My six year old was the first of my brood to go back to school yesterday. She has quite literally been counting down the days until she returned, much to the annoyance of her big sister and brother I must add. She is at that wonderful age where learning is still fun and she is bursting with enthusiasm. It’s so lovely to see her so excited about school and long may it last.
But my lovely little girl is a natural born worrier. She doesn’t handle change, even the teeniest tiniest of changes, very well at all and she takes very gentle handling. This makes me worry about her in a way that I have never had to worry about her siblings before. Going back to school is exciting but it’s also a huge deal for her. I have been talking to her for weeks now about how there would be changes this year. I find that it’s all about finding that balance between a gently gently approach (so as not to worry her) whilst still giving her all the facts that she needs (to set things straight in her own little mind) We talked about her new classroom, new teacher, new peg, new tray. We also talked about how mummy wouldn’t be coming into the classroom anymore now that she was a big girl in Year 2 (when did she get so big?!)
As she skipped across the playground yesterday morning, swinging her new lunchbox and admiring her shiny new shoes, I must admit that I was worried sick. Worried that she would be okay. Worried that I had explained all of the changes quite enough. Of course I hid my worry under big cheery words of encouragement as I squeezed her hand tight. I asked her if maybe I could come in with her today, just to see her new classroom. I couldn’t just leave her at the door. Not on her first day. And she thought that was a good idea too. I helped her find her peg for her coat then we went inside. I held back and hovered in the background, knowing that I had to let her do it on her own. I saw her serious little face as she looked for her tray to put her fruit in. Then find the cupboard for her lunchbox. I was right there behind her to swoop in should she have a wobble. But she didn’t. She was big and brave just like I knew she could be. Or more to the point, how I hoped she would be.
As she sat down on the mat with her little whiteboard and pen to hand, eyes firmly fixed ahead on her new teacher, I bent down and kissed her on the cheek to say goodbye. She was fine. Just fine. Me, not so much. And of course I went home to spend the whole day worried sick about how she would get on. Home time couldn’t come soon enough and when I got there to pick her up from school, I managed to sneak a glimpse of her through the window and she had a big grin on her face as she was packing her things away. When the door opened and she came running out, she gave me a huge (and much needed) hug and told me all about her day in glorious and minute detail. When she asked me how many hours until she went back to school in the morning, I knew she was okay. My beautifully complicated girl was more than okay.