As well as chief cook and bottle-washer, another of my roles in this job is 'bodyguard'. This does not involve singing that song where each word has about ten syllables, and I almost never think about Kevin Costner anymore (although I had a long, involved fantasy about him after he appeared in Dances With Wolves, which came out when I was 9, and lasted until Jordan Catalano came into my life 4 years later).
I have to take the dog with me when I do the school run. And the ipod, otherwise I would be at risk of enjoying the silence of nature. Then I wait on a patch of grass while the dog rolls around slobbering. After a while (about four or five songs) the Little One comes up the steps from school accompanied by her rather worldly classmate. I put the ipod away, greet the girls and they tell me little bits about their day at school. Then we proceed to walk home. I walk behind with the dog, and the two girls walk in front of me chatting about their substitute teacher, the boy who has a foster mum, whether they like Amanda (usually), how much candy they won during class for answering questions correctly (yes, really!) and possibly a trillion other inanities of school life. I don't know any more because by the time we have reached the pedestrian crossing I am fully immersed in my role as bodyguard and start wondering why I left my mirrored shades at home.
The classmate would be walking home alone, if it wasn't for me being provided as courtesy escort. So every day I get the overwhelming feeling, as I follow these two giggling pre-teens, that I am nothing more than a bodyguard. One who walks at a discreet distance while trying to keep up, having to stop to pick up poop once in a while.
Having to take the dog really ruins my image.