The past month has been a very big change in the life of our family as Bunny finally went to school. Here he is in his school uniform on his first day - doesn’t he look gorgeous?
And notice how he’s standing - he had to get the right “cool” stance for the photo. He’s such a showman sometimes.
Luckily, he was very excited about becoming a “big boy” and to date there have been no tears at all. In fact by the end of the first week he was asking me why so many other kids were still crying.
I took it as an opportunity to explain how everyone feels things differently and some kids may be scared by the changes that go with school. He listened intently, then ever fixated on number one, said, “It’s good I’m brave and don’t cry, isn’t it?”
The one big shock for Bunny was how many days he has to go to school now. He was used to going to daycare/pre-school two or three days with a break in the middle. So, even though I told him school would be more, he didn’t really get it.
The first Wednesday he woke up all ready to play and watch a bit of morning television. He couldn’t believe it when I told him it was a school day.
“Again?” he asked.”Can’t I just go two days?”
He also made the family laugh at the end of the first week when he summed up his big school experience. “All we do is work, work, work,” he said. “They never let us play.”
“Never?” we asked.
“Never,” he said with a serious face.
Lord knows what he’s going to think when he’s out of kindegarten and school really gets hard!
I am proud to say I have coped with the whole transition much better than I expected. In part because Bunny settled in so well and has been his usual cheery self, and it helps that I really like his teacher. She’s very warm and smiley and enthusiastic, which is a good fit for Bunny’s natural exuberance.
Like Bunny, the five days a week routine still seems like a lot to me too. After the first weekend, I really didn’t want him to go back on the Monday. I wasn’t ready for our time to end and I wished that I could tell him to stay home. Of course I can’t, and thankfully Bunny never knew I was even contemplating it. Because if he thought he could get more play time by using my emotional state as leverage, you can bet my silver tongue charmer would be in there like a shot!
While our school experience has been mostly good, there are always highlights and lowlights when you go through this kind of lifestyle change.
Bunny’s current enthusiasm for homework. It’s all an opportunity to show me how much he’s learned now. He’s excited to do it and never argues when I say it’s time. I have no idea how long this enthusiasm will last so I’ll appreciate it while I can.
Right now while I’m still feeling a bit depressed, the routine of the school day has become my friend. It anchors my life and gives me some much needed structure.
More time to add in elements that strengthen my own life. I’m starting a writing group with a friend, have made some progress on untangling the plot issues with my novel and am even considering going back to university to finish my Masters in Creative Writing.
The monotony of making school lunches. Bunny’s daycare used to give him cooked meals. This is the first time I have ever had to think about what to pack him for lunch. It’s a total drag. Bunny is not a great fan of the sandwich and there are hardly any fillings he finds acceptable. In an effort to prepare him tasty and healthy lunch boxes I initially turned myself inside out contemplating and preparing lunches. One month in, we seem to have settled into a few combinations that work for us and now I try to remind myself to relax every time I find myself staring into the refrigerator too long.
The endless notes. I am going to have to get a personality transplant and become a much more organised person if I am to survive Bunny’s school years. It hasn’t even been a term and the school office is already doing my head in with notes about things to do or remember. I’m tripping over paper notes in my kitchen. Can’t they just email me?
The pressure to get involved with the school. A note asking me to volunteer at the canteen came home on Bunny’s very first day. Not even a couple of days to settle in. No. Right away it was all “We want you!” I’m not keen. Maybe that makes me a slack mum, but I hate preparing food for my own family. I don’t want to do it for a couple of hundred other children. I have volunteered with reading groups though and that was fun.
How was your experience with your children first starting school? What do you enjoy about school days and what would you trade in a quick minute? Do you have any advice for a starter school mum like me?