I wanted to share a quick story about my sweet little Joe.
Since the kids started school I haven’t done too many drop-offs, because my uni schedule has kept me on campus for most of each week. However, I have been at home on Wednesdays, and have wanted to be a good Mum and accompany Rieke (our au pair) and the kids.
However, drop-offs haven’t gone well when I’ve been there: Joe has become very upset when it was time for me to say goodbye. We had a lot of clinginess and tears, and Hattie was left giving him cuddles and comfort while I tried to follow everybody’s advice and make a swift exit. But it was obviously not fun for him, and it wasn’t much fun for me, either.
Last Wednesday Hattie climbed into bed with me first thing in the morning, and we had the following conversation.
H: “Mummy, you know how Joe gets upset when you drop him off?”
H: “Well, he and I were chatting about it this morning -” (they still share a room, and have great chats about what is going on in their lives) “- and I know why he gets so upset.”
M: “And why’s that, darling?”
H: “When you drop him off he misses the smell of your skin.”
M: “OK – so what do you think we should do about it?”
H: “Well, I think it’s better if you don’t come to drop-off and he says goodbye to you at home.”
M: “Oh – so do you think that’s easier for him?”
H: “Yes, that would be much better.”
Let’s pause for a minute and acknowledge what a kind sister little Hattiekins is, being so protective of her brother and invested in his happiness and welfare, and always looking after him when he’s upset. I love their sibling relationship so much.
Anyway, I double-checked this with Joe and he confirmed that he’d much prefer it if I didn’t come to drop-offs. So that’s now officially an au pair job, whether I’m home or not (which isn’t terrible for me, let’s be honest: I can stay in my pyjamas).
However, Rieke is leaving for a week’s holiday this week, so the drop-offs are my job again. I asked Joe how he thought we could handle it, and asked him whether an idea that a school mum friend had suggested might work: giving him a handkerchief with my perfume on it. So this is what we did this morning, and it worked beautifully: no tears at all, just a cuddle, a kiss, and a cheerful goodbye in the classroom.
But really, has there ever been anything cuter than a child getting upset because he misses the smell of his Mummy’s skin?! Beautiful boy.