Phew. We’ve made it to the end of Austin’s first week at school.
It’s been an up-down kind of week. Tears and tantrums all round. Everyone is shattered….but relieved. It wasn’t that bad. School is going to be great.
But maybe not that great. Just like life, really.
Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way.
Forget the clean, pressed uniform, with brand-new shoes
Yes, of course you need to make sure your child has smart clothes on their first day. But DO NOT expect them to stay like that.
Your child will be returned to you in a jumper encrusted with white blobs, and a shirt that’s been smeared with unintelligible brown stains (which you hope arrived there in the dinner hall, not the bathroom).
Oh, and those well-fitting shoes that cost you squillions? Scuffed to bits.
Don’t. You’ll want your child to be recognised as a genius the moment they step through the door. But if you cut off their distinctive, unkempt Summer-locks, the only thing the teacher will see is a little boy who looks just the same as all the rest.
Except, he farts a lot.*
Teachers are just the same as they used to be
They’re programmed to give a good telling-off to anyone who breaks the rules, whether it’s pupils, siblings, or even Mum and Dad.
Five days in, and I’ve already been scolded twice. Once for taking a picture of Austin inside the classroom. And again for allowing my two-year-old to play unsupervised on the big climbing frame.
(Well, what do you expect? I was seeking solace in a semi-hysterical natter with some other bereft Mums. And there were plenty of squodgy six-year-olds around to break my daughter’s fall, anyway).
Teachers are the same…and so are you. When your child’s teacher wags a finger at you for parental naughtiness, you’ll instantly be transported back into your eight-year-old self. Were you a shrinking violet, always playing by the rules? Or a ‘f**k you’ type, flouncing out in a strop if you were caught misbehaving? Well, that’ll be you again, when your child’s teacher tells you off.
And it will happen.
Teacher is always right
Listen to teacher: you can natter with the other parents as much as you like. But do not take your eyes off your children in the playground.
My friend’s son was so excited by his first week at school, that he ran off. She eventually found him, trying to settle down for storytime with a load of year threes. And I had to call in the services of the executive and deputy heads on day three, when my daughter disappeared from the playground. She was discovered in a classroom, stuffing cutout numbers up her top.
That’ll be an after-school detention for Nell, then….
Yummy Mummy grooming
Even if you live in the glossiest part of la-la land, don’t bother too much with make-up in that first week. Not unless you want to end up with mascara leaving spidery tracks down your face, and a melange of snot and foundation hovering above your upper lip.
The blubbing comes unexpectedly. I thought I’d be in bits on Austin’s first day, like most of the other Mums around the school gates. But no, it was day three when it hit me.
He’s never coming back home for weekday lunches NO MORE EVER AGAIN.
The first full day your child spends at school is a time-Tardis. Six hours on the outside; thirty-six hours long in reality
What will you do with all that extra time? The only possible way to deal with the dilemma, is to make lists of all the things you’ll do in the hours at your disposal.
And then, by the end of the week, you’ll realise that you’re actually only doing the same amount of stuff as you were before. Except now you have time to make lists as well.
*this was the feedback I was given about Austin on day three.
How was your child’s first week at school?