Tuesday, 22 November 2011

School run subterfuge

Waif's school is about 4 miles from home.  As you, Dear Reader, will know if you have been reading for long, Waif often cycles this in the warmer months but I have vetoed cycling for November through to the February half term as it is too dark and dangerous where she has to negotiate London A roads.

We have near neighbours each with a son at Waif's school and they share a school run in the car.  It is also possible to catch 2 buses to school, or to walk through the park and then catch one bus.  The timings are basically as follows:

cycling:        10 mins
car journey:  15 mins (rush hour traffic and no short cuts across the park make this longer than cycling)
bus:              40 mins to an hour depending on waits  :-(    the first bus runs only every 25 mins so the wait is unpredictable but last month this improved as there is a new iphone app telling you when a bus is due.
walking:       about an hour
walking half way then bus:  about an hour

You can see why Waif likes cycling.

I have provisionally joined the lift share so that Waif can have a lift to school every day.  However, she has been refusing to take it and insisting instead on going by bus.  I have let this ride as I applaud independence and, in London, bus travel is free so it doesn't cost any more.  I still do my turn(s) on the lift share to reserve Waif's ability to get a lift any day she wants one.

Her logic is that she does not want to sit in the back of a car with boys who smell and that she does not know.  They do not in reality smell as far as I have noticed, incidentally, and seem like very nice boys.   One is in the year above her at school and the other is in the year below.  Ho hum, I have merely pointed out that she has no control who sits next to her on the bus..

I have been blind though, Dear Readers.  The Near Neighbour (NN)  I met on bonfire night told me that her anorexic daughter turned out to have been walking to school every day, whilst pretending to get the bus early for extra studying.  This is all about burning off calories.

Waif has been leaving for school at 7.30 even though she now has a new app for her iphone called Buschecker which predicts the arrival of the next bus and so her journey should have been getting shorter.  She has also been staying after school to do art, telling me that she will text when she needs a lift home, and then texting me to tell me she is in fact on the bus.

I told NN that I trusted Waif.  She cautioned me to check up on her.  I had not done that until this morning when one of my Older Daughter's friends arrived at our house for her lift with Older Daughter and remarked she had just seen Waif in the Park.  The Park is not between us and the bus stop.

Waif had been in a strop this morning for at least two reasons:

1.  I had made her scrambled egg and insisted she ate it with 2 pieces of toast; and
2.  her grandparents were staying and she has had issues with her grandfather who has in fact inadvertantly(ish) been quite cruel and hurtful to Waif, and is too "old school" to apologise and make up.  We are only just on speaking terms really although I am not sure he has noticed.

Anyway, whether it was Waif's mood that put me on alert, or just the tip off that she was in the park I am not sure but I threw on my clothes, grabbed Waif's bike from the shed and pedalled off after her.  I caught up with Waif probably 15 minutes after she had left home, trudging through the rain across the Heath half way to school.

Sigh.  I told her she was grounded and insisted she came home (I am not sure why I didn't let her keep going at that point as school was as close as home but I wanted consequences).

She knew she had been rumbled although she half heartedly said she hadn't mentioned the walking as she thought I wouldn't mind whether or not she was walking.  She knew that was a lie.  I explained that I was very hurt and upset that she had lied to me, and worried about her weight, and asked her to promise to be honest so that I can help her.  I will tell her tonight this is the moment at which I now insist on her accepting a lift every day after a cooked breakfast - I expect she will work that out for herself really.  We had a good chat on the way home with her agreeing that any weight under 50kg was much too little and that she would try to eat as much as possible until she was over that.  Her target weight is actually more like 56kg but that is for another day.  One step at a time.  In return, I told her that I was doing my best not to bully her, but more to help give her strategies and insight and she agreed that she did not feel bullied by me (rather surprisingly and I am not sure if that is good or not).

She admitted to also walking home on a few days.  This would mean that she was taking an 8 mile walk with a bag each day she walked both ways.

She did not want the indignity of meeting her grandparents back at the house so I went in first, organised a distraction, and then snuck Waif upstairs for the half hour before the grandparents left.  Waif and I then ate a second breakfast and I drove her to school.  Double sigh.  I feel so sorry for her.  I tried to talk to her about her worries (school entrance exams, her grandfather, boys.....) but there does not seem to be a specific link.  I wish there were a magic bullet.

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