Term 3 in Australia is cranking up and my little man is still loving school.
But am I?
He has made some gorgeous friends, works with incredibly patient and creative teachers and his independence is soaring.
It seems (*sigh) my baby is growing up.
It’s just that, what I haven’t really shared with you are all the other little surprises I have discovered along the way. I know on the other side of the world, there are a lot of parents getting ready to send their little ones along to school for their first day. I am sure it will be absolutely fabulous, but I just wanted to make sure you are well and truly prepared.
Here are perhaps some of the things that you aren’t really told about on Orientation Day and could never really be ready for anyway; the good, the bad and the stuff I’m still muddling through.
- You will leap blindly from knowing everything about your child through to welcoming home a little person with a whole new world happening well outside of your arms.
- As the months go by, slowly but surely, they will begin to read to you. You will snuggle on the couch with a school reader and his little finger will skip along the page and your baby WILL BE READING!
- My little boy is now way too cool for Fireman Sam and just wants to watch noisy, irritating middle aged men play video games on YouTube.
- You are no longer their Primary Caregiver for over 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, and whilst I was initially buzzing with the thrill of this, there are days when I still gulp with the pain of not having my baby boy near.
- They will come home with a band aid on their knee from a playground fall and when you ask if they had a little cry, your heart will rip when they reply that they did.
- They will wander around the place singing new songs that you have never heard before.
- There is a lot of discussions about one’s penis. Poo and wee jokes have slowly dropped off, but the mighty penis gag is in, despite discussions about when it is appropriate to talk about one’s private parts. Whilst we have been encouraged to normalise the correct term of one’s genitalia, this can back fire when he becomes a little too comfortable with the whole discussion.
- On that note, there is also a zing of shock when he asks you to shut the bathroom door when he is showering. Look, I am incredibly proud that he is growing up, but it still slaps you in the face when your baby WHOM YOU KNOW INSIDE AND OUT requests privacy.
- That holiday that you were planning? So long cheap flights and fabulous package deals. You now have to stick to school holiday dates. And OUCH!! Watch them double in price.
- You will no longer know all about your child’s toilet habits…whilst I am rejoicing that I am no longer required to wipe his bum, it is also kind of odd jumping to a void of no involvement.
- He now wants what the other kids have. All the time. Everything. Why don’t we have a house with stairs? Why is our garden so small? Why can’t he have an X-Box like Bob? Why can’t he have a dog like Bill? And when I say ‘wants’, I mean DEMANDS! Why can’t we go buy one this weekend? He now believes he is of an age where he has the right to negotiate. Good luck.
- School is insanely busy. I am struggling to put everything on the calendar, whilst keeping up with cake bakes, fancy dress, discos, permission slips, School Mass, excursions, kinder helper dates; and that is a tip of the ice-berg. AND I only have one child at school!
- Every day, I send him off to school with a drink bottle and a lunch box. He is still not smart enough to throw any leftovers in the bin, but it breaks my heart to think that sometimes he has gone nearly 7 hours on one apple and three bites of a roll. He has always been a fussy eater, but the hangry boy at 3.15pm is not so fun.
- My kids actually miss each other. The neck strangling hugs with his little sister at pickup appear genuine and this even lasts till for a whole ten minutes or so…until they disagree about who can walk the fastest or who stood on the cracks in the footpath or anything else of absolutely no importance.
- At this stage, the teachers tell me he is a kind boy. They tell me he uses his manners. They tell me he smiles a lot. They tell me he socialises well with the other children. They tell me he is trying hard. I cannot tell you how proud this makes me; but it is also an incredible relief to know that he is genuinely a good boy and I will hold my breath that this will continue.
All penis jokes aside, waving your baby good-bye is tough. Then rolling through the terms as you contend with a tired boy, a sick boy, a grumpy boy; a little boy whose brain is filling up so fast with planets and numbers and patterns and sight words that he sometimes simply cannot manage everything and occasionally spirals in to meltdown. But oh the joy of literally watching everything suddenly start to click together in his little brain is absolutely compelling viewing.
But even so, whilst the calendar is full, so is my heart.
He is safe, he is happy, he is part of a loving community and…well…it had to happen sooner or later…he is growing up.
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