We’ve been counting down the days for weeks and now we are finally here – the first day at primary school. My little boy, who turned four less than two months ago, is heading off into the big adventure that is the world of education.
I’ve read so many blog posts this week – some offering advice from mums and dads who’s little ones started in reception last year, some from parents like me who are about to become school mums or dads for the first time. I wasn’t sure that I really had anything to add to the hundreds of posts already out there but then I realised I couldn’t let this milestone pass without writing about it here.
I started writing this blog when Toby was just three months old. And do you know what? It really doesn’t seem that long ago. I’ve written about breastfeeding and reflux, about nursery wobbles and that time when he wouldn’t sit down in the bath (a ‘phase’ lasted a year and a half!), about birthdays and potty training, about him becoming a big brother, moving house and now the next step is here… starting big school!
Toby has been going to nursery since he was 13 months old. He had a year full time when I went back to work and I do kind of regret that between the ages of one and two he saw way more of the nursery staff than he did of me. Even after I had Gabe he still went to nursery four afternoons a week. Then we moved and for the last year he has spent two days a week at nursery, until the last six weeks when he dropped down to just one day.
And now he has to go to school every day. Every day for the next 13 years! He says he is excited about going to school, and as much as we’ve tried to explain to him, I don’t think he has any idea what a big change it is going to be.
I’m excited for him too. My lovely, funny, inquisitive, dinosaur-mad little boy is going to to love school I reckon. He loves to learn, to find out how things work and what they are made of. He’s eager to start reading and already loves numbers and sums.
But I’m worried for him too. My little boy who is the size of a six year old but has never worn a shirt before and can’t do his own buttons. My boy who can’t wipe his own bum properly, and doesn’t always get his shoes on the right feet. My adorable, friendly boy who finds it easier to talk to adults than children, who likes things done his way and doesn’t always make friends easily. I’m worried he’s going to be scared and overwhelmed, and who is going to remind him to go to the toilet, and what if no one wants to play with him, or sit with him at lunch time.
He’ll be fine, I know, but I’m his mummy and I’m allowed to worry. He made me a mother, and I might not always be the best mother, I might shout too much and let him watch too much TV, but I’m his mummy and it makes me sad to think of him going out into the big wide world without me to hold his hand.
Of course, on the other hand he drives me absolutely bonkers half the time and I can’t wait for him to be out of the house five days a week. I’m looking forward to getting to spend some one on one time with Gabe, and I’m looking forward to not having to pretend to be Mummy Triceratops for the fiftieth time, but I’m going to miss my crazy boy. I’m going to miss having his cuddles all day and his jokes that don’t make any sense. And I suppose mostly I’m just a bit sad that this phase of our lives is over and we’re moving into the next one. Into a life governed by term dates and homework and having to wear a clip on tie and boring grey socks at four years old.
However I feel though, this morning I’m going to have a smile on my face and I’m going to be full of enthusiasm about how exciting school is going to be as I wave my little boy off into the classroom and on to the start of his next big adventure.