I am writing with emotion, excitement and a whole host of other feelings today because my first born is starting school tomorrow. She is entering the world of primary school education and will spend a lot more of her day at school than at home... with me.
I think that's one of the strangest thoughts about it all. I won't be there to teach her right from wrong anymore, I won't be there to cuddle her if she gets upset or hurt, I wont be there to make sure she's ok and being a good girl, and I won't be there to nag her! I can only hope that I have done a good job so far in encouraging her to be confident, friendly, polite, kind and thoughtful, brave and ready to call for help if she needs it. Oh and to listen!
Yes, it is probably apparent that I have always been Ella's primary carer from what I've said so far. I am a stay at home mum of two girls who writes about Anastasia when I can. I think that's why it's so emotional because things will really change for both of us. I won't have a job to return to in an office somewhere so my days aren't that different; Ella's absence from home will be very noticeable to both me and little Amy. Although I am not suggesting that it is any less emotional for working mums so please don't misunderstand me!
Ella was always fine at preschool, well except for the time when a boy there gouged her head and she still bears the scars (thankfully he is not in her class at school) yet we got through that ok so I'm sure we'll cope but it is still a strange thought because it is no longer optional - she has to be educated. She will be educated alongside all sorts of other children brought up in all sorts of ways...
Ella is a sociable child and according to her preschool is 'ready to stand up for herself while being sensitive and kind to others'. So she takes no messing which is what I truly hope will always be the case. She is a thoughtful child but has always found children who... how can I put this... I guess I have never seen her laugh, and proper belly laugh, like she does when she is witnessing a naughty child. It is quite alarming when a friend's child goes on a rampage and she is rolling around the floor laughing like never before.
Jason's response: 'She's going to go for the bad boys I just know it'. Well let's hope not and there's plenty of time for that(!) but I hope that she doesn't find herself drawn to the entertainment of the unruly child because, let's face it, there's surely going to be one in her class! Let's hope it's not her!!
If she's like I was as a child then her adrenaline will kick in way too early and she will giggle uncontrollably despite the circumstances. For example, when I was around 11 years old and in my first year of High School, our PE teacher found a condom on one of the gym mats. Now I think everyone knew it was one of the sixth formers, because I saw her drop it as she walked through the gym hall. Everyone knew, it seemed, except said PE teacher, Miss 'C' (we'll call her for privacy reasons). So as she walked up and down the line of girls in my class (all girls school) I could not stop my giggles and really couldn't to the point of wanting to cry. I was snorting and shaking like a deranged madwoman. Quite how I didn't get the blame for it I still do not know! When she carried the condom between her index finger and thumb at arms length with her head as far back as possible as if it was poisonous, gesturing dramatically and shouting "stand back girls!", then pressing her foot on the pedal of the bin and dropping it in; I almost wet myself with hysteria.
It sounds so silly but that is the problem: it's those silly things that make you react as a child. I have more control of my emotions (sometimes) now I'm more mature (don't say it!) but I guess I was always waiting for some excitement and would react excessively to the things that I shouldn't. Is Ella going to be the same? I guess time will tell but I won't get to witness those moments while she is at school and how I would love to be a fly on the wall.
Some of my memories from primary school are that I was always running around and not looking where I was going and ending up with grazed knees, nose bleeds and a bumped head. I remember my first school Sport's Day and my hair getting caught in the zip of my dress and I cried and cried. I remember making my first clay model of an animal and I chose a rhino. The next day I ran in excitedly to see it dried and ready to take home but I was left devastated to see a squashed, hard mass of dried clay because some child decided to flatten my perfect rhino (well it was to me!) with their fist and no one noticed. I remember showing the boys my knickers (I was not alone I assure you and have ceased that particular pastime!) and I remember never being kissed in kiss tag. "I'll let you off" the boys would say!
Jason recalls drawing the biggest egg he could possibly fit onto the page and the teacher saying to him in dismay, "Why have you drawn a giant egg?" To which he replied, "I thought you said to draw a big egg." The teacher shook her head and said, "No, I asked you to draw a big 'a'!" We are learning all the time without realising and, yes, sometimes we hear what we want to!
I guess when I wrote in my blog 'The Power of Emotion' I was touching upon how we teach our children that emotions are normal and how we try to help our children to understand how to handle them. I now realise that it is all going to be taken away from me and Ella is beginning her journey to learn about them all on her own during those school hours. Hopefully she will learn some other knowledge along the way too!
So while we've all been there on our own starting school journeys, it is my first time with my first child, and her first time too, and I know I am not alone with how I'm feeling. Good luck to all the children starting out on their own journeys. Listen, learn, laugh and enjoy those precious school years because once you leave the hard work really begins ;)
The journey has begun...