Everyday dilemmas

What would you do if this happens:  you are with a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old in your house, you walk into the garden to put something in the bin, the 4-year-old rushes out of the house after you pulling the door firmly shut behind him, leaving the 2-year-old inside?  This happened to me the other day.

Imagine the alarm bells suddenly going off in my head.  At the same time, my heart lurched, my stomach twisted, my brain froze.   Instantly I knew I had no door key outside, no phone outside, and all the possible entry points into the house were secured in order to stop people from breaking in unauthorised!   I visualised the 2-year-old alone in the house, getting scared, starting to scream, falling and hitting her head.

I was in SoS mode with no method of sending up a flare:  a friend has a spare key, but I knew she was at work, also I didn’t remember her phone number, and if I could have remembered it, I didn’t have a phone.  

I felt stumped and a little panic stricken especially as I couldn’t immediately see the 2-year old inside.  To calm myself I asked the 4-year-old what we could do.  He looked as baffled as I felt. 

Telling myself firmly to calm down, breathe consciously, get a grip. (Look at the Smiling Mind app for great activities to help), I tapped on the window and shouted through to Miss Aged-2,  ‘Come and open the door, we can’t get in’.  I had no idea whether a) she could reach the handle  b) whether she’d be able to pull it down. 

I saw her starting to make her way across the room to the front door.  For a second, I stopped breathing calmly, on tenterhooks to see what she would do next.  Encouragingly, I called through the window again, ‘Let’s see if you can reach the front door handle and pull it down.’   A couple of agonising moments later she did.  We were in again!  I seized and pocketed my keys and phone.   Vowing never to leave the house, even for a second, without them.

What I’ve learned from this: My vow may not be easy to keep, so now I’ve ordered a key lock box, so I have a key available immediately outside the house at all times. (It arrives today, ordered the same evening as the incident).  In the lock box will also go phone numbers of people to contact in an emergency. 

This type of ‘what would you do?’ everyday dilemma seems to have been acute this past week.  Among others, I’ve had – helping daughter choose a nursery class/primary school, whether or not to accept a neighbour’s – lower than wanted – offer for a Stihl petrol hedge trimmer,  whether to publicly defend my GP, in his patient Q & A session, for being berated by irate patients on too low practice staffing levels, whether to send some friends, with no recourse to public funds, cash or supermarket vouchers,  what would be the best way of getting from A to B when arriving at the tube station to find ‘severe delays and disruption’, whether or not to accept a request for a work assignment, and should I get a second beehive? Two of these, in more detail:

On the nursery class/primary school, I’ve been to the two possibles.  It’s the telling detail that gives me the ‘character’ of the school and potentially sways me in one direction or another. For example, school 1 you go into the school office reception area (no bell to ring, just walk in).  It has two big kentia palms, 3 blue sofas, a big round rug printed with pictures of faces with various expressions, and children’s artwork on the walls.  School 2 you ring a doorbell, noticing that on the door is says ‘Only one person allowed in the school office at a time’, there are no plants, rugs, sofas, or artwork.  There is a turnstile gate into the school which is for ‘badge-holders only’.   In school 1 everyone (including children) calls the nursery class staff by their given names.  In school 2 the teachers are called by their title and family name.  In school 1 there is no uniform for nursery class children.  In school 2 they all have to wear the uniform.  I could continue with this list, but you’ll get the idea.  What you see seems to tell you what you’ll get.  

What I’ve learned from this is the power of ‘the telling detail’ a phrase I came across, also last week, in the City Lit writing class I’m taking.  As I go into the two schools I am looking for more of these details that can help me form a view on why I think school 1 or school 2 would be more suitable for my grandchildren. 

I was trying to get from A to B.  I arrived in plenty of time at the tube station to make my way to the mainline station for the train.  The tubes were ‘severely delayed’.  Not unusual, but sometimes they unclog quickly.  I phoned the person meeting me at my final destination to update him and decided to wait, for a bit, while I worked out alternative routes, bus, overground station, give up, etc.

After 15 or so mins a tube arrived, but not the branch I wanted.  I decided not to get on it reckoning that if one had arrived the next one might come soonish (and the next one was indicated as the branch I needed).  To cut a long story short:  eventually, I went one tube stop on the incorrect branch line (a second train arrived) to get a connecting bus to the overground station to get one of the frequent trains from there, which would take me to the mainline.  Foolishly, I hadn’t checked their availability while I was fuming at the tube disruption.

At the bus stop, I checked and discovered that the overgrounds were cancelled.  At that point I did give up, crossed the road to the shop opposite and bought a Solero ice cream.  This had a similarly calming and regrouping effect, to the Smiling Mind activities, mentioned earlier!  

My brain cooled, I walked back to the tube station and 2-minutes later the branch line tube I originally wanted arrived – there’d been a miraculous unclogging of ‘severe delays’, and I got to the mainline station in time to get the train I’d hoped I would make if I missed the earlier one (which I did).

What I’ve learned from this:  always get on the first thing moving in the general direction I want to go in.   I knew this already but ignored myself telling me it, because I didn’t want to be stuck on the tube between stations, not knowing how long I might be marooned in the tunnel.   The other thing – I’m still learning is not to get agitated if I think I’m going to miss a deadline or commitment or train.  I’m still not good enough at managing agitation levels down.  (More on this topic next week).

How do everyday dilemmas show up for you?  Let me know.

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