Friday 29 August 2014

Back to school. We Will Survive

FACEBOOK is awash with all things first.  First day in Big School.  First day at Secondary School.  First day at Play School.

Makes a change from the deluge of Ice Bucket Challenges I suppose.

It was a First Day in this house too.  Lovely Liam is shucking off Montessori ties and joining thousands of his contemporaries.  The ones he will be in competition with for college points and gainful employment in the future. 

No, I didn’t say that to him.  I will let him settle in first.

Another first, well, first in two months anyway, was waking them this morning.  True to form, 7.30am was approaching, school bags were packed, pancakes made, uniforms in neat piles but no sign of the gentlemen folk.

Lovely Liam opened his eyes at the sound of the curtains being opened and said “yay!”

So far so good.

The others joined the queue for the bathroom and pancakes before getting dressed, lining up against the wall for the obligatory Back to School Photo TM  and then we were off.

The one who always has something to say kept that up for the 5 kilometre trip.  The one I knew would stare out the window and say nothing did just that.

Lovely Liam remarked, “I hope I learn something new in this place today.”

At the school gate he announced,” I have waited so long for this day.  It’s finally here.”

Yes, it’s finally here.  For me too.  It brings forth many emotions, all of them intent on being the first one to break through.

Will I be able to contain myself and not let out great, big random roars of delight that another child has entered the jungle that is education?

Will I be able to contain myself and not let out great, big random roars of “are you sure you’re okay?” to the child who is stressed at having re-entered the jungle that is education.

Going back to and starting school. It’s both great and shit for the same reasons. 

The uniform makes them all uniform.  Last year people were asking me why my tall four year old wasn’t in school.  This year the uniform makes him blend in nicely with everyone else.  Only one person thought he was the big brother coming in to check on his little one!

There will be something missing on The Big Morning.  A pen, a lunch box, a coat, a shoe, a child.  Don’t wait an hour before school to try on the uniform.   Shirt, tie, jumper, underwear, trousers, shoes and socks.  Put the whole lot on the child at least a week beforehand.  That way no-one will be going to school wearing last year’s trousers because the new one is too long/big/too scratchy.

There may very well be more mammies with wobbly lower lips than kids with wobbly lower lips. 

The first words out of your mouth when you get them all home from the 17 different school runs will be, “stop fighting!”

Your child may have a major meltdown two weeks before the Big Day.  Two days before it or even on the Big Day itself.  This is normal.  This is very normal.  Don’t be surprised if it all starts over the way their bag is packed, the way their trousers sits on their hips or the fact that it is a particular colour.  The trousers, bag or hips are not the problem.  It is an indication that they are struggling internally with the new transition.

When they get home and you ask how their day went, “fine” could mean anything.  On a scale of one to ten it could mean “I hate it and am never going back” to “fine.”  You will just have to do a bit of sly interrogation.

If they turned their nose up at a roast chicken dinner during the holidays, they will lick the plate clean and ask for more on the first day back.  Nothing like a bit of learning to make them hungry.

In other stuff, making school lunches just might be your undoing.  Who doesn’t like butter on their bread?  Which one likes the crusts cut off?  Which one doesn’t like bread?  What about grapes and apples?  Someone can’t eat apples because their teeth are loose and one of them has a thing against yogurts. 

School.  It’s a great invention but you pay for those few hours of peace and quiet when they come home so you do.

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