To have picked my 4 year old up 15 minutes early from school?

(126 Posts)
Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:02:56

I live in the north east, it is extremely snowy today. At lunch time there was abut 4 inches and road completely covered and it was snowing heavily. I live at the top of a large hill at quite high altitude, school is at bottom approx 1 mile away. It is also about -1 today. I do not have a 4x4

I rang the school to ask if I could pick DS up 15 minutes early as I could not get my car out, it was stuck in the snow. Friend who has a 4x4 offered to take me and 2 yr old DD to school to pick up DS. it had to be slightly early as she then had to pick her own child up from a different school.
Receptionist in the phone was fairly rude but agreed I could pick up early.
So I arrive at school with DD and receptionist was v rude to me. Kept going on about how the head was EXTREMELY unhappy with this. I asked what I should have done. Apparently I should have walked with a small toddler. In 4 inches of snow! She told me off like I was a child.
The hilarious thing is that when I got to reception classroom, they were watching telly!
DS has excellent attendance and is doing very well at school. AIBU? I didn't think so...but she was so rude!

TheSecretCervixDNCOP Mon 14-Jan-13 17:07:24

YANBU At all.

I can see her point, if this weather keeps up for the next few weeks and then parents start picking their kids up according to whatever time they can get a lift it will be disruptive for the whole class.

motherofvikings Mon 14-Jan-13 17:12:33

Sorry but I think YBU.

If all 30 children in the class have different times of the day to go home (all at short notice) it makes the teachers life very hard in terms of keeping everyone else on task/ in the right place/ with the right adult etc etc very hard.

Im sure the receptionist could have been more polite but she probably thought YBU too perhaps.

I understand that treking through the snow with a toddler is no fun but it is do-able if a massive pain in the arse!

threesocksmorgan Mon 14-Jan-13 17:13:37


NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 17:15:46

YANBU at my DCs school the last 15 mins were usually wasted spent tidying away and going to the loo. Far better you and your 4yo gets home safe IMHO.

itsatiggerday Mon 14-Jan-13 17:16:43

It's amazing how different the ethos at different schools is. I haven't actually tested it, but I'm fairly certain that ours would have been thoroughly helpful on this and completely collaborative about making sure we were all able to travel safely.

Would they prefer that instead you had dug your car out, possibly got totally stuck and/or slid all over the place and had an accident requiring further delay and been half an hour late for pickup instead after having walked with the baby? I bet they'd have loved to have your child hanging around unplanned when the staff were all wanting to get home before dark in the snow....

I wouldn't feel bad in your shoes and would probably point that out as a reasonably likely alternative if they really want to kick up a fuss tomorrow.

dischordant Mon 14-Jan-13 17:16:54

As a one off the receptionist needs to get a grip. All the time? You'll need to!

PastaDee Mon 14-Jan-13 17:17:10

YANBU. I have left work a bit early due to snow to ensure I can get home and this doesn't seem any different to me.

It is inconvenient for the school but it isn't a regular occurrence. I also think the head should talk to you himself if he is that concerned rather than leave that to the secretary.

coldcupoftea Mon 14-Jan-13 17:17:53

YANBU- I am a TA and 2 kids in our class went home about an hour early for this very reason. No fuss as far as I'm aware, the receptionist just came to the classroom and said their parents were here to collect them. It's not like it snows every day!

jamdonut Mon 14-Jan-13 17:18:28

Were there other people with small children picking up their older offspring?

I don't think anyone went home early from our school today (Yorkshire Coast) and there was similarly a good deal of snow.

The head probably WAS unhappy, because it sets a precedent. Next time more people will ask to take children home early,because they will know you did and got away with it.

So they were watching something on the telly? Probably a video or DVD relevant to what they are learning about at the moment.

I think YABU.

amazingmumof6 Mon 14-Jan-13 17:18:59

ridiculous behaviour from them, like you do this on a daily basis to get your nails done!
maybe from now on you should!grin

I once called the school, that I just can't take the kids to school - snow had melted, the refroze over night, just sheet of ice
I was 6 months pregnant with DS5 and also had pubis symphasis problems and was in pain, so
a, I couldn't have walked on the ice
b, didn't dare to drive

the answer to my explaining the situation was "well it's your decision" like I had a choice!!!!!angry
love the school, love the office ladies, they know me so well, and we have lovely chats etc.. all the more shocked I was at that attitude and I was fuming that they'd have to have an unauthorized absence!

as loads of people couldn't go in, it was ok at the end, but I just couldn't understand the reaction...

people are so pathetic sometimes, sorry she made you feel bad!thanks

longjane Mon 14-Jan-13 17:19:34

what is wrong with walking home from school in snow
great fun on 1st day of snow fall as there is no ice

LemonBreeland Mon 14-Jan-13 17:21:27

YANBU particularly as your child does not legally need to be in school yet.

deleted203 Mon 14-Jan-13 17:22:20

Of course, YANBU. And the poster seriously expecting you to walk a mile up a hill covered in 4 in of snow with a small child is completely ridiculous. For an extra 15 mins of schooling when you are 5? Come on!

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:24:24

I absolutely would have walked home from school if it had just been me and DS. However with a 2 year old DD, impossible. Over two miles in the snow up a massive hill and far too much snow for the pushchair it just wasn't a possibility. She weighs a tonne, I could never have carried her! I literally couldn't get the the car out, so it was either 15 mins early or 4 hours later when DH with a 4x4 gets home from work! The receptionist hadn't even told the class teacher DS would be leaving early so when I trekked over to reception building she had no idea I was coming ( and was not slightest bit bothered)

farewellfarewell Mon 14-Jan-13 17:25:08

Madness, yanbu.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:25:13

Lemon, I nearly said that to her when she was being horrid but I bit my tongue as I did not think it would improve the situation!

WileyRoadRunner Mon 14-Jan-13 17:25:58

How far from the school do you live?

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:26:41

I live a mile from school. We are at the top of a very very large hill. School is at the bottom.

YANBU. Friend of mine (whose DS is in same class) had a set to with the Receptionist this morning, who called her a liar over the contents of a letter. Some of these clerical staff, just like Doctors receptionists, think they are teachers by default!

Friend had great pleasure informing her, actually, that she was right-I still had the letter at home and lent it to her. She got a very lackluster apology.

The thing I feel schools seem to forget now is that, ultimately, they are paid to do the job. We, however, are their parents and we make the final call on their safety, wellbeing, and if you need to get your child early due to the weather, its tough luck to them what they think grin

WileyRoadRunner Mon 14-Jan-13 17:29:31

Sorry see you say about a mile.

I'm torn on this really.... On the face of it YANBU but then again what will you do for the rest of the week if it continues to snow?

Would you keep him off school when you only live "about a mile" away if you can't get a lift to/from everyday?

WorraLiberty Mon 14-Jan-13 17:31:51


She shouldn't have been rude but I understand why she was pissed off.

As someone else said, it's the start of winter...surely you're not going to do this every time it snows?

Pair of wellies and a warm coat for the toddler and away you go. They'll soon get used to it.

Viviennemary Mon 14-Jan-13 17:32:36

YANBU. The school is being ridiculous. They would have found it more inconvenient if you had turned up late or couldn't get there at all because of bad weather. Sometimes you can't win with these people.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:32:39

The roads were particularly bad today and the snow came down so fast I didn't get a chance to move my car from out tiny side road to the Main Street hence it getting stuck. When DH gets home we should be able to drive/push it onto main road and school run will then be doable tomorrow.

DoodlesNoodles Mon 14-Jan-13 17:32:48

Do you really need to ask grin

SallyCinnamonandNutmeg Mon 14-Jan-13 17:33:21

I can understand what a few posters upthread have said about the school perhaps being worried that allowing parents to pick up children early in bad weather may set a precedent which could cause problems....but given that you explained the situation clearly to the school and they agreed to it, I don't think the receptionist was within her rights to be rude to you. It is not her place to be angry with you no matter what her opinion is.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:33:52

I usually notice when it starts to snow and manage to move my car.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:35:50

Well exactly Sally, she already ticked me off over the phone but agreed to it so I was surprised to be lectured again on collection especially as I was really in a hurry!

mrsseed Mon 14-Jan-13 17:39:28

Not enough snow here today, but when there is I use a sledge for toddler, wrapped in blanket...You need a sledge in first place, just saying might be useful next time

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:41:08

Thank you, will consider that but honestly would be nigh on impossible with the hill on the way back home!

WorraLiberty Mon 14-Jan-13 17:41:31

But why are you so reliant on a car?

What would you do if your lost your licence tomorrow...home education?

Cars are nice/convenient but it sounds as though you'r so used to having one, you've forgotten how to function without.

LittleChimneyDroppings Mon 14-Jan-13 17:44:31

YANBU. For the sake of 15 mins at the end of the day. pathetic. If the head had an issue with it he should have brought it up with you himself.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:45:21

I'm reliant on my car because I live in the middle of nowhere with very minimal bus routes. Rural County Durham to be precise. As I said I could ordinarily walk but with a toddler in the snow up a very large hill, well she wouldn't make it!

LuluMai Mon 14-Jan-13 17:47:14

Yabu and car-centric. A two year old can walk in the snow. Never had a car and had a few snowy winters over ds's life. And we lived in a very hilly rural village til ds was two!

amazingmumof6 Mon 14-Jan-13 17:47:39

I think she was cross because you failed to predict the snow and that your car would get stuck, you bad mommy!
my goodness you are disorganized! why were you not better prepared? don't you have your own tow truck & snowplough? and huskies & sleigh? and tons of sea salt?
why don't you have a 4x4? and a boat just in case it floods...... grin grin

and as to people saying walk in the snow with a toddler - even if you could have done, what's wrong with making life a bit easier by accepting a ride from a friend? he's not in prison ffs! and it is a one off!

I think you were sensible and trying to make the best of the situation by calling ahead, I would have done the same!
receptionist is a stupid cow

But it might be 15 minutes at the end of the day and not a big deal to the OP but for the school it might be 50 parents trapsing in and out of school for an hour before home time picking up their kids because they managed to get a lift.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:49:25

Lol, school was actually closed for a day last term for flooding...I was all ready to go in the morning but... ;)

WorraLiberty Mon 14-Jan-13 17:51:07

Fair enough but have you ever thought the reason your 2yr old can't make a simple journey on foot in the snow is because you're perhaps a little too car reliant?

CloudsAndTrees Mon 14-Jan-13 17:52:03

I can see both sides of this. YANBU in the circumstances you describe, but at the same time if everyone else could manage it, I expect you could have too. I very much doubt you are the only parent in reception that has a toddler and doesn't have a 4x4.

If every parent did this, it would be very disruptive, so for that reason, YAB a little U.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:53:45

I'm not sure I'd call a two mile round trip in 4 inch snow in -1, up and down a very steep incline a simple journey. DD is actually a very good and keen walker, this was just a bit beyond her.

SallyCinnamonandNutmeg Mon 14-Jan-13 17:54:29

As you've said you'll be prepared for tomorrow and this was clearly a one off I would try not to worry about it too much. FWIW I have lost count of the number of times school receptionist has been rude or patronising to me (and others) over some minor issue or question. Seems to be part of job description for some of them! wink

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:55:06

I think everyone else has a car that was crucially NOT stuck in the snow. No one walks from the top of my hill to the school.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 17:55:56

Thanks, Sally.

amazingmumof6 Mon 14-Jan-13 17:56:16

worra and others - why are you criticizing/asking op about her use of car? she keeps explaining that for her it would have been quite tricky to do walk in the snow with a 2 year old, why can't you just accept that?

anyway, the point is that after agreeing to this early pick up the receptionist was rude, and that's wrong, not her place to give her opinion!

Gumby Mon 14-Jan-13 17:57:36

Why didn't you get the bus?

MyNameIsLola Mon 14-Jan-13 17:57:54


I've had to pick my middle DS 20 minutes early many times in bad weather as my DS1 goes to a special school miles away and they send the school buses out early if it snows to miss rush hour which means I wouldn't be home to meet it if I was at DS2's school.

I'm in Yorkshire and the snow is pretty bad here too.

amazingmumof6 Mon 14-Jan-13 17:58:16

missy if it is inconvenient for the school, tough cookies.
all emergencies are inconvenient....

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 14-Jan-13 18:00:10

YANBU I pick my dc up early quite frequently (at least once a term) as I make all drs and dentist appointments after school and our school are crap at sending them out on time (they're usually still in assembly) so I ring and grab them at 3 instead of 20past. My school has never been snotty with me over this in fact they're only to happy to help so I'd be quite annoyed in your shoes.

MyNameIsLola Mon 14-Jan-13 18:00:13

And I have a 2 year old who is very used to walking as I don't drive and he struggled a lot in the snow earlier.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 18:00:27

gumby, there are very limited buses here.

YANBU I had a lot of friends who lived on farms, the school would call all their parents and send them on an earlier bus home as only the main roads were cleared. Two of them still had to wait on the main road and get the father to bring the tractor to get home, steep hills and a few miles out of the village. Not fun in snow and girls school shoes are hardly appropriate for snow trekking home in. Didn't happen very often.

libelulle Mon 14-Jan-13 18:02:08

The child is FOUR for gods sake, not sitting his gcses next week. Of course ywnbu. And to the person who said they were likely watching something related to what they were learning- I doubt it! In dead time when they're knackered ours get to watch Charlie and Lola, octonauts etc. and in area my dh is from rural kids sometimes get snowed in for a week or more at a time, school just has to suck it up.

Dinglebert Mon 14-Jan-13 18:02:16

Does the receptionist have children? I don't think people realise how difficult (if not impossible) it is to push a pushchair in the snow. It really doesn't work, especially up a hill because as you push up, you also slide down (as I know to my embarrassment as I got stuck on a hill one day blush).

Beamur Mon 14-Jan-13 18:02:59

YANBU. Storm in a teacup.
I bet they weren't watching anything important either! DD's school often used to let the kids watch a DVD in the afternoons especially when the weather was poor and they couldn't play outside at this age.
Her school is in a location where quite a lot of parents live in fairly remote locations (not everyone can manage to live on the doorstep of even their nearest school) and certainly further away than you could manage on foot, so the school have a pretty relaxed attitude about parents picking kids up early (or even not coming in) when the weather is bad. I had a text from school this morning saying if parents wanted to pick their kids up early that was fine - the school wasn't closed though.

Crinkle77 Mon 14-Jan-13 18:03:04

Don't see what it has got to do with the receptionist. It is not her place to tell parents off

Dinglebert Mon 14-Jan-13 18:03:09

And ... I would comment to one of the teachers about the receptionist. She is there to answer the phone, not to be rude to parents.

SushiPaws Mon 14-Jan-13 18:03:24

As I live in Scotland I think YABU. 4 inches of snow isn't much. A 2yo can walk down the hill to school no problem. Back might have taken you longer but would've been fun all wrapped up.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 18:05:58

It's interesting isn't it? My friend who took us to school whose daughter is in school a few villages away and at a much lower altitude had a text from her school saying that due to the bad weather parents were welcome to collect earlier!

Startail Mon 14-Jan-13 18:09:13

Our HT would much rather everyone arrived and departed safely, than worrying about 15 minutes.

Personally it's generally that we are late because the road is under water, again.

I've certainly run in on the dot of 3.20 put DDs coat on for her and ran down the road before the river rises any more.

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 14-Jan-13 18:09:28

Just how bloody high is this hill you live on the top of?
It's just a bit of snow, we could get a lot worse winter than this, then what would you do?

insanityscratching Mon 14-Jan-13 18:10:06

YANBU I waited until the end of the day but when I got there more than half the school had already gone. Apparently a rumour had gone round Facebook (falsely) that school was closing. I'm not on Facebook and so was oblivious.

A bit of snow is hardly an emergency amazing

Fwiw I have 4 kids, no car and lived out in the back of beyond in NE Scotland for years and coped perfectly well, it is do-able.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 18:13:02

Just incase you haven't read all the posts Ladybeagle, I usually manage by moving the car onto the main road which is usually passable, today I didn't do that and it got stuck!. We've been here 5 years and been snowed in several times, once no one in village without a 4x4 got out for 3 days!

bringonyourwreckingball Mon 14-Jan-13 18:13:11

Our school specifically asks parents not to pick up early when it snows as it's so disruptive for the kids, but they guarantee someone will stay with the kids until parents can get there if the traffic is terrible. But we're not in a rural area. I don't think YWBU in the circumstances - 15 minutes? in reception?? Much better to get home safely as you had the option.

specialsubject Mon 14-Jan-13 18:16:46

doesn't seem a major issue for those 15 minutes.

but a mile walk, hill or not, is nothing unless you are disabled. Correct shoes/boots all round and off you go. Unless the toddler is huge and you are tiny, seems like time for a sledge in the snow and a walk the rest of the time.

ginmakesitallok Mon 14-Jan-13 18:17:08

I am confused - why couldn't your friend have dropped you off on her way to pick up her DC, you wait until home time, pick your child up at normal time and then friend picks you back up on her way home??

thebody Mon 14-Jan-13 18:17:53

Well it's difficult.

I am a reception class TA and some parents see a tiny bit of snow as a major emergency. The same parents who see a lost glove as a financial catastrophe and expect the school to immediately drop everything and hunt for it ( and its always the ones who shout loudest who DON'T BLOODY PUT NAME ON STUFF)

However it's bloody hard pushing a buggy in the snow and your child is 4..

At our school we wouldn't have made too much of a fuss as a one off but think you may need to just get in with it as we could have snow for months. It's happened before..

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 18:19:03

Thanks for all the replies. Was just a bit shocked to be lectured like a naughty child but didn't think I really deserved it.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 18:21:16

Gin, my friend lives several villages away. We are not on her way home. Also her car does not fit 3 child seats in the back so this wasn't an option.

jchocchip Mon 14-Jan-13 18:23:32

I remember buying a sledge on the way home and letting ds and dd1 take turns pulling dd2 home. Had to abandon car at garden centre as roads not gritted and unsafe. YANBU picking up early if you had a lift, but it could be made fun if you have plenty of time and the snow isn't too slushy and appropriate clothes. Living at the top of the hill makes it harder though...

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 18:23:55

The body, this is definitely NOT me. DS has all items named and had hood ripped off coat last term. I did not complain! In case it matter, he is also never late and always picked up on time, completes his homework and is otherwise a model student wink

Delalakis Mon 14-Jan-13 18:24:12

YANBU. Surely schools in that area should be used to this type of problem. I'm equally sure that they will be quick enough to close without considering parents' convenience if the teachers have similar problems in getting int.

snowybrrr Mon 14-Jan-13 18:25:32

YANBU.Next time see if they are happy to be stuck with your kid all night!

Indith Mon 14-Jan-13 18:26:42

I live in the NE too. Of course different areas have had different amounts of snow so it may well be a lot worse where you are. Anyway, we had heavy snow for a large part of the day, there is a fair bit on the ground. I too live around a mile from school but we don't tend to use the car at all if we can help it. WE walk. So I walked to school today with a 10 month old baby in a sling and my 4 year old to collect the 6 year old. I took the sledge so I could pull the children if they were tired and in the playground all the parents were talking about how daft it was that another school in the area had sent all the children home early for a bit of snow grin.

Seriously, a mile is not far, walking would have been fine.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SallyCinnamonandNutmeg Mon 14-Jan-13 18:34:14

Whether or not OP COULD have made the trek down dale and up hill in 4 inches of snow with toddler/pushchair/ sledge/ songs and games on the way if she had had no other choice does not change the fact that the school - happily or unhappily -had agreed to let her come and pick up her child early and therefore in my opinion the receptionist was out of order and unprofessional to then tell her off about it!

thebody Mon 14-Jan-13 18:40:51

Oh hands so sorry wasn't meaning that you are one of those parents at all.. Just trying to explain the different types of parent and reactions from them to the school and visa versa.

As I said in my post its hard pushing a buggy up a hill, but added that if snow continues then you may need to do so.

Sorry if I offended you and to add the receptionist should never be rude, ours never are.

Zavi Mon 14-Jan-13 18:42:25


Under the circumstances what you did was very sensible.

I don't agree with others who think that its OK for a 2 yr old to walk a mile, uphill, in 4" of snow after a school day hmm. You would have ended up carrying him, possibly slipping in the process.

I would speak to the head, letting them know that Receptionist told you the head was extremely unhappy. Don't forget to mention to head that kids were watching telly when you picked you DS up wink

SeeBoobies Mon 14-Jan-13 18:42:48

Why is everyone being so judgemental? My town is on a very steep hill and there is no way a two year old could make it in snow. I doubt my 3 year old DD would make it.

CremeEggThief Mon 14-Jan-13 18:44:43

YANBU, OP. Also in County Durham, although not as rural as you, and a 1.5 mile walk in snowboots to pick up my 10 year old was plenty for me. We got the bus home grin (I know you don't have that option).

gobbin Mon 14-Jan-13 18:49:29

Ideal opportunity to get the sledge out and get pulling that toddler down the hill to school with a bit of fun on the way back. An opportunity missed, with a pile of whinging to boot. Get a grip!

In the big snows down here a couple of yrs ago many of us had to walk over a mile into the village for basic foodstuffs, never mind school. All the Close pulled together and I did my bit walking down with the sledge and bringing back food for self and others. My son thought it was great fun!

Waswondering Mon 14-Jan-13 18:50:04


I live in Aberdeen and at our school if it's really snowy, school formally starts at 0930 (but you can drop before). No child gets marked down for being late - we get a text reminding us of that and saying 'travel safely'. It almost never closes in snow - has to be REALLY bad. At the end of the day you can take your child whenever - P1 finishes earlier than the other classes, but all older siblings get sent home with the youngest.

We have a large catchment, it's hilly, and there are all sorts of reasons why it's good to let children away a little early - not least to relieve pressure on the car park.

I really can't see why 15 m would have been an issue to your school today ....

(NB it's been snowing heavily here since 3 pm .... Just in time for the school run! Wonder if tomorrow will be a walking day ... Chance to try out Christmas yaktrax!)

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 18:50:09

Sadly a mouse ate my snow boots but my mum bought me some of those crampon thingies that go over your wellies. Ill give them a whirl tomorrow grin

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LemonBreeland Mon 14-Jan-13 18:58:57

Well I said YANBU originally. And funnily enough from your description in your OP I was picturing Co Durham. DB lives there and my Mum lives 10 mins away in Tyne & Wear. If my Mum has a cm of snow DB will have at least a foot.

Definitely YANBU.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 19:00:11


BelieveInPink Mon 14-Jan-13 19:10:35

One mile?

Get a fucking grip.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 19:16:33

Not sure there's need for that language [sceptical]

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 19:17:35

Haha! Try again hmm

sherazade Mon 14-Jan-13 19:23:05

YANBU. school teacher of four year olds here!

A girl in my class, who I know comes from an area where it was snowing went home 15 minutes earlier today. I noticed her mum hanging around in the foyer early so i sent my TA to ask her if she wanted to take her dd home early. she said she did but hadn't wanted to disrupt the lesson. I know she has 3 older dc in other schools and probably needed the extra time. It didn't disrupt my 'lesson' ( we were practising our assembly!) in the slightest. So speaking as a teacher... yanbu.

As a parent,I would have loved that walk in the snow with my child!

I wont expect that the girl would go home early everyday though but with it being the first day of snow I was happy to make the exception.

Could you not have waited the 15 mins in reception for your DS to finish? It's not as if it's an hour...

I think YABU a little but the receptionist shouldn't have been rude to you.

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Mon 14-Jan-13 19:28:22

I think it is totally understandable. School should care more about the safety of their pupils, not whether it inconveniences them. Used to be if it snowed school let out early so that it was safer for parents to pick up.

I do wonder though with the increase in snow in the UK if motorists are going to start carrying chains/cables for their car like they do here. It does make a big difference even though it is a thorough PITN. When I go to snowy places I also add a small fold up shovel and a bag of cat litter to my emergency kit in case we get stuck. Also households store small bags of de-icer and/or grit so they can get out of their drive/street if they get stuck. Does anyone do that in the UK? Even fireplace ashes work (although they are a bit messy) when sprinkled on the snow to give traction. Also those yaktracks or whatever they are called, the pull on traction thingies for shoes.

I remember one winter I was working as a nanny and we had a couple of snows that lasted over night. The buggy was useless on the walk to school so I used a sled from the garage with a blanket for my LO and pulled her to school because she was having a hard time walking and I didn't want to drive in the muck. I doubt I would have walked for more than a mile each way and not up or down a really steep hill though.

mummytotwins Mon 14-Jan-13 19:28:27

Yanbu! I collected my dts half hour early before Christmas as we won tickets to the cbeebies panto and it was going to take a while to travel there, I spoke to the head and she said they were my children and i could collect them when I wanted!

Some very judgemental posters on here!

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 19:33:13

Maybe I should look into snow chains. It's probably worth doing purely for the fact that if I buy something for cold weather, it doesn't snow at all for the rest of the winter-sods law. Like when DH bought his land rover or when we got a special heater to keep the boiler outflow from freezing!

cakebar Mon 14-Jan-13 19:33:15

Toddler needs to go in a sling on your back and/or a sledge and it would be fine. You need to be prepared for snow. I hate driving in these kind of conditions and am far more likely to walk then try and drive it.

twofalls Mon 14-Jan-13 19:39:48

Well when dd1 was 2 she would have only been walking for 4 months and was very unsteady on her feet. A mile up a hill in 4 inches of snow would have been too much for her. Dd2 would do it all at a run and enjoy every second.

But honestly, this is judgey-pants mn at its best. I hate all this "oh we trekked 5 miles across the city in a blizzard with 3 kids strapped to our backs"stuff. It was 15 minutes. The child is 4. Other teachers have said its not a problem.


But these threads always attract the

Indith Mon 14-Jan-13 19:40:39

You can't use chains unless there is thick snow over the whole road, they are pointless here!

The crampons for you boots will help lots. Use a sling or sledge for the toddler.

Winter is cold. Often there is ice. Sometimes snow. Everyone needs the correct clothing. A mile, even with a hill, really shouldn't be an issue unless you have a medical condition you;ve not mentioned.

simplesusan Mon 14-Jan-13 19:41:16

I think what you did was perfectly reasonable. You had the chance of a lift and your 4 year old missed the last 15mins of school. That won't affect him.

great tip about cat litter, I never thought of that!

fluffypillow Mon 14-Jan-13 19:47:16 all.

Hanspannerly Mon 14-Jan-13 19:49:22

I couldn't sling DD, she weighs a tonne. In the summer I managed to carry her on a walk and it nearly killed me, she's a lot fatter since then! Will get a sledge though.

EssieW Mon 14-Jan-13 19:51:56

YABU. What are you going to do another time when your neighbour can't help you? A mile is not that far. Do you usually drive?

I have a 3 year old who managed precisely that level of walk today in similar snow conditions. She would have managed it at 2 as well. She had already walked twice today already.

You do need a sledge if you think walking is out of hte question.

JustAHolyFool Mon 14-Jan-13 19:52:37


I grew up in NE Scotland, we had way more snow than this at least twice a year and we were never picked up early, nor was anyone else.

iwantanafternoonnap Mon 14-Jan-13 19:53:44

Next time just ask the Head Teacher to come and have a word with you directly and that you are not going to be spoken to like that by someone (receptionist) who has no say whatsoever in your childs education.

YWNBU the receptionist however was.

indith the hill near my mums is extremely difficult to walk up in snow and ice and so I dont agree that it shouldn't be an issue.

Hemlet Mon 14-Jan-13 19:54:54

I'm amazed how many posters think they know the circumstances surrounding your area and the snow better than you do. Unless they're your next door neighbours I think it's remarkably daft to tell you to 'get a grip' and 'it's only a mile'.

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Mon 14-Jan-13 19:58:37

They use chains on light snow here if they think it is warranted. Often you just have to carry them in case it gets worse.

newNN Mon 14-Jan-13 20:02:11

I think you should have told the receptionist to wind her neck in. You should not accept being told off like a naughty child. In the end, this really has very little to do with the receptionist and if she cannot manage to be polite to the parents, then she is failing in a crucial aspect of her job.

If the head is not happy, then perhaps he/she should get their arse out of the office and speak to you directly - it really isn't the place of the receptionist to lecture you.

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Mon 14-Jan-13 20:07:08

sled, sled, not sledge.


sorry, needed to get that out.

I extended slung my kid, first a regular sling and then a back carry one, if you can give your kid a piggy back then you can sling, just need the right one! In fact if you can piggy back then slinging is easier if you get it right.

That said, there is no way I'd sling an older (heavier) child in slippery weather. Asking for both of you to take a tumble.

I'm not sure why though even if she could walk she should. She had a safe way to school and home, environmentally pretty friendly as they were car pooling and all the !!4!! year old would miss would be 15 minutes of TV for goodness sake!

Squeakygate Mon 14-Jan-13 20:10:29

The obvious answer to me, would have been, accept lift from friend to school. Take appropriate things for ds and a change for 2year od to change into.
Wait for school to finish & have leisurely fun walk back in snow.
Ive done the exact thing with a baby in sling. Yes it was hilly, steep and coldish but dc1 & 2 talk about it now. Dc were 4,2 & a baby.
But seriously, 15 mins isnt going to matter. Sounds like the receptionist having a sound off at you.

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Mon 14-Jan-13 20:10:48

ok I take back the sledge thing and acknowledge it is my American not English side coming out. It still sounds wrong and rankles but it is me not you.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Mon 14-Jan-13 20:14:34

Yanbu our school shut at 2 (east yorks) the difference in roads on way there and back was amazing, my car really struggled to get back up a hill. Thank god they shut early!

Seriously... It's just a bit of snow. If everyone did what you did, especially if we were to end up with 10 weeks of snow/ice again this winter, it would be beyond disruptive. Life goes on when there's a wee bit of snow. I just don't get why so many places grind to a halt with a few inches of snow. Grow up in the north of Scotland, or parts of mainland Europe, and you just get on with it, I'm afraid...

charlottehere Mon 14-Jan-13 20:16:57

YANBU I have done similar myself. Personally I wouldnt ask if it was ok but tell them what you are doing.

SeeBoobies Mon 14-Jan-13 20:43:22

Good grief - to all those saying it's just a bit of snow, only a mile, get on with it - have you all missed the bit about it being a steep hill? Do you truly think a two year old could make it? I presume you've all seen this hill because you all sound very well informed.

Idocrazythings Mon 14-Jan-13 21:13:38

I think YANBU. She's four!! School is not even compulsory yet!

marquesas Mon 14-Jan-13 21:33:58

Sometimes I wonder if I live in a parallel universe to posters on here - would you all really have turned down the friend's offer of a lift? There aren't any prizes for making your life hard you know, who would drag a small child up and own a snowy hill when a lift was on offer. I think I can categorically say that I don't know an actual real person who would have walked.

Most of you are bonkers, OP - YANBU grin

Idocrazythings Mon 14-Jan-13 21:48:06

Phew; I feel relieved by reading your post marq I was starting to think maybe I have a bad work ethic…

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 14-Jan-13 21:56:26

YANBU. Sil had a text from school today saying parents were welcome to collect early as weather conditions were getting worse Snd pavements were treacherous. Sil walks but has a back condition

I rember at 6th form keeping my eye in travel reports with regards to if they took the buses off S I much preferred a 1 mile walk to my mums workplace than a 3 mile walk home.

It's about assessing the conditions. Much better to collect early than for a child to he stranded at school.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 14-Jan-13 21:57:21

Have to say as well that I am asthmatic.

TheFallenNinja Mon 14-Jan-13 21:58:23

School receptionists, like Doctors receptionists should simply be ignored. If the head wasn't happy, the head should have said no.

Jengnr Mon 14-Jan-13 22:19:34

Not at all. You ought to complain about the receptionist's behaviour as well.

Whether she agrees with decisions made or not she has no right to be rude to you and if the head has strong feelings about the subject they ought to discuss it with you themselves. Also politely.

LiegeAndLief Mon 14-Jan-13 22:23:52

Ha ha am loving all these posters who are incredulous that your 2yo couldn't manage a simple little two mile walk up and down a very steep hill in 4 inches of snow. Honestly, what kind of lazy incapable child have you bred? grin

We had a lot of heavy snow here when ds was 3.5. We don't live on a hill. I wasn't taking the car out much because of the snow so we walked a lot and he fell over constantly. Literally every few steps. I mostly had him on the buggy board, which meant ploughing through the snow as the wheels wouldn't turn. Clearly he is some sort of physical mutant, or maybe I should have taken him to Lapland as a toddler and taken him out hiking to get him used to the snow.

OP, YANBU. Possibly receptionist on a power trip, or had got a bollocking from the head over it so was passing it on to you.

dayshiftdoris Mon 14-Jan-13 22:35:06

I picked up early... the roads were bloody awful my end of town as they hadn't been gritted - school were a bit hmm and I understood why because their end of town was better and the roads clear...

However I was sliding all over the place on the main roads near me - no wonder as I saw the gritter on my way to collecting my son... these roads are often not gritted as the flow of traffic keeps them clear but that failed today.

Felt terrible actually.... until I slid into my side road off the main road then figured that I had made the right decision.

Friend with 4x4 helping me tomorrow smile

We live 3 miles from school so a walk is not out of the question though i need to warn my son in advance - which I have now

Yfronts Mon 14-Jan-13 22:39:03

YANBU. My school would have been much more receptive and supportive in such a situation. In our school they ring the parents if there is snow - we live ruraly and it's very easy to get stranded/stuck. The school will always have to close as it's pupils/staff live up to 5 miles away.

My own 25 month old couldn't walk 2 miles in 4 inch snow. As a matter of fact it would take about 1.5 hours to walk to miles on a sunny day!

Yfronts Mon 14-Jan-13 22:40:38

I think you should write to the school and explain how rude you found the receptionist

gobbin Mon 14-Jan-13 23:27:09

Keep a sledge in your garage/shed/loft/wherever peeps! Usefully useful things, esp for snow fun!

Distinct lack of true British grit on this thread... clearly all been used on the roads lol!

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