Friday, 24 June 2016

Starting Big School. Check List With a Difference

Disclaimer: I am not an expert.  In anything.  Lookit, I still can’t tell if it’s chocolate or………………..something else.   I thought I might take this opportunity to point out a few things that may or may not be pertinent to you now that your 4 or 5-year-old is starting big school.  I’ve been there a few times.  This August 28th will see my fourth boy march (he’d better!) through those gates.     It might be my fourth time around this particular block but I am very confident that he will do something new to add to this list.  In other words, if my child hasn’t done it, yours probably will.  And vice versa.

They will be excited and terrified at the same time.   I know you will be too, but this is a big deal.  In every way.   They think they know it all but really have no idea what to expect.  Montessori is a different animal.    And oftentimes their Monti mates will go to another school entirely.  So instead of seeing their Best Bud’s face on the first morning of Big School, they see 28 Totally Different And Strange Faces.   Cue panic and complete discombobulation.   And in the event that all of their Monti mates are in the same class sometimes that excitement is too much to handle and they burst into tears.    Emotions are big and they’re high.  Our kids are little and can only process so much in a short space of time.         

The wearing of the uniform 24/7.  This is a Big Deal.   A Very Big Deal and they will become surprisingly attached to that expensive new school jumper and refuse to take it off.  Don’t worry about it.  Go with the flow because precisely one week later they won’t want to put the damn thing on. Suddenly it will have become too scratchy/hot/tight/boring/something.  

Homework rules.  So you thought “are we there yet?” was the most annoying question, did you?  Get ready for the homework one.     When they get wind of the fact that Teacher will be dishing out homework in a few weeks, they will have you tormented asking when are they getting homework.   Be prepared for them to come out of the place with a face like thunder because they didn’t get it today. Again!    

They will want to do all of the homework.  Finally, the day arrives when they have some homework to complete.   See the joy on their little faces.  This makes them feel like the Big Kids, see? It doesn’t matter that it is a page of colouring with perhaps a blue sticker to place on the blue square, it’s homework time and their excitement will know no bounds. Literally.   I pity the fool who tries to stop them from completing the next dozen pages in their homework colouring book.   Go on – I double dare you!

They can’t handle the truth.  “Mary/Billy/Joe/Sally down the back ate their lunch/pinched them/has 47 dogs/lives in Spain at the weekend/hates them/knows Beyoncé/one of their parents plays for *insert football team here*/knows how to drive a car/stole their pencil/stabbed them with a crayon/drew on their face/tripped them up/and said they can’t come to their birthday party next year.   Be prepared for all of the meltdowns!

Reading.  Words like “this” “that” “there” and “then” will swim before your eyes.    Trying to get a 6-year-old to grasp how “ing” at the end of a word works will have you slugging wine at 5pm of an evening.    Biff, Chip, Kipper, Floppy, Mum and Dad will break you.   Be warned.  Be very warned, it is highly likely your child will go into school one of the days and “pram” becomes, “fucking pram.  It’s fucking pram!”   *Thanks Dolores*

They will be exhausted.  Watch how they fight like WWF champions not to go to bed.   That’s if they don’t fall asleep in the car on the way home after their first morning – like my oldest did.  They won’t be able to keep their eyes open.   After they talk incessantly about the best day in their life and talk about all the friends they made, their speech will slow down and eyes will droop.   Scoop them up and tuck them into their bed.   

Teacher doesn’t do it like that. Duh!   Once upon a time you enjoyed being All Knowing.   All of that’s changed now there’s a new figure of authority in town.  Teacher.   You will be compared and contrasted to Teacher and come up seriously lacking.  Contempt, scorn and utter derision will emanate from your child.   You know nothing, Jon Snow.

Lost and found.  When you spend a small fortune on your child’s uniform and they (a) lose it (b) rip the knees/elbows out of it in the first term (c) take home someone else’s.   The jumper with the crest might be mandatory but it’s Tesco and Dunnes Stores all the way for the rest.  

Miscellaneous.   The man and lady teachers are all married to each other.  Because they are!   The teachers do so live in the school.   Start collecting jam jars/shoe boxes/toilet roll tubes now.  Your child will come home with a teddy bear of some description for the weekend.  This bear will accompany you everywhere.   You will be required to take pictures and keep a diary.      There will also be dress up days, sports days, sponsored days, book fair days, cake sale days, immunisation days, birthday party days, chicken pox and vomity virus days that stretch into weeks, no homework days, tin whistles, school tours, swimming, look I’ll just leave it here, shall I?   

You have entered another zone.  One that is inevitable and wonderful and scary and annoying and unavoidable.   Suck it up has never applied so much before. 

Is misé le meas

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