I won’t lie, today has been emotional. You may have read my post earlier in the week about Monkey starting in Year One today and my concerns. Whenever I’ve broached the subject of returning to school with Monkey it’s been met with fierce protestations about not wanting to go. The nearer the day got the more vehement he became, and the more worried I’ve felt. So today was the day. He went to bed last night telling me he was going to hit his teachers, scrawl instead of writing anything and he’d run out of class. This didn’t lend itself to a good nights sleep for his mother, although he slept soundly! So would we get a smile at the end of the day today?
You may remember that Monkey and I appeared in Femail a while back talking about Worry Eaters and anxious children. I didn’t read many of the online comments but one that stuck in my memory told me to stop being ridiculous – 4-5 year old children couldn’t suffer from anxiety. At the time that comment made me angry, and actually, it still does. My son does get anxious, he does struggle in new situations, he struggles with change. Actually, I’m pretty damn sure he’s not alone. It’s up to me to help him find coping mechanisms, his Biff Sorgenfresser Worry Eater, being one of them.
The first words out of Monkey’s mouth this morning – Mummy I don’t want to go to school, I want you to stay with me. Lots of reassurance was given obviously, but I knew we were in for a bumpy ride. I decided not to battle over the quantity of cereal not consumed at breakfast. This wasn’t the day for it, as smooth a journey to leaving the house as possible was required today!
Surprisingly, actually getting into his school uniform went better than expected, leaving him with 30 minutes of joyful playtime. I even managed to get a smile at the beginning of the day so we could send Daddy P and Granny and Gramps a photo.
The walk to school was rather reluctant, helped a little by bumping into a friend who is starting in Reception today. We got through the gates, now to find his class. I do think it’s really bad organisation that no one seems to think parents should know where their child’s class is and what their teacher looks like before they start Year One. It was so different last year.
So we have an anxious child and a mother who doesn’t really know where she’s heading. Luckily I spotted a Year 2 Mum whose son I knew was in Monkey’s class. We’d found the right place. That’s where the fun began. I knew leaving me at the door to the class was going to be a really difficult thing for Monkey. No matter how many ways I’d tried to explain that it would be ok, over the last few weeks, he wasn’t convinced, at all. He clung on for dear life. Thankfully his new teacher let me go in with him and a key worker (I presume, I have no idea really, again I think that’s something that school could improve on to reassure parents and to help familiarise names with children in the holidays) showed us where to put bags, coat etc.
But this was only delaying the inevitable. He would need to let me go. With Monkey clinging on to me we made our way (crab like!) towards the front of the class and back to his new teacher. She clearly understood the situation and quickly extracted Monkey from me, I legged it. He was upset, I was head down, holding back the tears, sort of, until I shut the front door at home.
So began the countdown to school pick up time. How would a first day of so many firsts have gone? Would he have gone to the toilet, this boy has super human powers when it comes to holding his bladder! Please god, don’t let him have actually hit a teacher!
The first thing I noticed when I walked to his classroom was how much louder this part of school is at school pick up time. Quite deafening and very daunting for younger children to walk out into. If he’d made it through the day, I hoped this wouldn’t cause a problem. My friend from the morning, knew I was concerned, and bless her she had a look through the window, he’s fine, he’s smiling and he’s stood next to J. Phew.
The door opened and he was the second child to be called. He’s had a really good day, he’s been fine, he’s told me about his lunch and he’s helped name the class bear. Wow, that’s great news, I think we still may have an issue getting him to let me go in the morning. Yes, we’ve had a chat about that and we’ll work through it together. Then there he was, with the biggest smile on his face. Mummy I’ve had a lovely day. Hugs aplenty and he was chatting away all the way home.
I’m not naive, today has ended well. Tomorrow, next week, next month, things could be different. But we’ll take today’s smile as a positive and hope it’s the first of many in Year One. Of course there was only one way to celebrate – cakes!
Oh and as for the toilet, apparently he didn’t ‘need’ to go all day. Uum! This may have been aided by the fact his water bottle hadn’t been touched all day, or his snack. I’m not sure whether we’d put them in the wrong place or if he hadn’t felt able to tell anyone where they were. A conversation for the morning with school.
It was lovely to hear that Monkey had met up with his best friend in a break time, apparently they went ladybird spotting together. This makes me happy.
I hope if your kids went back to school or started for the first time, it all went smoothly.