Yesterday I had to take Emi for a health check-up (lungs and heart, seeing and hearing). In Japan, there are a few times throughout childhood where the state offers free check-ups (yeah for socialized medicine). But the exciting part was that it would be held at the elementary school. I think I mentioned this before but Emi cannot wait to go to elementary school so she was thrilled. I, on the other hand, was a little bit less thrilled. As interested as I was at finally seeing the inside of the elementary school, it turns out that at the exact time I was supposed to be with Emi at the check-up, Chikara will be at work, Misaki will need to be picked-up from the bus and Sakura & Natsuki should be having a nap (which means they'll be cranky). This is one of those moments where I think that having only one kid would've been wiser. But it's too late for those kinds of thoughts so now I have to decide how to manage everyone's schedules.
After much deliberation I decide that Sakura will have an early (and short) nap and Natsuki will nurse right before we go and hopefully be distracted enough by what's going on to not cry. As for Misaki, I just pray that the check-up goes quickly so I can get to her in time or else they'll bring her back to the pre-school and we'll all have to walk over there to get her.
Everything went as planned until it was time to go get Misaki and Emi was still in the middle of her check-up. My friend, whose son is the same age as Emi, offered to finish Emi's check-up with her while I went to get Misaki so I push the double stroller with Sakura & Natsuki the few blocks to the bus stop and get Misaki. Once we got back to the school Emi had just finished and was coming out of the school! I had missed all the fun stuff!!!
OK, it's fine, I worked really hard and everyone did what they were supposed to do so I'm happy. Let's go home! At this both Emi & Misaki burst into tears. I always wonder at this point if it's OK for me to burst into tears, too. They want to stay and play at the school. After I explain why we can't do this they burst into tears again. This time it's because they want to ride on my friend's bicycles instead of walking home (3 blocks - it's not going to kill them). My friend's kids are already riding so I explain that there's no room so too bad. At this point, my friends make their own kids get off the bicycles and help my whiny, selfish girls up onto the kid's seats on their bicycles (reason: because they're so cute). Usually I would not let this happen but I've had enough for the day and my friends wouldn't understand anyways. In Japan, if your kids are crying, you give in so they'll stop.
I was happy to get home but I have to say that it was precious to see Emi at the elementary school. The other kids we know have older siblings at the school so they ran around and played but Emi stayed pretty close to me and watched everything that was going on. As we were about to go in, she warned me that we had to pay money (no we don't) so was I prepared for that (I said no!). When we got home I asked her about what she thought and she said she was disappointed that she didn't get to see her classroom and also that there were some crazy kids but she could "tolerate" them because she saw some nice kids there, too. What a monkey!
Next year will be interesting. It's really the first test of our parenting skills. Will Emi remember all the things we've taught her and follow them if she comes under peer pressure (from the "crazy kids")? I hope so.