THE Beast has been in preschool for two days now and I already hate that poxy school run.
Can we pause for a minute actually to discuss the phrase ‘school run’. What does it mean? Do people actually run it? Like put on their runners and their sweat pants and jog up the road, children gaily ambling beside them? It’s an odd phrase, it feels weird in my mouth.
Anyway, whatever the origin, I’ve a pain in my hoop with it already.
You belt around the house like a lunatic packing bags and persuading children to eat something, then hustle them up the road, hurrying them along as they stop to examine every single leaf and stick, wrestle them into the school then walk the same way home. And then a scant couple of hours later you drag your carcass back up that damn road again and do the whole thing in reverse? And you do that every day for, oh, the next 14 years? WHO thought that was a good idea? Surely some sort of Star Trek transporter beam would be more efficient? I’ll have worn a path in the road in the shape of my footprints in another few months.
And I’m probably the jammiest mother on the internet right now because I only have one kid to drop off and we live within walking distance to our school, it’s only up the road, so it’s at the lowest end of the ‘Kill me now, Lord’ scale.
I know another parent in a bloggers group I’m in who spends TWO HOURS in the car doing drop offs and pick ups with various children. Others have to wrangle with school buses and staggered start times, or drive to the opposite side of town in rush hour traffic. I can’t even imagine it, they deserve medals.
I remember the long commute from my own school days – up at 6.30am, on a bus by 7.30am at the latest to travel miles across the city and then often not getting home until 5pm or later depending on traffic. Every day for my whole school career and it was the bane of my existence. I had almost forgotten about it, it was so long ago, until this week when I said the words ‘Hurry now, we don’t want to be late for school’ and I started getting flashbacks.
School run angst not withstanding however, we survived the first week at school and The Beast was a little trooper. There were some tears and a small amount of anxiety, of course. This is his first time away from me and it’s such a huge adjustment but he’ll get there.
He’s already mastered the art of telling me absolutely zero about what he’s been getting up to at school though, only two days in.
Me: So how was your first day? What did you do?
Him: I don’t know.
Me: Did you do colouring?
Me: Did you play with the toys?
Me: Do you remember any of the things you did?
On the second day he came out clutching some pages he had been colouring in and his teacher told me they had done puzzles, of which there is photographic evidence, and he had played with a little boy.
Me: Look at these pictures! Did you do some colouring and some puzzles and play with a little boy?
Him: I didn’t play with any toys, I didn’t play with anyone, I didn’t do anything.
On our way out we met The Beast’s pal Little Miss who is also in his class and is a veteran of the school having been there last year, so I thought I’d ask her what they had been doing as she’s a great little chatter, always full of news.
Me: What did you kids do today?
Her: *sighing* Nothing.
So there you have it. Our first week of school is done, I already hate the school run and The Beast did absolutely nothing.
THERE was a knock on the door the other week and it was a little lad from across the road looking for The Beast.
‘Is he comin’ out to play?’ the child asked, looking disappointed when I said that The Beast was with his Nana that day but would come out to play the next afternoon.
I barely managed to close the door before I burst into hysterical sobs – imagine, a friend calling for my boy. He has friends now. Kids that greet him on the street when we go to the shops, that run over to our garden when they see us out playing with trains on the driveway.
It’s too much for me, he’s growing up too fast, he’s not my baby any more, he’s a boy. A BOY!
DON’T LEAVE ME SON!
I had barely recovered when we got some post from his new pre-school, which he’ll be starting in September. Forms about allergies and vaccinations, names and addresses, boxes to tick. I can hardly believe the time has come around already but here we are, he’ll be heading off with his bag on his back and his lunchbox in just a couple of weeks.
DON’T LEAVE ME SON!
To send me further over the edge – sure why not – then we went to the shop and got all the stuff we needed to turn his cot into a toddler bed, complete with Thomas the Tank Engine duvet, the works. He hops in by himself now, he doesn’t need his little sleeping bag anymore, he has a big boy blanket. He’s delighted with himself while I’m doubled up with grief, sobbing into his pre-school forms trying to remember did I actually get him his 13-month vaccinations or did I forget. It’s all a blur.
And then today, Yer Man brought him off to get his hair cut in preparation for school, a good tight cut, a man’s cut, to last him until the mid-term break.
DON’T LEAVE ME SON!
Maybe it’s because I’m hepped up on pain pills from a tooth extraction yesterday (fairly brutal it has to be said) or maybe it’s because I’m a sap but I really just want to put a brick on his head and stop him from growing up and freeze him at this age forever.
It’s odd because when he was a newborn, I couldn’t wait for that stage to end. To be fair, it’s a really tough stage, particularly on a first baby as you’re totally flying blind and haven’t a notion what you’re at. But still, I kind of wished it away, I couldn’t wait for him to get a bit more independent, couldn’t wait for the night feeds to end, that sort of thing.
And it did end of course and once he started walking and talking I really found my groove with him and he with me and we’ve muddled along really nicely. And now I look at him and see that the baby stage is well and truly over, I’m sending him out into the world and he is truly a ‘big boy’ now.
It’s too much. My heart is broken. BROKEN! Pass me a few more Nurofen Plus there, go on, they can’t hurt, I AM BUT A SHELL OF A WOMAN!
I suppose I have to let him go, though, don’t I? Keeping him as my baby isn’t really an option. much as I’d like to. And I know that he’ll always be my baby even when he’s 40 and I know that even though he’s a big boy now he’s still only three, he’s still so tiny and still needs me so much. And I know that his having friends and going to school and having his own proper bed are all good things. They bring him joy and make him happy which is the most important thing.
Bye bye baby, baby goodbye …