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!