So it’s happened. He’s at school. There was so much focus on getting into the school in the first place it kind of distracted from the actual realisation of what it all meant.
Having been researching mums for a lot longer than I’ve been one myself, I always used to find it a bit funny listening to mums recalling their kids’ first days at school. The tears, the anxiety, the fear, the big goodbye – and yes, I’m talking about the mums here not the kids. I never really got it. Isn’t 4 years enough time to build up to the idea of school? Is it not just something you know is going to happen? Aren’t you delighted about the free child care? I got the significance of kids growing up, but couldn’t quite get a handle on the emotional impact that went with it.
I have that handle now. I have pulled that handle so hard I’ve ripped off the door. Because 4 years is not enough time to prepare. It will never be enough. And the first day was way more significant than I could ever have imagined.
I am actually really excited for Phoenix to go to school, he’s ready and he’s happy and generally it is of course all good in the hood. He loves learning (specialist subjects space and superheroes), and he’s super social and loves making friends (although has been known to skip the bit where you learn people’s names and just shout ‘FRIEND!’). But the first day of school signifies much more than just, well, ‘starting school’ and them growing up, there’s more going on here and thus I will use the medium of this oh so useful blog to elaborate.
For me, the first day at school represents the out of control speed that life moves at when you have kids. It’s a big fat exclamation life on your marker of time, jumping out on you bringing flash backs and a yearning to regress and reminisce. I can remember when I started this blog just a few days before Phoenix was born (it’s just as well I’ve had 4 years to practise my writing though, did anyone really care that I had had a new high chair delivered?!), and what with Indy turning one just a few weeks earlier, it feels hard to breathe when you’re moving at the crazy speed family life travels at.
The other thing that makes me feel a bit choked up about school is that before they go there, you are principally responsible for what goes on in your child’s brain box. That little mind absorbs all around it and you can control, for the most part what those things are. I admit I encouraged his fancy dress penchant, which reached a peak when he went to nursery on Victorian Day dressed as an astronaut (#mumfail), and Ben has most certainly passed down his passions to the little guy who’s weekly activities consist of skateboard lessons, ‘running club’, lego and movie night.
Phoenix is completely awesome. Hi really is a cool kid. His imagination is just beautiful and I don’t want anyone else to get in there and wreck it. We’ve spent 4 years building it with him and I feel like some big kid is going to get in there and kick everything around and trash it.
I know this is a complete exaggeration but I don’t want school, teachers and other kids and their parents getting into his little mind. I just don’t. I mean, I’m not a weirdo, I want him to read and write and meet new people and experience new things, but when we were putting together his ‘me-box’ for the show and tell in the first week and he refused to put in a few things because he was worried ‘people might laugh at him’, I couldn’t help but scream inside ‘arrrrghhhh, just SOD OFF SCHOOL’!!!!! Stop already!
And I know it’s only reception and primary school, and it’s still pretty cute and playful for the first few years, but the exclamation mark that punctuates this day is reminding me and starting to warn me that I’m no longer the only significant ‘mind-filler’ feeding this mind, but that we now share that responsibility with other sources. Some of whom you may not 100% always like. Sigh.
The first drop off itself was actually quite fun. Schools are buzzy places and there were lots of exciting things to look at and play with. The Lego table definitely comforted and excited both him and his dad. And as he scooted in past the kid whose mum was trying to pull him off the railings and cruised past the girl who was trying to hide in the playhouse, what can you do? You put your chin up, take a photo and kiss them goodbye. That’s it, here we go on the next 16 years of school life. So we’re off, bring on the school runs, plays, summer fetes and trips. I feel like not only have I let my little man head off through the gates of life but I’ve also gained another full time job! Maybe once it’s all over I’ll actually be crying tears of joy by then.
SO good luck to everyone out there recovering from their first day at school with their little ones. We’ll be ok, they’re still cuddly….for now anyway.