This year my girl is on a higher floor. Her books have increased in numbers. There is about half a dozen books for each subject. So we are facing a school bag dilemma.
In the first two years, it was easy. We got her a trolley bag. Since she was on the ground floor that was not a problem. She is still using the same school bag. The bag has removable trolleys so we can switch between trolley and backpack.
My girl said that she would try both trolley as well as backpack to see which was easier to handle.
On the first day, she tried trolley. That was not a problem because there were no books. She came home with her timetable that day. When she was packing her bags for the next day, I took out several workbooks.
As I mentioned, each subject has about 5 or 6 books, 1 textbook, 1 activity book and several workbooks. Oh, and I forgot, exercise books. Each subject has several exercise books being used at the same time too. Since it was only the 2nd day or so I thought, I took out all the workbooks and asked her to bring only the textbook and activity book. In the end, she had extra homework because she could not do some work in school because she did not have the books with them. “Mummy, I have extra homework now because you asked me not to bring the books. Luckily teacher didn’t scold me.”
She dragged her trolley bag up and down the stairs on the 2nd day.
On the 3rd day, having learned a lesson from the 2nd day, we decided to bring all the books for all the subjects required. That made the bag very very heavy. “Mummy, my bag feels like the middle of school, not the start of school” . It didn’t look possible to drag the trolley bag up and down the stairs with such weight.
We tried it at home. We tried carrying it by the handle. It was too heavy. I think the strap is going to give way soon as it looks thin and frayed by now. So we tried carrying it by the trolley handle. It was too heavy. We tried dragging it. It was too heavy. We tried carrying it on our backs. It was too heavy. Even for an adult. At one point the girl said “I found the answer. This is so light. She carried it in front of her by hugging the bag close to her body.” She was right. It felt the lightest that way but it would mean her bending and lifting that weight up daily which is a no-no.
Finally we took out the trolleys, split the books into another back and told the girl to carry it as a backpack with another smaller hand carried bag to ease the weight off her back. So on the 3rd day, it was backpack with another smaller hand carried bag.
When we went to pick her up after school, she was walking slowly, rubbing her neck and saying “Mummy, my neck very very pain.”
Yesterday, she had BM class. The BM teacher has told them which books to bring on which day. That eases some of the bag load. So today, the 4th day, it is back to the trolleys and dragging it up and down the stairs. She showed me how she was going to do it last night. “Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.” she went up and down the stairs. She has to do it fast as well. There are many kids going up and down the stairs. There is no way she can walk slowly and carefully, hold on to the handrails and carry the bag up carefully step by step.
The other day when we were at school, we stood at the bottom of the staircase and observed the kids. Some of them did this Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang technique. Others carried the loads on their backs doubled over like some grannny. One mum mentioned that she had seen some kids throw the bag down the stairs before running down. I can’t imagine what will happen if that load hits another kid. Another mum, bought extra books for her child to leave in the school so he can have a set at home and a set in school. In the end, I received her hand me down extras. They look brand new, obviously not used very much. I don’t think that is the answer as it causes confusion for the child who may forget to bring homework back home and forget to bring completed work to school.
My girl does not have a locker in school. She is advised to leave her books behind in her desk. However she is reluctant to do that. “Mummy, if I do that, I may forget to bring the book home if I have homework and I will get scolded.”
My girl is tall but she is thin. Some of the other mothers who have small sized girls, shared with me their worry that the bag will topple their girls over at the stairs.
As at the point of writing, we have not resolved our school bag dilemma but for today, it is Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang.