So, school. We’re whooshing up to the end of term and in between all the end of term drinks, (seriously, I think I’m going out more this fortnight then I have done for the rest of the year!), collections for teacher’s gifts, cake baking for the summer fair, (which I didn’t actually get round to, we weren’t even here that weekend but I still got told off by my darling daughter as she’s been instructed to tell me to ‘put a cake on the plate’.), and over tired melt down management, I thought I would reflect on what I’ve learnt so far in our first year.
Maybe you are coming up to your baby starting school, (do you feel the same as I did about it?), or maybe you are in the same boat and can nod along sagely. Either way, I hope you can enjoy my thoughts on parenting a school child.
Number 1. You will buy all the school kit through their official supplier. The jumpers will be monogrammed, the socks and hairbands will match the summer dress, you may even go to the lengths I did and buy the school logo emblazoned rucksack that is far too big to actually be of any use for the next few years at least. And by the time they do have the need for it, I’m pretty sure they shall want to choose their own, as it is, quite frankly, a bit hideous!
Number 2. About half way through the school year, (if that!!), you will become aware that your child has taken up a new hobby of ‘growing faster then ever’. You will switch to buying their uniform from a supermarket of your choice because a) everyone else does and b) the low prices mean that you won’t want to cry every time you realise that your daughter’s skirt is shorter then anything that you’d ever let her wear as a teen or that your son’s jumper has become a fetching knitted crop top.
Number 3. They will get through a lot of shoes. Seriously! We started with the whole ‘shoe shop experience’ all dead proud and glowy at the sight of our precious angel modelling her smart black, ‘toy in the heel’, (seriously, wtf? Firstly they are not allowed toys in school and secondly, they will lose a part of it within a week.), mary janes, feeling reassured that her feet will be well supported during her day of….sitting at a desk and only slightly wincing at the cost. 6 weeks later will see you grabbing a pair from the cheapest place you can find. Seriously! How do feet grow that flipping fast?!
Number 4. By the end of the year, somewhere in your house, you will have a ‘gallery of rubbish’. I’m not being mean to my wonderful daughter’s artistic abilities, (which are brilliant by the way, I shall have to dig out her hilarious drawing of ‘Daddy re-imagined as a ballerina’!), I literally mean rubbish. The children are given the contents of someone’s recycling bin, and a roll of masking tape and allowed to create as wildly as their imaginations will let them. The sympathetic glances from all the other parents will do nothing to stem the horror of the sight of your child leaving the doors with a winged aeroplane, almost bigger then themselves, complete with hanger and runway. Equally, you shall feel relieved and bestow the sympathetic glance upon the fellow parent when it’s their turn. Unless it is your friend’s child. In which case, you will most likely brightly compliment their child on their amazing tv/race car/tower of sweet tubs while shooting large smiles at their mum. Who will mutter at you to eff off under their breath before smiling and admiring the amazing construction that somehow needs to make it home. And can’t be thrown away. Ever.
Number 5. You will start out checking the lunch menu religiously and making the choice for the day with your child. This will very quickly wear off until the only time you know what they had for lunch is when they ask what dinner is and then tell you they had the very same thing for lunch.
Number 6. Your calm and organised mornings will be so rare that you will be able to remember them all. More often then not you will be the harridan screeching at your kids to get their teeth brushed and dragging a brush through their hair whilst attempting to listen to them read, threatening them with your tears before dashing out the door and trying to look calm and composed as you filter into the flow of other parents heading in. You will spot your fellow stressed Mamas within this flow, tugging at ponytails and dragging reluctant toddlers and share a look of solidarity.
Number 7. Sometimes the head will be on the gate. This adds an extra layer of pressure to not come in shrieking.
Number 8. You will have all school meetings/chats/visits sitting on tiny chairs. You will feel a little like Alice when she drinks the growth potion and attempt to hover slightly to prevent the abject humiliation of having the chair collapse under your, (slightly larger then a 5 year old’s!), bottom.
Number 9. You will realise near the end of the year that you had forgotten about the wellies you’d sent in at the start. A pang of guilt will strike you when you work out that these are now nearly 3 sizes too small. You may also only realise the games kit is too small when you see your child compete in sport’s day and their trousers reveal a good few inches of ankle!
Number 10. You will begin the year reading every email you are sent and carefully checking every piece of paper that comes home in the book bag, (all hail the hallowed book bag, keeper of all and slightly grubby after a year of daily use!), until you cotton on to the fact that it is a pretty relentless stream and not very much of it applies to you and resort to relying on the parental facebook group’s more organised members to tell you what is going on on what day. (Where were you on the day I only realised it was non uniform day as we joined the flow and noticed no one was in uniform, when I dropped a, (mouthed!), F-bomb and raced back in, shoving her into clothes that, as it happened, were too small huh guys?!) 😉
Number 11. You will know that certain things are on certain days. This will not stop you from having to search ‘show and tell topics’ on your email every week as you are walking out of the door. Or worse, in the school queue, prompting a desperate search in your pockets for something that could do.
Number 12. You will be exhausted. Seriously. How can it be so tiring?! A culmination of very late nights spent creating costumes that you only remembered about the day before, cramming a term’s worth of ‘special moments’ into the weekends and holidays because you can’t do anything during the week anymore and shouting yourself hoarse every morning, results in some serious tiredness. Plus dealing with your child who will be beyond exhausted by this point and more then likely fighting constantly with their sibling.