Remember how I told you that I was putting the kids in aftercare and that they were excited to go etc? Well, the excitement soon wore off. Adam has been fine as a few of his friends from class are at aftercare but Kate hates it. Firstly, they serve food at aftercare. Normal food. OMG! FOOD!!!! Kate doesn't do food. I've told her and I've told the aftercare teacher that she doesn't have to eat a single thing at aftercare, I will pack extra food for her. But it doesn't matter, there is FOOD around and she doesn't want to have anything to do FOOD*.
Secondly, apparently she has no friends at aftercare. Which was true'ish as there are far fewer girls there than boys, but in a stroke of splendid good fortune, Kate's best friend started aftercare three afternoons a week. Perfect, I thought. I would only send the kids to aftercare when Kate's best friend went. That went well for about a week, and then Kate said she didn't want to go anymore. Because (a) there is FOOD at aftercare and (b) it takes too long. She wants to come home. I asked her again today (they are on long school break at the moment) why she didn't want to go to aftercare and she said again "it is too long". And of course, Adam has jumped on the bandwagon too and says he also doesn't want to go because it takes too long (<-- please note that aftercare is only until 3pm, three days a week)
Rats and damnation! I have a big dilemma now. Do I make them go, or do I allow them to stay home.
My sister Melly and I always laugh at how different we are. Melanie's motto is 'if you start something, you finish it' and mine is 'you don't have to do anything you don't want to do'. Ok, not really. I know that in life there are somethings that you have to do, even if you don't like it. Like work / dieting / not drinking too much wine / marriage. (OOPS! Only joking! Marriage is wonderful. Am very fond of my husband at the moment.) But they are only five years old. Do I need to make them go to aftercare now if they really don't want to? Yes, I would like them to. I desperately need the time to work, but I work for myself. I work from home. I can make another plan. Maybe not forever, but for now I can manage.
Obviously they are not always going to get out of things they don't want to do. They can't say to me "I don't want to go to school". Tough luck buddy, you have no choice. But in this case, there is a choice, even if that choice is mine and not theirs. (Although, it has to be said that this choice comes at a cost - I still have a business to run which means I need to make up that time at night, which is not great for me or for my husband)
Shit, I don't know what to do. Head vs Heart. My head is saying something, but I can't hear what it is saying because all I can hear is my heart and my heart is saying "you don't have to go if you really don't want to". I can't help but put myself in their shoes and I wouldn't want to go either. I am a homebody boring old fart too, I love being at home.
I can make her go. I know I can. But I also know that the teacher says that Kate sits there the whole time, sucking her thumb, not saying much, not eating, not mixing with the other kids and asking when she can go home all the time. It breaks my heart. That is not who Kate is.
I know I am too soft with my kids. I know I parent too much with my heart and not enough with my head, but in this whirly twirly world of a million rights and wrongs the only thing I can trust is my gut, and in my case my gut is almost always linked to what my heart is saying.
What should I do? Do I allow them to decide they don't want to go anymore or do I make them go. What are your thoughts?
PS they are at holiday camp this week, from 8am until 12:45. They had fun the first two days, but now they have had enough. They don't want to go tomorrow because 'it takes too long'. Tough luck, sorry for youuuu! I am making them go because I need to get some work done and because it is good for them to get out and play for at least part of the day. So I can make them do some things when I feel it is the right thing to do.
* What does Kate eat? She has a few things she will eat and she will not eat anything else. You can stand on your head and whistle through your arse, she will not even try anything else. Example: the kids drink tea (Rooibos tea). That is what they are used to. Recently Mimi (their granny) offered to make them hot chocolate with a marshmallow in it. Delicious! Kate would not try it. Adam loves it. Now Adam has it instead of tea but Kate refuses to even try it. She drinks her boring old tea while Adam has his hot chocolate with the marshmallow. Whatever. After five years, I have learnt not to get worked up over it. As long as she is getting some nutrition in, I am not going to sweat about it.