I thought it would be easy, as we had prepared for weeks but that wasn’t the case.
So we started talking about ‘school’ at the beginning of the year. I look after older children in the afternoon and we collect them from their school so she was aware of the concept of school. We chatted casually about how she would go to school when she was a little older.
During the summer we bought her a school bag, she picked out a new lunchbox and drink bottle and practiced opening and closing them and as September drew closer, we ordered name labels and she had great fun sticking them on everything.
This was all met with enthusiasm so I thought we were onto a winner.
Then came the weekend before and we had lots of chat about Monday being the first day of school and how after breakfast she would get dressed and go to school. Sunday bedtime was met with ‘don’t want to go to school’ and ‘where will you go when I’m at school?’ and so on.
On day one her Dad and I walked her to school, helped find her coat hook, where her bag went etc. and helped her find something to play with. This went well and we left.
Then came what I wasn’t expecting – my feelings of anxiety as I got home; I felt nauseous, I had a headache and my hands were shaking. Her Dad said he too felt strange, same nauseous feeling and just strange not to have her with us. It was clearly going to be a transition for all of us.
She came out three hours later jumping and singing. Relief all round!
Day two was a different story, tears from the moment she woke up and ‘I don’t want to go to school.’ I proceeded to get on with the morning and got ready as we had the morning before. We walked to school, just the two of us and we sang songs and jumped over cracks on the path and did my best to distract her.
Then came the moment of dread, she wailed and had to be prised from my arms. I left promptly and as I closed the door of the school I too cried.
It was very hard to let someone else comfort my child when I have been the one who’s been the main source of comfort in her life up to this point. The girls in the preschool are so lovely – gentle and kind and reassuring, and I know she is in really good hands. But it was hard for me to let her go. She has formed a bond with one teacher in particular it seems and mentions her a lot and says she wants a cuddle with her. I am so happy she has this comfort.
I found the first week as hard as she did, but I didn’t let her see it. I know she is so ready for this new stage of life, she’s clever and funny and such a fun little girl. She’s ready to make friends and start making her way into the world.
We’re on week three now and she happily goes into school waving me off and running to play with other children. As I left this morning, I saw herself and another child hugging then getting on with whatever they were going to do.
I am also finding my way. Up to now it was hard to know what to do, where to start. Do I tackle the mountain of laundry or start scrubbing the manky house? I did feel a bit overwhelmed initially. There wasn’t this feeling of having time to myself that everyone mentioned. But as time goes on I’m hoping to settle into my own routine. I plan on going to the gym (very important to me as it gives me huge headspace) and plan to tackle the house but not all at once.
I didn’t imagine it would be as difficult as it has been but I suppose all change is hard. But we’re taking it one day at a time.