PARENTING

The day I wasn’t prepared

Preparation is key for a successful excursion in our house but sometimes I drop the ball. This was the day I wasn’t prepared.

It should have been so simple to take Big Bear to get his haircut that Saturday morning.

J had taken Little Bear to a swimming lesson in the car and was planning to meet us at the hairdressers afterwards. All Big Bear and I had to do was walk down the road and take a five-minute bus journey.

There are two ways we can walk to the bus stop: the one which passes a shop and the one which doesn’t. I had a £10 note and we needed to walk the shop way to get some change for the bus.

Not that easy

“We’re going to get the bus but we need to go to the shop so we can get some money first,” I warned Big Bear in advance.

“Ok,” he replied

That was easy, I naively thought. We should be there in no time.

We reached the top of the drive and I turned right. “NOOOOOOO!” shouted Big Bear. “We need to go this way,” and started walking left.

“But we need to go this way so I can get some money for the bus,” I explained. “We can’t get the bus unless I’ve got some change.”

“No, I want to go this way,” Big Bear started stamping his feet.

Standoff

We stood there for a couple of minutes while I tried to persuade him to walk the way we needed but Big Bear was getting more and more upset. He’d decided we were going this way and couldn’t change his mind. In the end, I agreed to walk his way. If we walked a bit further – about 20 minutes in our case – we would reach the shop and still get on at the bus stop a bit further up the road.

But before we got to the shop…”Mummy, my legs are tired.”

“We need to walk a little bit further so we can get to the shop.”

“No mummy, I want to get on the bus here,”

“We can’t get on the bus here because I haven’t got any change.”

Big Bear sat down on the wall and refused to move. I looked at my phone and saw we had about 15 minutes before our appointment. “Please come this way,” I pleaded. “Or we’re going to miss our appointment.”

This was wasted on Big Bear who has no concept of time or what it means to miss an appointment. I knew that but I was desperate.

Saviour?

Then I saw a bus in the distance. Big Bear put his arm out to stop it and I decided to risk the wrath of the bus driver by daring to get on with a note. The bus stopped, Big Bear ran on and sat at the back grinning. He loves riding on the bus. “Sorry,” I said to the driver. “I’ve only got a £10 note.”

He looked at me in disgust. “You can’t come on here expecting to pay with that,” he said and shook his head. “But I haven’t got any change,” I replied. “He looked at me and shook his head again.” There were a handful of passengers on the bus pretending to look out of the window.

“Come on,” I called to Big Bear. “We’ve got to get off the bus.”

Big Bear ran back down. “Why mummy? Why do we need to get off the bus?”

“Because I don’t have change,” I said through gritted teeth.

We got off the bus and I eventually managed to persuade Big Bear to walk the rest of the way to the shop. There was a man was selling the Big Issue outside.

“Big Issue?” he asked, hopefully. I was about to say no when I thought about the bus driver’s rudeness and thought I could pass on some kindness to someone and also get the change I’d been desperate for.

“Can you change £10?” I asked.

“Sure,” he replied, took my £10 and gave me £5 change.

“What about the rest?” I asked.

“Oh, I haven’t got any more change,” he replied and handed me the magazine. I stood there with an open mouth.

I probably should have asked for the money back and changed it at the shop, then bought the magazine. However, my brain was so frazzled by then that I just walked off with Big Bear asking: “Who was that man?”

Still no change

So now I was £5 down and still didn’t have any change. I looked at my phone again and realised there now wasn’t enough time to get the bus before our appointment. I’d just opened my Uber app to see how long it would take to get a taxi when my phone rang.

“Are you at there yet?” asked J. “No,” I cried. “I didn’t have any change, then Big Bear wouldn’t walk to the shop and then the bus driver wouldn’t let us get on the bus and then the man selling the Big Issue didn’t give me my change….I’m still outside the shop.” As I was talking, he pulled up in the car and Big Bear and I got in. I was so relieved.

The day I wasn’t prepared taught me a valuable lesson: No matter how simple a task might seem, it’s never EVER going to be that easy. I always need to be prepared. EXTRA prepared. For every eventuality.

Big Bear now has a bus pass which includes free travel for a companion. So THANKFULLY we don’t ever need change again when getting the bus together.

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