Before I start writing this weeks #WASO post, I want to add a ‘warning’ to it or should that be a ‘nag alert’ because by the time you have read the first few conversations, that is exactly what you are going to think is happening – trust me over the years I have learnt to accept that I am a self-confessed nag.
- Bumble, we need to be on the road no later than 9.15am so if you are going to have a shower you need to get up and get yourself ready because it is already 8.20 and you know you can’t just have a ‘quick shower’.
- Bumble, we need to be leaving in 2 minutes and you have now decided to make yourself some breakfast. Why didn’t you have some while you were making yourself a coffee?
- Buzzbee, can you please go and put your shoes on because we will be leaving in 5 minutes to take your brother to school.
- Beeswax, we are about to leave for school and now you are telling me that we needed to leave earlier because you are going on a trip today (OK this is a whole other post about his school’s communication skills).
- Buzzbee, I told you 5 minutes ago to put your shoes on because we needed to leave and take Waxy to school.
- Bumble, the table is booked for 7pm tonight so I need you to make sure you get home from work in enough time to change and for us to leave. I think we need to leave no later than 6.30.
OK, you may have guessed that I am a bit of a stress monster/control freak when it comes to timekeeping. I have always, for as long as I can remember, hated being late and always try to be punctual or leave extra time just to make sure we get there on time – Hey, I was even 20 minutes early for my own wedding (Ok not deliberately but if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have known that Bumble was running late as usual and was being ushered along by his flustered mum).
Very quickly I discovered that ‘being on time‘ was not Bumble’s strong point – the biggest clue was being 4 hours late for our first date (OK he did have to travel 150 miles so I didn’t expect him to be perfectly on time but STILL!**Bumble would like to point out that would have been on time if he hadn’t been following my directions, which took him straight through the middle of the city. Eventually he had to buy a map from a garage to get there!**). Once I had moved in with him and got to know his friends I soon discovered that over the years his friends had developed a ‘Bumble timekeeping plan’ to make sure he was never late for any of their parties or events.
How? Well, simply, whatever time they needed him to arrive somewhere. They told him the time as 1 hour earlier and apparently for years this was fool proof – until the day I moved in and we were invited to a BBQ at their house. Bumble was on time! Or should I say we arrived an hour before they were expecting anyone to arrive. At this point the jig was up. Quite to Bumble’s amusement he found out about their plan and over the next few months more friends and family confessed to doing similar things themselves.
So years before the boys came on the scene I already had my hands full with Bumble when it came to going anywhere and so I guess you could say, when the boys arrived I had already lowered my expectations on arriving at places on time quite a bit (who am kidding? No I hadn’t. I had just learnt adapt the plans to make sure we arrived on time and with as little stress as possible).
It is not just going places and getting there on time where I have found myself, over the years, needing to put in a manageable structure to the day that provides the boys with the information they need to feel safe because, god knows, they can’t trust an adult to tell them the truth – the most important being having set times for meals/snacks and always trying to stick to them as best as possible even if we are visiting others or eating out for some reason. We also make sure that while on holiday, not only do we stick to the meal/snack times as best as we can, but we plan our timetable carefully so everyone can enjoy themselves without the boys’ anxiety levels going through the roof.
But, then there is a whole other ‘timekeeping’ factor that plays out day to day in ‘the hive’ and while I have honed my ‘Family wrangling’ timekeeping skills, there are factors and people that are out of my control and I can’t micro-manage.
We have always been lucky with Shamrock (our SW) because again she is a stickler for time and if, for whatever reason, she was going to arrive late, she would text or ring to let us and the boys know. Sadly the boys experience of their (numerous) SWs was one of unpredictability and lateness without any explanations or apologies – with both my boys, first impressions count for an awful lot when it comes to their interactions/trust of professionals (one SW who hadn’t even officially taken over their case yet, firmly put the nails in her coffin before she had even finished her first cup of tea – she was 2 hours late and did not apologise to them or offer any explanation for this rudeness and the boys were not best pleased at all. In fact they refused to interact with her at all).
Over the years, the boys have become a little more relaxed about time and in the case of one of our old friends who, before he got married, was a moderately punctual guy and is now never on time for anything (he, his wife and son arrived at our adoption party 20 minutes before the end of the party – more than 3 hours late). The boys have playfully adapted his surname to reflect their time keeping skills and it has kind of stuck with many of our other old friends who know the couple.
I can’t sit here and write “I am going to be completely ‘chillaxed’ about being on time” or “Bumble is going to miraculously become good at managing his own timekeeping”, but as a family we are always evolving and learning from each other. So that has to be good sign of progress – doesn’t it?