aversion to school. So now I see how much progress we have made. The exodus is not an aversion to anything. For some while it was a wordless retreat, a mass movement back upstairs, leaving us dumbfounded as they are far too big to be picked up and deposited against their will in a vehicle. But of late, words have begun to accompany the pounding of size 10 sneakered feet thundering up the stairs with the seconds frittering away before the first bell. Now we discover they voluntarily use words to explain the mystifying retreat.
“I’m just gonna get my …………”
“Just a minute, I need my ………”
“Heck, where’s my ………..”
So it is not an aversion to anything, instead it is the love for some miniscule and irrelevant object, which must be found and taken with them to school.
I’m sure we’re not alone in experiencing this hiccup; in fact I seem to remember my father, a stickler for time and motion studies, having similar issues. Could this be why all the clocks in my own childhood were pushed five minutes forward?