Bear with me - this debrief may be long.
Like many parents in the UK (the Western World I guess) we have a busy afterschool schedule. Not manic, but it requires a little bit of juggling to ensure everyone gets to where they neeed to be at the right time and still get the work kids fed and or watered before their grown-up comes to collect them. So I have an agreement with another juggling mother on Princess CurlyWurly's ballet night - she takes, I pick up. It has gone without hitch for over twelve months. Until last night.
It was my babyman's birthday recently and Monday he received a Smiths giftcard from a surrogate granma. Have you seen them? Kind of like a credit card but his had Tigger on the front plus ten pounds to spend. A whole ten pounds just for him - loads of dosh when you are just six! Believe me it was burning a hole in his pocket so on return from school yesterday we had to go down to the High Street.
We bumped into one of my 'borrowed' mums who asked why Princess CurlyWurly was heading back into school with her car seat? My blood drained to my feet and I frogmarched babyman and a borrowed three y.o. straight back to the car.
Screeched to a halt in the school drive (a BIG no-no), grabbed the first teacher I saw and asked if she had seen my princess. As the teacher hadn't I raced through to the far end calling for her. Not sure but I may have disturbed their staff meeting :-#
Got back in the car and zoomed up the lower of the three streets that make up dear old Dinglebury thinking she may have headed into the park. Half way up the road I saw her walking with the Actor Dad and his little girl. Still not sure where they had met her or quite what had happened I thanked him profusely and bundled her up the hill to ballet. (I may never be rude about the Actor dad again - hmmm, nah!)
When we got there the other mother was waiting and looking somewhat concerned. So she should I thought. Took Princess CW in for her class and debriefed with the mother when we came out.
Transpires she thought she had waited long enough and so wended her way up the hill. I, on the other hand had parked twelve hundred miles up the road and had sent Pr. CW, complete with ballet kit and car seat back to the other mother's car. Nearly nine is time enough to start having responsibility she feels. Well at least the illusion of it b/c I turned my car around and drove past their meeting point. No sign of my girl in the 150 yds back between our vehicles plus I trailed other mother's car up the to the top of the hill. All well and good then I thought as I watched them turn into the street of ballet. Didn't think of them again until I saw 'borrowed mum'.
Now, the point of this long windedness approaches, what would you have done?
Gone without the child you were supposed to be collecting and assume she was safe?
Make your entire carful late and ensure somebody had care of your charge?
I would have been really cross with the other mother if Pr.CW was upset but she was her eternal pragmatic self. However by 21:00hrs I was ropeable, really, really cross. However, I try to focus on the fact that all is well that ends without the major saga and more emotional distress. But really - what would you have done?
Note that they worked it to their advantage - on request we had fishnchips for tea.