Starting reception – it's a BIG DEAL. It's the start of a new chapter in your child's life, the beginning of his school life. It's the point when you are not the main carer and protector of your child for the better part of the day – you now entrust him with teachers, the school and the 'system'. Your baby is not a toddler or even a pre-schooler anymore – he is a big boy! This is the start of his independence.
There's a lot to take in for them – and us. From being two-to-tango, just like that, we both learn to go our separate ways. Still together, but doing different things. With different people. There's joy and pride mixed with sadness and loneliness. There are ups and downs and every new day brings new emotions and challenges.
A few thoughts I penned down a week after Little Man started "big boy school"…
Things I miss…
Things will never be exactly as they were before – and that feeling is bittersweet.
– After years of being my constant shadow, you now spend the better part of the day at school, not at toddler groups and parks and playdates. There are no more lazy PJ days, or days when we just lounge together in front of the television. As much as I wanted some alone time then, I miss you loads darling!
– There will be many 'firsts', but I will not be there to see them firsthand. Instead, I will only hear about them from your teacher or read about them in your report card.
– Friends will play a much more significant role in your life now. I know I'll always be your "mummy", your security blanket, your punching bag for all the tantrums, but I also realise that in a few years, your friends will sometimes take supersedence over me.
– But before you make those life-long friends, will come the difficult stage of you taking your time to settle into this new environment and way of life. You feeling left-out at playtime. You feeling hurt because of harsh words said by another child in class. If you hurt, I hurt. If you are sad, I am even more upset. I know you will blossom and love it once you're settled (as you always do), but those first few weeks are painful and emotional for you and me. But we'll get through them together I promise.
– There is now a strict routine, and we all have to abide by it (for everyone's sanity in the morning!!!). Gone are the (week)nights when we could watch a movie till past 10 pm together, or go for late family dinners. Bedtimes cannot be stretched anymore (not past 8 pm at least), and you cannot have lie-ins if you've had a late night. Because, well, school!
And not just you, my routine has changed too. I was always (still am) a night owl (have never been a morning person), but if I have to be up at the crack of dawn to get you dressed, breakfasted and out the door in time for school, then, well, I can't afford to have too many late nights! Besides, I'm now exhausted come 10 pm!!!
But, there are some positives as well…
– As much as I miss you, I also cherish my alone-time. You've been to part-time nursery, then pre-school, but it was always part-time. You were with me for most of the last four years, and now that I have six child-free hours, there's a lot more I can do. Like focus on my blog, cook meals from scratch rather than go for quick, short-cut dinners and have a long shower in peace (I love that one!!!).
– While I miss your baby days and feel you are growing up way to fast, I can see you blossoming into an independent boy now, who can do so much more by himself. Like how you dress yourself in the morning, carry your own tray during lunch-time and cut your own jacket potato with a fork and knife. How you are learning new rules and routines. Making new friendships.
– It's amazing how you are taking in so many new things everyday – learning to read and write. Learning math. Learning about the world around you. It amazes me that you ask me questions that sometimes stump me, but I'm still glad you ask them.
All in all, it's a BIG change for the both of us. Emotionally and practically. I know you're still having your up-and-down moments, and there's a lot to take in, but I know you'll get there love. Just as I'm learning the ropes of being a school-going mum…
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