That first day at school seems like a lifetime away when they are first born and before you know it, there you are at the school gates waving your son off (or in our case gently persuading him to go in and stay in!) whilst you quickly turn your back and walk without a backward glance (as you know that will make things worse), shedding a tear at yet another milestone. I sense that this first term is going to be a roller coaster of emotions for both Archie and myself and the new routine will take more than a bit of getting used to but we will get there.
In the lead up to the first day Archie seemed to be overly excited and genuinely enthusiastic about his new school, telling anyone who cared to listen that he wasn’t a baby anymore and that he was all grown up and going to his new school. When the teachers came for the home visit he was overly excited, jumping around the living room, showing them every possible toy he had (why did I bother to tidy up?) and struggling to tell them everything he wanted to in the time they were there. Almost out of character for him, taking both Reuben and I by surprise.
Even on the first day that excitement seemed to continue, happy enough at the school gates, intrigued with his new surroundings. However, when the doors opened he was very quiet, completely unlike him, although he might not be the most confident little boy in social circumstances unfamiliar to him he is usually full of life. So many emotions must run through their heads and at such a young age, they must struggle to know how to handle them. As a parent you can only support and reassure them and encourage them to talk about it. Easier said than done of course.
I don’t think the chaos helped Archie on his first day, but he managed to find his peg with his name and picture above it and hang up his book bag and once in the classroom he got a sticker with his name on it and that was it. I think I was just as nervous, if not more so, and couldn’t wait to pick him up that first day after lunch to hear how he had got on. The teachers reported that he had a couple of wobbly moments, once before lunch and once before I collected him. He seemed very happy to see me at pick-up but the days that followed proved more challenging.
Upon the realisation that this wasn’t a one off occurence and that he was going to have to go every weekday. The rest of the week was emotionally and physically challenging. For both him and I. Tears and upset in the mornings, disturbed nights and a constantly worried and anxious 4.5 year old (plus an equally worried Mum!) together with tiredness, takes its toll. To finish off the week in style he got a heavy cold and instead of being spoiled all weekend he was ill, having to take a day off school yesterday, but was back today and with no tears at drop off, a big tight squeeze at the classroom door and him saying ‘i love you mummy, see you later’ I can only hope and pray for any improvements on last week.