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Jan. 6th, 2014

School started up again today. Chalk that up along with 'end of university term' for great feelings. We've been talking it up to Sophie for the last week, especially once we realised that part of her moodiness over Christmas might have been confusion over why she wasn't going to school anymore and what was going on. Initially I'd figured that she'd be too happy to be home with Mummy & Daddy to care, but that was probably wrong. So she knew that today was the Big Back to School Day.

7:20 - Wake up. These days we usually rely on Sophie to be an alarm clock and it is rare that she sleeps a minute past 7. So it was a slightly hasty morning routine but not super-rushed. (In the old nursery days, especially after the start of my current job, this would have been super-rushed.) I don't remember at all what she had for breakfast, but she didn't want to get dressed immediately. I asked her if she remembered what she'd do today, and she did. "Big girl school!!"

A few minutes later, though, she was saying she wanted to go to nursery. Of all places. I don't quite remember how I deflected that but I did. And then a little while later she was asking to stay home. I was really worried that this would trigger a tantrum, but in the end it didn't. The childminder had asked us to have a book in Sophie's backpack, so I asked her to pick one out and of course she wanted it (a non-Gruffalo book, though still Julia Donaldson) read immediately. I read about half of it and then she accepted the promise of Daddy reading the rest on the tram on the way to school.

(Old routine: something like half an hour's journey, either tram + bus or bus + bus, with a few minutes' walking on either end to get between home and nursery. Temporary post-move routine: single tram ride of 35 minutes plus somewhat longer walk at one end. New routine: 5 minutes walk to tram, 5 minutes on the tram, 3 minutes walk to school. And then in the afternoons, 6 minutes walk from childminder to home. SOOO MUCH NICER.)

8:25 or so - arrival at school. Perfectly fine according to the Daddy report.

5:30 - I pick her up from C (the childminder). The pickup is a fairly common tantrum trigger, just as pickup from nursery often was. After the second full meltdown in a row upon leaving C's last month, I had an email full of concern about the problem and C seems to want to help fix this. So today, as usual, Sophie was all dressed up in her coat when I arrived, and as soon as she started telling me about her day "I played with the guitar!" it turned into the same old routine "Sophie want take the guitar home!" Evidently C had made a deal with Sophie that she wouldn't get upset at hometime and wouldn't ask to take things, but this went out the window. The upset did go as far as half-heartedly hitting me, but I tried to get her to understand that if she took the guitar home then she wouldn't be able to play with it tomorrow (since they aren't allowed to take toys to school, and she gets to C's via school.) Sophie didn't like this but didn't collapse into tantrum. Then she wanted to take a blow-up beach-ball globe home, which was fine with me, but got upset again when I said I would blow it up at home rather than right away. Another swipe at me, more sadness, and then she agreed to be carried. C was trying to help by sort of threatening that a badly-behaved Sophie couldn't come back, which to be honest was a tactic that I object to (plus, hello backfiring!) and so I didn't play along, but I wasn't going to countermand C in front of Sophie. I did intercede enough to say "crying is OK, screaming is not" when C wanted Sophie to not cry. If this happens again I'll have to have a quiet word with C who is otherwise great.

5:45 or so - Walking home, Sophie on my shoulders having declined to walk. She's still sad but recovered enough to converse - Daddy makes tea and it's very hot so she can't drink it. Yes. I ask if she wants hot juice (normal juice with just enough water from the kettle to make it warm) when she gets home and she does.

When we get home, she wants to ride Daddy's scooter (a dicey proposition at the best of times) and I say I don't know how to unfold it (not entirely false - I'm sure I could work it out but in fact I don't know the mechanism already.) She tries to make me try anyway but it doesn't unfold, and I suggest she ride her own scooter. She starts to get upset, and I say something along the lines of "Is it that you don't like feeling tired and it makes you sad, and then you think of something to take the feeling away and I say no and it makes you sad and frustrated?" and she nods her head and the fight goes out of her.

The rest of the evening was reasonably pleasant. Playing, demanding not one but two peanut butter sandwiches, generally being charming, making me pretend to sleep in the big bed with her, and, yes, more Gruffalo's Child.

8:00 - Stories read, she demands a third story (against the rules - two has been the max for a long time) and generally is reluctant to have lights out. She doesn't want to stay in her bed and starts to attack me to get me to let her go to ours, but I just stay there snuggling and she eventually relaxes, and then lets me go.

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