When it’s the end of the school year.
I know I was stepping back from my blog, but I couldn’t let today go by unmarked. Why? Because today is The Beasts last day at school before the six week summer holidays.
I have mixed feelings, I’m sad, after all, Reception is such a special year, and I feel very lucky about how happily he’s settled, I’m dreading it – I have to spend six weeks arguing with him, and I’m proud, after all, we’ve all survived the transition from nursery “fling them through the door, dressed and they do all the rest” to Primary School “deliver them with a full stomach and a bag containing completed homework”.
From the first day I dropped him off, small and tiny in shorts which could have passed as cropped trousers a new way of life kicked in. I didn’t feel sad until day 3 when he walked into the classroom without looking back, suddenly I felt a bit redundant, a bit needy. Don’t worry it didn’t last long.
It’s been a learning curve that’s for sure, one that I must admit I hadn’t expected. I’m totally honest when I say I went into school naively, I looked at it as five days of free childcare even if it did end earlier then I needed, however I’ve learnt an awful lot.
I’ve learnt that actually I can be quite creative. This year I have made dressing up costumes, collages (I USED GLUE WITH MY CHILD), I’ve made spiders webs, I’ve hunted for bugs, I have tadpoles still
bloody growing in my cake tin (I thought it took like a few weeks, we’re on MONTHs right now). Also, don’t you DARE tell anybody but I’ve actually quite enjoyed it.
I’ve learnt that I have two different four year olds. That’s right. There’s Spider-Man. Leaping, jumping, climbing the walls, refusing to pick up a pen or pencil, can’t sit still for two seconds or play on his own for a minute. That one answers back, tells me I’m no longer his best friend. Then there’s the one that sits quietly, doesn’t really do role play, doesn’t shout or climb the walls and when you say “has he been good?” the response is always “as always”. I seem to have the dud at home, because he’s not very nice right now.
I’ve learnt that I’m not cut out to be a teacher. SERIOUSLY how do they do it? On the times we sit down and do homework it was a high probability that I would end up in tears, usually mine. The lack of focus, the lack of buy in, the amount of bribes “if you write this sentence tonight you can have lemonade with your dinner”, there are so many times I’ve just wanted to shout “S JUST WRITE S, SERIOUSLY JUST WRITE THE LETTER S” (I may have also shouted at times), before stalking out of the room to go and sniff the bottle of gin. As with the creative side of things, Homework has brought out my competitive edge, especially as The Beast’s commitment to writing isn’t his best. Therefore I have learnt to mount everything to make up for his short comings, and through the year have worked my way through about three pritt-sticks.
I have learnt that it is probably the shortest day in the world. Seriously by the time you’ve had a two hour natter at the school gates, got in the car, come home and cleared up the carnage I might as well just turn around and go and pick him up.
And that leads me to the school run. I can’t believe I’m saying this but it’s not actually that bad. YES the dragging myself out of bed, and firing orders (which I have to repeat 50 million times “WHY ARE YOUR SHOES STILL NOT ON DO IT DO IT DO IT”) side of things is a bit of a pain, and so is the general hyper-ness and bickering. Usually in the car I can drown it out, being the only one who sings along to the jolly phonics CD (my personal fave is Inky, what’s yours?). But, once I’ve found somewhere to abandon my car (I suddenly understand why you have to reverse your car around a corner in your driving test – I am now quite good at reversing), I get to natter to a few people, you know, ADULT conversation. But then, I’m still remembering the last few weeks, where the sun is shining, and everyone is happy, I’ve blocked out the cold COLD COLD winter, where it’s minus gazzillion degrees, the beating rain, and the meltdowns. The meltdowns from The Chunky Monkey. Wants to be in his pushchair, doesn’t want to be in his pushchair, he wants to be in the carseat no, no he doesn’t actually, before he hammers on the classroom door demanding to be let in to see the “wabbit”. I’m forgetting that most days I have to discreetly replace certain items from the playground which The Chunky Monkey has smuggled into my car, secretly disappointed that it wasn’t jewellery or money.
I’ve also learnt that all of a sudden I know a lot more people. Which in turn means I bump into a lot more people who can witness my lack of control on my children. Teachers catch me wagging my fingers and making threats, catching me at the end of my tether in the queue in a shop where I’m responding with my usual mature version of “I can too come to your party, after all I’m paying for it”, or see me tucking The Chunky Monkey under my arms as he kicks and screams because he was trying to steal a saw from a DIY store.
I’ve learnt that nothing is sacred, that he stretches the truth, and then tells his teachers. His current teacher thinks that I “forget” to go shopping so he has to have spaghetti hoops, let him play in the road on his own, and walk about with him upside down.
I’ve learnt that logo polo shirts do not wash well. That my son feels inclined to get the marker pens and paints out when he’s wearing them, and even the ones without the big green and black marks on them, have washed a sludgy grey, whereas the three for £2 ones from Sainsbogs are still pristine and white. That school shoes get scuffed (and only start at about a size 7, he’s still as size 6), that knees get bloody, sleeves get snotty, pants get skiddies, and waterbottles always leak when there’s something important in the bag.
But most importantly, I’ve learnt how much my boy has grown and developed because of the influence from both his peers and teachers, I feel lucky that he has a great group of friends, and that his first teachers have been amazing. The teachers especially have been a huge part of his development helping him grow, giving him confidence, a sense of pride whilst helping him to assert himself (great, thanks for that), to speak out, and be his own person, and for this am grateful, proud, and a little bit emotional.
Here’s to Year One. Maybe they’ll have built boarding facilities by then.