The mum without the car seats
It’s lovely, isn’t it, when your children start to make proper friends at school. I love that first sign of independence when they tell you they want to go home from school with a friend for a play date, and they don’t mind that you won’t be there to pick them up or go with them.
We’re sort of getting there with DS now he’s four.
And, while I’m overjoyed at the thought of having a little peace in the afternoon while he has a great play date, I have to say, letting him go home with others does bring its own set of problems.
Our school isn’t a five-minute walk away; neither is it a quick drive through the local community – it’s a 20-minute drive at 140kph on the road formerly known as Emirates Road (now technically known as Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Rd – not to be confused with Sheikh Rashid Rd or even Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard).
To get an idea of what the road formerly known as Emirates Rd is, take the M25 in rush-hour, supersize it to 12 lanes, then plonk the world’s supply of village idiots on it, in badly maintained cars capable of driving at 160kph.
That’s our school run.
Is it any wonder that I’m a bit anal about insisting that DS is always in a proper, age-appropriate car seat? But sometimes I find it difficult to ask other mums outright if they’ll be putting DS in a car seat. Usually I ask nonchalantly if they have enough car seats or should I drop one off for DS to use? But other times I barely know the mum so I resort to sneakier tactics.
This involves lurking in the car park until I’ve watched her put her own kids in her car. If they’re strapped into car seats, we’re cool. But if her own children are flying loose in the car, their heads bobbing about between the front seats as her driver accelerates the Range Rover out of the car park in a cloud of dust, poor DS finds his play dates stone-walled – unless the other child comes home with us. If that happens, we’re usually subjected to a barrage of four-year-old outrage: “What? I have to sit in a baby seat?”
Um, yes dear: You’re not going through my windscreen.