On My Daughter Starting School and the Other Things

img_9513“….and if someone is mean to you, or doesn’t want to play with you then..well… fuck them!”
“Mummy!! Fuck is a bad word!”


*Warning: Do not read if you have a child starting school this September, may appear a light and retable post, but may also provoke further anxiety. Up to you. 


Late to the Party
The Fear
Your Child will be Fine 
Getting Some Perspective 
All the Other Things
Growing Up
Bad Mummy Pep Talks 


Late to the Party
It is 21:35 and I have just completed an order for Maia’s sew-in name labels. I am a little late to the party, they should have been ordered and sewn in weeks ago, but no, labelling her clothing slipped my anxious mind. A semi-permanent marker will have to suffice for her first few days. Then I’ll have to find a needle and thread. Or pay Grandma.

Me: “What do you think?” (Presenting my laptop to my Dad in the kitchen).
…Long pause…

Me again: “..Do you know what you’re looking at?”

Dad: “No..”

Me, agitated, isn’t it obvious?!: “Maia’s customised name label, what do you think? Is the font okay? Can you read it? Is it clear?”

Dad:“What? Oh..yes it’s clear..”
Me: …“Great”
___

The Fear

She starts school in less than 48 hours. The fact I am even mentioning “hours” gives you a slight indication of how I am currently feeling.

See, at the beginning of the summer, I did not anticipate quite so many feelings. I have a lot of feelings at the moment. Good ones mainly, but in amongst all the good, there is just a fuck load of F E A R. I think it’s fear/excitement, it can be hard to distinguish between the two on such occasions. (You know, occasions like performing on stage, child birth, getting married…though must say I have not experienced that last one..).

Things are changing, and whilst that is a very good thing, the two of us are moving forward, growing up, etc etc, life is progressing as it should..it does not take away THE FEAR.

Of course I’ve attempted to rationalise my concerns…

It’s only a few more hours than nursery, it’s the same idea. Get up, have breakfast etc, leave, drop off, do my thing for a few hours, pick child up, go home, dinner etc, REPEAT. I have been doing the nursery run for two years, this is just the next step.

But it’s a little different isn’t it. Because it’s not nursery.
Although it is reception, and therefore her day will consist of mainly play-based activities, it’s still…school. She will have different teachers, a different learning environment, different clothes, hours, food… Lots of different all over the shop.

Lots of change.
Lots of newness.
Lots of uncertainty.

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you’ll know I am a big fan of uncertainty.
Ha.
I am a big fan of uncertainty in the same way…in the same way insomniacs are a big fan of getting into bed at night. I.e. Not so big on it.

I don’t like all the not knowing.
Will she make friends?
Will she eat an adequate amount of lunch?
Will she drink enough water?
Will she wipe her bum properly, and if not, will someone help her or will she have to walk around with an itchy bum for however many hours? *That would suck. 
If she appears to be struggling, will someone notice and talk to her?
If she feels left out, or sad or anxious for some reason, will she feel able to talk to a teacher?
If she needs to cry, will she cry?
If she misses me, will I feel it? You know, like telepathy, or just an anxious mother’s instinct… *Alright, that one was rather ridic, I won’t have a clue if she misses me, or how many times she thinks of me, and that’s most definitely a good thing. img_9486

Your child will be fine
Despite all of my anxieties, I know she will be just fine. She will be a little overwhelmed at first, she may cry and long for some familiarity, her old teachers, me, her Grandma and Grandad. But then she will become immersed in activity after activity,  toy after toy, person after person. She’ll get lost in the joys of newness.
Then it’ll be lunch time. She may not feel like eating. She may not touch much on her plate despite having had whatever-it-is numerous times. But she won’t starve, because a snack will be waiting for her, by the gate at 15:15.. if her nervous mother hasn’t eaten it. She may have an accident and need a change of leggings. But again, that’s inevitable.

She may be very quiet and barely talk to anyone or she may confidently introduce herself to others, the way she usually does each and every time we leave the confides of our home. I just don’t know.
But I do know that however she handles the day, she will be okay.
And before both of us know it, it’ll be home-time.
(These things tend to go quickly, and I have a lot planned next week, work-wise and all the rest, so I don’t doubt the days will fly…)

One thing I am grateful for, during times of change, is my daughter’s ability to communicate effectively. Like, very effectively. She’s very good at telling us what’s up. As are most five year olds. I am hoping this continues, and am very conscious of nurturing this open channel of..feelings and truth. I hope she tells me everything. Or at least, the important stuff. I hope she can recall anything that bothers her so we can talk it through. I hope she knows she can tell me anything. I think she does. She’s nearly five, do even five year olds filter their words? *That’s another blog post.

img_9487Getting some perspective
The key with any anxieties is to get some perspective.
It’s primary school, not the army. This is all sort of part of the plan, unless you plan to home-school, this is what is meant to happen. Getting an education from the people who are trained to educate your babies. I just cannot quite believe she is my baby. Was my baby. No no definitely still is and always will be my baby. Overpowering and downright soppy-mummy-emotions aside, it is abundantly clear she is more than ready for school. She really will be just fine, she may even love it, eventually. It will most likely take some time once all the initial excitement has worn off and she realises she has to go with the same routine, five days a week, over and over, until the holidays. Year after year. Ew.

All the other things
Because it’s not just school. Maia has just recently started swimming lessons, and will be trialling ballet class this week. (She isn’t too sure, I don’t want to be pushy, but ballet does form the groundwork, the foundation, for all other forms of dance, and I just think it’d open up her options further down the line, should she wish to pursue, say, street dance or acrobatics. Dance works your muscle-memory in ways Maths and Science just don’t. It’s a healthy form of self-expression and the outfits look fun. Eating disorders and bleeding toes aside, I think it’d be great for her..)

Me: “Why don’t you want to do ballet darling?”
Maia: “I just..don’t want to stand up in front of lots of people…”
Me: “There won’t be that many people, there’ll just be a teacher, and a few other kids your age, you’ll probably enjoy it…I did ballet when I was little you know…”
Maia: “You did? Did you like it?”
Me: “No, not really. But hey, you might….So judo!”

*We discussed judo but I think I put her off with words like “fight” and “kick”. She said she didn’t want to fight anyone and I said it may just come in handy one day. I concluded that some Youtube videos might explain what’s involved better than I. Given I’ve never actually taken a judo class. Grandma however nearly made it to black belt karate.


Growing Up
Well, it’s been a busy few weeks. I am more than tired and school hasn’t even started yet. Uniform purchasing, activities, play dates, outings, general-preparing-your-child-for-what’s-to-come-without-showing-a-hint-of-anxiety, job hunting (again, another blog post), and all the rest. There is always all the rest. Single motherhood in general is, shall we say, tiring.

But I am optimistic. That’s the wrong word. I am excited for her. I am excited for both of us. We are growing up. I am not supposed to say that, because I am in my mid-twenties, I am technically, already a grown-up, but it’s the truth. She is changing, year by year, but I am too, and this new phase in both our lives means that new, awesome stuff is happening and that’s not something I can complain about. (*Grown-up is a somewhat subjective term, what does adult even mean anymore, I always thought it was just what happened after you turned 18, I was wrong. We all seem to have very different definitions of how to exist as an adult. *Another blog post.). 

I can complain about plenty of other things, but for now I will just say I am immensely proud of my little person, and I have every faith she will rock up on Monday and smash it.
Or cry, whatever, I’ll roll with it.
We’ve come a long way, the two of us.
She is beyond wonderful and I feel like the luckiest woman alive to be able to say “Hello yes I am Maia’s mother… yes she learnt that word at home… yes we are quite liberal with our use of language..”.
Ha.
No.
Swearing is bad.
Awful habit.


Bad-Mummy Pep Talks
“….and if someone is mean to you, or doesn’t want to play with you then..well… fuck them!”
“Mummy!! Fuck is a bad word!”
“Exactly, well done for remembering, and you mustn’t use it in school. Try not to say it out loud. The other kids won’t like it and the teachers will pull you aside, then they’ll pull me aside. Too much faff, not worth it. But if you need to, you can just sort of say it in your head, just a giant FUCK YOU, in your head, not out loud, to anyone that’s mean, think of me, imagine me saying it, imagine my face, then… run along nicely and play…”
*giggles..
“I love you Mummy…” 

img_9530

Clarks, for that dreaded over-priced-but-necessary-new-shoes visit. She has very narrow feet which means there is a distinct lack of choices available. Which means zero decision making. My daughter now has a lovely pair of leopard print trainers.  #notmyfirstchoice

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