As I lay on my bed and write this, my eldest is at school, my middle child is at Kindy and my youngest is in her cot. Ahhh, bliss.
Here is my thought for the day…
After all of my anxieties about sending my daughter to school (thoughtfully documented in my previous article here), I have decided to award myself with a “Nailed It”.
For all of those old-schoolers out there, I have given myself an A – in the criteria of first time school mum.
To tell you the truth, I think that by writing down all of my negative emotions about sending my daughter to school, I excised those few demons. Once I had written and posted it, I no longer felt the knot in my chest when I thought about what was to come. I had become very calm about the whole process. Call it cathartic.
That is not to say that the first day was not absolutely chaotic (I realised that day one – High School really is a different breeding ground to primary school).
We had to take everything on our book list on the first day. And I mean everything – all 8 whiteboard markers, 3 pencil sharpeners (2 normal, 1 enclosed), 4 erasers, 10 led pencils with the triangular grip, 3 boxes of crayons, 5 scrap books, 3 Year 1 lined books, 3 blue lined books, 1 three ringed binder (not two rings, the third ring was very important) etc etc.
After rolling in my suitcase full of supplies from the stationery store, I then I had to run around putting all of the bits and pieces into the appropriate tidy tray.
Up at the High School, the parents drop their children off at the gate, hoping they have the books needed for their subjects that day. The students’ mill around the tuckshop area until the bell rings to go to parade. So serene.
I have no problem with the sort of organisation primary schools employ. In fact, I love it – everything had a place and there was a place for everything.
But you have to imagine 20 odd 4 and 5 year olds walking doe eyed into their new classroom, followed by 30 odd parents (some had both mothers and fathers there for the momentous occasion), followed by at least 3 or 4 prams containing siblings who can’t walk yet, followed by a dozen siblings who can walk and are wondering how they can get to play with the blocks on the carpet.
All of these people in one small space with only 15 minutes to put everything away before the bell rings and everyone who isn’t student or teacher is required to leave makes it a recipe for bedlam.
One minute I was shouting at my daughter (had to, the noise was at quite a high level) to stay in her assigned seat while I put all of the stationery in the correct spot, the next minute I was telling her to put her lunchbox in the fridge (but before that, we had to rescue the banana from said lunchbox because it needed to go in the fruit basket for fruit break).
Then I was telling her to put her hat in her bag (she had to wear it in) and put her bag on the port-rack (“Which spot mum?” “Anywhere! Just put it anywhere!”). Then I found another sign saying that hats went in the student’s tidy tray and so my instruction changed to “Get your hat out of your bag so I can put it here” (“Why mum, why do you need my hat?” “I just do. Just go and get it!”)
But at the end of this hectic first 15 minutes of my school mum career, I was ready to say goodbye and there wasn’t a tear in sight.
I did have to force my daughter to give me a kiss and a cuddle because she thought a wave and a “Bye” from a distance would suffice.
I did back out of the classroom slowly watching to see if she was watching me go (she wasn’t). But there were no tears. And soon enough, I was in the car and looking forward towards dropping my second daughter at Kindy.
Nailed it, I say. (The only reason I didn’t give myself an A+ was because I did purchase the wrong kind of blue lined book. Apparently, the ones we use in high school have lines too close together. I didn’t even know there was another kind. Oh well. Just means I will have something to improve on next year – who wants to be perfect first time around? People just want to bring you down then.
On a completely different point, I failed as a first day Kindy mum.
I remembered to take the cup (carefully named); I remembered the lunchbox, fruit snack (to be placed in the fruit basket), water bottle, and Kindy sheets. But I did manage to forget the spare hat, 2 reams of paper and box of tissues.
If I had been a first time Kindy mum, I would have freaked out.
Instead, I turned to the director, said “oops, I’ll drop them off next week” and continued on with my day.
Now I sit here with two of my children away for the day and I feel like a new woman (yesterday I even had a morning nap because I could). What was I even worried about? I can get stuff done around the house without someone whinging behind me (as long as the baby is asleep because she is a bower bird personified and it if it isn’t nailed down, she will grab it and put it somewhere I can’t find it!).
I can take some time to relax with a cup of tea without the prerequisite 20 questions about what is for smoko. I can enjoy my lunch without complaints of “I don’t want that!”
School mum…bring it on for the next 20 years!
Were you a first time school mum this year? How did you and your child/children get on day 1 of school? Love to hear your experiences in the comments.