• Katherine Thornalley

First Day of School - Letting Go

Updated: Jun 21, 2018

After months of searching for the right school for my little Prince, we finally found 'the one'. A beautiful school set in vast grounds of woods and valleys. All of the pupils very polite, the teachers all very sweet and everyone very welcoming. So that was settled. We booked him in for a settle in visit for the preschool with the intention that he would start off in the preschool and then continue throughout the school. I personally think that children start school way too early in this country, but that's a separate issue!


The morning of the settle in

So.... this was 'one of those days' if you catch my drift. My husband was away with work, I was battling with my decision to move my son from his preschool as he had already made lots of friends, which was something that he tended to find hard. Hes a very independent young man but is very shy in equal measures. He often prefers his own company than that of others. Anyhoo, he was adamant that he did not want to go to the taster session. I told him I would stay with him so he had nothing to worry about. I have to stress this part as I actually PROMISED him that I would stay with him for the three hours that he would be there 'tastering' (yeah I just made that word up). He insisted on taking his dolls and pram with him. Fine, this day and age we are more accepting blah blah blah. Even if the old lady on the cashier in the shop that I bought the doll from made me feel like the worst mother alive for allowing her son to have one. "Don't worry, he will grow out of it." Yeah alright, do you want my money or not? If I had had my way I'd have walked straight out of the shop but my son was desperate for the sodding doll so that was that.

So we all hopped into our mud and shit encrusted Hyundai. My pride and joy after my 110 Defender. The journey had previously taken 20 minutes but this was now rush hour. "Shit!" and "Bloody Hell!" escaped my lips several times as it suddenly dawned on me that I had signed my son up to a school that would take approx. 7008906 hours to get to at peak traffic times of the day. Now, I like to think that I'm normally pretty good at holding my tongue and checking my language. The little ones are like sponges after all... however this morning was an exception. My son had stayed pretty quiet in the back, which is unlike him anyway. I can only assume he was picking up on my tension. Then, as clear as a bell, "mummy?" "yea ,my darling?", "Bloody hell, I don't want to go to this new shit school". Ah man. Did I just hear that correctly?! What on earth would the blazer wearing, shake hands at end of lessons style teachers think of that???!!!!! I stayed quiet. I chose to ignore what I had heard.... "Bloody Hell! Bloody Hell! Bloody Hell!!!!!...." Again and again. I had to intervene. I explained that they were not nice words and if he ever heard mummy say them again then he should tell me off. Fine, he stopped. But I'd be lying if I said that there wasn't a part of me that was a little anxious about these words cropping up again later on mid taster sesh..... Yeah....cliff hanger....

The school

So upon arrival at Hogwarts (well it looks a bit like that in my opinion), we drove into the car park. At least I think it was the school car park. Either that or a Range Rover Sport (or as we call them down our way 'The Chelsea Tractor') garage. Range Rovers as far as the eye could see. I cruise in in my purple Hyundai. Luckily my son is at an age where such things are not an embarrassment and lets please hope that he stays that way.

We fall out of the car in a sea of biscuit crumbs, muddy boots and coats. I put my youngest in her baby carrier which has remnants of dribble trickling down at all times, but that is where she has always been happiest. We walked into the Reception Hall and waited for the Admissions officers to take my son and I through to the classroom. As we arrive, he is starting to look very nervous. The teacher gives us a welcoming smile and I explain that I would like to stay with Archie. "We don't normally encourage parents to stay for the taster session". She was very polite, but I had PROMISED my boy that I would stay, and what I had in fact heard was " Cut the umbilical cord you neurotic attachment failure as a parent". I was put out. I had to take his anxious fingers off of my t-shirt and told him that I would be back soon. He was distraught. He started the shouting.... Oh shit this was it! He was about to say it!!!! I passed him to the teacher and he gave her the biggest cuddle and had already stopped crying before I left. Thank God.

Looking at the classroom reminded me why we had chosen this school. The colours, the artwork, the photographs, the way it had been set up in a Montessori style with all of the drawers accessible. Yup, he would be just fine. I left the classroom and scuttled back to main reception to fill in some forms. A few minutes later one of the ladies who works in the preschool popped out to tell me that Archie was fine. They had told him that I was changing my daughters nappy and would be back soon. Hmmm..... how would you feel about this? Because for me, I had a problem. My son might only be three years old, but he is not an imbecile. He knows how long it takes to change a nappy! So two things already had pissed me off. They would lose my sons trust before he had even started! Am I being neurotic? Would you be upset by this too???

I killed three hours by visiting my aunty and uncle and drinking copious amounts of coffee. I was proud of myself for being calm, I didn't even call every hour to check on him!

The pick up

Arriving back at the school, I waited at Reception. The admissions officer brought him back out to me. He was chatting away to her (very unusual for him to talk to people that he isn't very well acquainted with) about how much he had enjoyed his day. He was smiling from ear to ear. Phew! Apparently he had been very polite, pleasant, and already had started building friendships. They offered him a place there and then (yes its the sort of school where THEY have to accept YOU).... As we walked out of the entrance hall, the main thing that caught my eye was the poster for sports day. 'Pimms and cake served throughout the day'. Score! Maybe this was my sort of school after all.... I turn to the lady on reception as I am about to open the door for Archie and thank her. I then turn to Archie, start to open the door but first ask him "how was your day poppet? Did you enjoy it?"..... "Yes mummy. I like this bloody hell shit school". Fuck. Lets get you home.


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