It’s been four weeks since my daughter started school and I must admit I think it’s been harder for me than it has for her. There are new routines for me to get my head around. There are lunch boxes and uniforms, library bags and labels, new faces and exhausted kids, pick-ups and drop-offs. Five days a week. Five! And then there are the notes. So. Many. Notes.
It’s been exciting and emotional, and a ridiculous number of nervous thoughts that have crossed my mind.
She doesn’t know anyone. Will she make any friends?
What if she gets lost in the playground?
How will she know what food to eat when?
Should I cut her fruit up or leave it whole?
What if she forgets where the toilets are?
I didn’t label her socks. Who labels socks anyway? But what if she takes them off?
Can she put on her backpack on by herself?
Will she remember to put her water bottle in the crate? And her pouch in the tidy tray?
What day does she need her library bag? And have show and tell? And wear her sports uniform? And, and…!
I know, I know. I’m sure I’ll laugh at myself in a few months’ time. Thank goodness for her wonderful teachers.
I try really hard to not be a helicopter mum. I want her to become more independent and resilient. And yet… there is something about sending your first-born off to school that really tugs at your heart strings. It’s an adjustment – for all of us.
The first sign that I should probably harden up came from Charlotte herself, who on day two asked me to leave and take her little brother away too (he was making a bit of a scene). I wanted to linger in the classroom, watch the interactions with her new classmates and see what activities she gravitated towards. Charlotte gave me a withering look and pleaded with me to get her brother out of there. Two days in and we were already an embarrassment.
Another sign came last week, when I was showing her the new waiting area before school. Charlotte spotted her class line, turned to me and said, “OK. Bye mum.” Just like that, as she clomped along awkwardly with an oversized uniform and backpack as big as she is. And she didn’t look back.