When you have children there are so many milestones, weaning, their first steps, their first words, potty training, sleeping through the night! to name but a few. However nothing quite prepared me for my eldest, Isla, starting school. The end of an era, a pivotal moment in her childhood, has proved to be an emotional time.
Milestone: Isla Starting School
September marked my eldest, Isla, starting school. A moment i’ve been dreading if i’m honest. Isla has been no stranger to childcare. Due to being a working mum, juggling trying to be the best at work and the best mum I could be, she has been in nursery at least 2 days a week and one day with my mum and dad (thanks mum and dad!).
I thought the transition to school would be easy for her. She knew at least 4 of her classmates from pre-school, and being a small village school there would only be 14 in her class, I thought it would be a breeze!
It hit me when she had her induction in June. Only a few hours at the school, I assumed she would take it in her stride. Boy was I wrong! Despite it being fairly normal for me to drop her off and leave, she started having a melt down. I took her outside to try and calm her down which seemed to work after the second time. However when I went to leave she turned into a banshee. Screaming ‘Mummy don’t leave me!’, ‘Mummy I want to come with you!’
It broke my heart! The teachers were trying to re-assure her, and telling me to just go. I could feel myself welling up, and had to turn my back on her. They had to practically prise her from me as I walked away. As I got to the reception, I could still hear her screaming and and I couldn’t hold back the floodgates any longer. They were all very nice and tried to tell me she would be fine. Walking away from her when she was so distressed was not what my mothering instinct told me to do, and seeing her so upset was awful.
She of course was fine in the end. However, as the start of school was looming I became very anxious. Anxious that we would have a repeat performance, that she would be beside herself about going to school, and anxious because I knew she had to go no matter how upset she was (and I was!).
I tried not to show my feelings of course to Isla, but the week leading up to the first school day I was an emotional wreck, crying at silly things and feeling so stressed! This was not helped by the fact that I ordered her PE kit too late and it wouldn’t arrive in time, and that I couldn’t find any plimsolls in her size. I was stressing about being a crap disorganised mother, how she would be the only one in her class without a PE kit. I wished I could be one of those mums that has all the school uniform bought, name tags on and everything ready in July!
The night before her big day I was home alone, feeling very emotional, and after a medicinal glass of vino decided to put pen to paper (or at least turn on the laptop) and write a letter to her. Partly for her to have something to look back on in the future to mark the milestone, but also for me, to be able to put some of my emotions down on paper (blog) about how proud I am of her.
The day arrived, and despite my doubts in myself, the uniform was ready with the obligatory name tags and the book bag packed. She was excited and was dressed ready for school in record time. She suddenly looked all grown up, my baby becoming a little lady.
We all went to the school to drop her off. The bell went and she lined up with her classmates, only then did she start to seem anxious. As the line was lead in her little face screwed up and she started to cry. Daddy came to the rescue and took her hand and walked in with her. I think he could tell I was fighting back tears myself.
She ended up having a great day, and was full of it when she came home. Since then she has done a full week. Drop offs are getting easier, although we’ve had a few quivering bottom lips, and she genuinely appears to be enjoying school and making new friends.
I had no doubt she would, she was so ready for school. I am just shocked at how unready I was to see my baby start the next chapter in her life. I really hope my anxiety didn’t rub off onto her in anyway, but as always, I just tried to do the best I can, which as a mum is all I know how to do.
I feel a lot more relaxed about it all now, until next year that is when I have to do it all over again with my youngest!