Friday, August 20, 2010

Logistical nightmare

This week was one of those logistical nightmares which leaves you trying to ignore everything till the last minute and then just hope that it all works out in the end - which fortunately it did! A month or so ago I enrolled the children for a swimming course - which meant they needed to be at the pool between 9:30 and 10:30 every morning this week. The pool is about a 20 minute drive from here so it is not really too much of a hassle getting them there everyday - unless all the kindergartens that you teach at decide that they are not taking a break from English classes in the summer holidays! It meant that I had to teach every morning - usually from around 10am till 11am. All the kindergartens are between a 20 minute and 40 minute drive from the swimming pool. I'm sure you can work out the logistical problems I had all week!
I admit that I really shelter my kids too much from the big bad world. I think it is probably a combination of coming from a country where it is illegal to leave a child at home alone until they are at least 14 years old and living in a country where there have been the odd (not a lot, but a few) case of a child being taken and murdered while walking home from school. I cringe when I see the 6 year old children walking home from the school pool at 12pm proudly showing the key to their house where they will go and stay until their parents get home from work at 6pm. I close my eyes when I see small kids weaving their way along the footpaths of busy streets on their bikes with no bike helmets. I am not trying to get into a conversation about parenting and what is best for children, but I do have a phobia of leaving my children alone in our house and letting them go places by themselves. They are now 9 and 8 years old so it isn't that they aren't capable - it is just that they never really have the chance. Living in the countryside you can't exactly just wander off to the shops etc. if you feel like it!
Anyway, if you have lost the plot of this blog entry, I don't blame you! I started out by talking about swimming lessons and then moved on to sheltering my children too much. It is all linked however by the fact that I used the fact that I couldn't be there to pick the children up from their lessons to help conquer my fear of letting them do things alone. Day one - no problem, I actually had nothing that day so didn't have to think too much. Day two - I knew I would be 30 minutes late so they were on shopping duty. They walked to the 100 yen shop for a look around then went to the supermarket where they bought 4 cartons of milk and some bread flour and then waited outside eating iceblocks until I arrived. Day three - I knew I would be about an hour late so they went and bought an iceblock (not that I was bribing them....), walked about 1km down the road in the scorching heat and went and got my son's haircut. Paid for the haircut and waited outside for me to come and get them. Day four - my kind friend took them home so I didn't have to worry! Day five - again I knew I would be about 40 minutes late so they asked if they could walk to the bookshop and wait there for me. Another successful outing where they managed to get an iceblock and drink on the way and then buy themselves some books too. I think my daughter's one is even one for studying! All in all what was going to be a nightmare in terms of organisation turned out to be a learning opportunity.
For all the family members who have been to swimming lately they both managed to pass the next level of their tests today - Emily completed her 25m butterfly in 28.12 seconds and Masaki did his 50m backstroke in 54.34 seconds - I don't think I could even swim that far anymore and I know I definitely couldn't get my arms out of the water to do butterfly!


  1. Well done kids! I've been sending Amy on shopping errands for a while now... then the school went and banned them from going to Youme Town!

  2. how encouraging!!

    i miss doing the butterfly, i love to swim!

  3. Congratulations on passing their swimming tests. Passing their swimming tests is really quite an achievement. Mine swim as well, and so I know it isn't easy and the kids do work quite hard at it. So congratulations to both Emily and Masaki!

    As for the rest you said. Jo, I feel exactly the same. I see the news too and watch how kids not so often but it does happen, abuductions here in Japan. Or creepy people bothering kids along the way home. I got a page last year how some kid went missing in our town, the loud speakers went every hour the kid wasn't located until 8pm or so. It turned out to be nothing serious but it chilled me to the bone.

    A few kids in our neighborhood are latch key kids too. And like you said it scares me too.

    Now my husband on the other hand. He always tells me, "let Branden walk" It would be good for him. Blah blah blah. And then he even goes into tale about. When he was a kid, he was walking all over in Osaka and even took a train without any parents at all..his mom dropped him off one station and granny picked him up at the other station. @_@ I tell him well that was a different time, different era maybe things were safer. But I'm not going to do that with my kids. He thinks I am way too overprotective with them. And maybe I am. ; )

    When Noah started swimming, hubby's first thought was...let Branden walk home, give him a key and then you won't have to switch Noah's days around. No thanks, no way. If I can keep my kids alive and safe until they're 18 at least, I'll be quite happy. And then they can take it from there. ; )

    PS, about the swimming... your last few sentences. I can't swim that far anymore either. Especially in the time they're supposed to make it. I'd never make it today either. ; )

  4. My girls are adults now-but I was the same way when they were little. Now a days you can't be too careful. Even though we live on a small island-I hear of bad things happening to little kids and so I lecture my kids about leaving my grandkids alone-something they wouldn't do anyhow. BUT on the other hand...the kids have to learn to be 'street smart'.