Coming to you live from Cough Central, where the blast of wintry cold is beginning to scratch away at our good humour, and even dampened my enthusiasm for the return of the much anticipated series of Offspring.
The kids are looking a little strained, over it and in much need of couch time (me too!), and I just bundled the litttlest in to creche with tears and a slight breaking of my heart.
But alas; today is the last day of term. The last day of semester 1 in fact. My brain is weirdly even jumping ahead to the realisation that my son will be a big Year 1 soon enough, and people are starting to ask if my baby girl will be in Kinder next year.
But now that I am an ‘old hand’ at this school gig, it’s time to run through a few things that I have learnt at this point in the education proceedings from a new parent perspective.
- My son can clearly wipe his own bottom. Sorry to launch here, but this is BIG in my life. He has survived 2 terms with clean jocks and a smile, hence I am going to call it… 1 down, 1 to go.
- I no longer need to hold his little hand all the way down to his line, nor hang around like a goose every day waiting for the morning assembly. He is more than capable of school car drop off (supervised by an angelic parent helper). In fact he really likes it. It’s just me who doesn’t. This morning it all happened so quickly I didn’t get a chance to kiss him good-bye. But he smiled and waved at me proudly like a big boy.
- On the whole drop-off/pick-up note, I can now…are you ready for this…PARALLEL PARK. Sure it may involve a number of shuffles and choice words, and some serious venting about other cars who could have parked closer together, but I have gritted my teeth and faced my fears.
- I have also learnt that sometimes it’s just better to throw the raincoats on and walk.
- When reading with your 5 year old, repetition is FUN and you must SMILE about the fact that, “Tony likes bananas. Tony likes apples, AND Tony likes oranges.” BUT, you must accept that the word ‘like’ on one page, clearly looks completely different on the next page, and your 5 year old may need to sound it out every single time. And you will smile and encourage him. Because that is how patient parents assist their kids with their reading. You would not wish to be the parent that squawks, “LIKE (sweetheart)!! It’s LIKE! Tony LIKES flippin’ grapes’ as you stir the spaghetti at the stove.
- School lunches are still the bane of my life and I am terrified that I am going to receive one of those naughty notes from the Principal…but I still put the muffins in. Wild, I know.
- If I ask my son, “What did you do at school today?’, I often get crickets. The trick is to wait until bed time. This is when the flood gates open and it is his moment to tell you all about the book he read, the poster he drew, the fabulous toy that Billy J has, what words he can spell, how much more money he needs for night vision goggles and who won the epic game of ‘tip’ at lunchtime. I am torn between hearing about his world, and shutting shop down for the day.
- When the call goes out for “Parents Night Out”, book the babysitter and tell them it’s going to be late. Clear everything the next day and wear comfortable shoes for dancing. Put a group of child free adults in a room at night time, and you will discover that ‘Thursday night Uni night’ was just a practice run for this.
- My son is an excellent judge of character. The mums of his little friends are FABULOUS wine drinking companions and THAT is crucial.
- Most days I am at home with my 3 year old. I also juggle this with working from home a couple of days a week, (which I am actually hugely grateful for), however this means that school has fast become my community. I am still loving that people call out “hello” over the fruit and veg at the supermarket, toot their horn if they spot me walking and tell me what vitamins got their kids over the sniffles at the chemist. In a relatively new city without family, this connection is incredibly special to me.
- Even a kinder kid needs a ‘well’ day now and again.
- Bring tissues to the big assemblies. All those cute kids in over-sized uniforms, holding pictures and telling us what makes them happy, gets me every time. And don’t even start me on the songs they sing. Cuteness overload.
- I am a people pleaser. I loved school myself and even ended up as a teacher, so I still feel a little in awe of the staff (knowing all that they do and then some). But I will tell you this; a teacher who genuinely tears up when you tell them something special about your son is a keeper. It is her smile that my son will seek out for reassurance in the classroom, and her hand that he will hold when he falls over, and whilst this takes some adjusting on my behalf, I am completely grateful for her care.
So here we go…with the sounds of Madonna’s “Holiday” ringing through my brain, I wish you a happy and safe break with no lunchboxes to prepare.
May the iPad be charged, your craft activities out-sourced and the couch cuddles be long.
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