This week JJ will start junior primary school. I think we are both as apprehensive as each other but we’re both trying to put a brave face on it. He’s apprehensive because it’s a big change for him and he’s really going to miss all his childcare friends (both teachers and kids). He also won’t really know anybody at his school so for the first couple of weeks it’s going to be hard on him, and on me until he adjusts to his new routine.
We’ve put together a little present for the staff at childcare and we’ve crafted a card. He chose the shocking pink cardboard, I wrote a message in it and he dictated a message for me to write. It says:
‘I love all my friends. I love you wider than the sky. You’re beautiful. You’re like a rainbow in the sky. You’re pink as everything in the whole wide world.’
He definitely knows the right things to say to his predominantly female carers and they will love him even more for it.
Back to starting school. I’m apprehensive and a little worried because up until now his care when apart from me, I’ve known all about and known that if he needs any help that staff are on hand to deal with his just about every need. This will be different at school. At our last school visit I asked him if he knew where the toilet was. He didn’t, so I showed him after asking a group of big kids if this was the correct one. Will he think to ask the question if he can’t find the toilet or will he just hold on and eventually wet his pants?
I talked to him today and told him that he’s never allowed to leave the school grounds without me, his family day care worker who’ll be picking him up for after school care, or his auntie. He didn’t really seem to take on board what I was talking about. Up until now, at childcare, he’s been fenced in and physically not able to leave. I don’t think he will just run off but it’s something at the back of my mind.
I remember when a good friend of mine’s daughter started school she said she felt that she was losing control over her daughter’s life. She was going to be influenced more by people outside the home and family/friends unit than ever before. I feel a bit the same. Maybe we’re both control freaks or maybe we’re just thinking, caring parents. In my case I would say it’s a bit of the former and more of the latter. Not all these influences are going to be good and it’s really hard to know how to teach your child to tell the differences between good and bad influences. Plus, most of us parents used to get up to no good at some stage and we don’t want our kids to do the same silly things.
In addition, childcare is open nearly all year round – they only close for a bit over Christmas and New Year. School is considerably different because of the 12 weeks holidays throughout the year. I’m sure it will all work out with vacation care but it’s a pain in the arse because it’s something extra I have to think about and plan.
I’m also going to have to prepare his lunches five days a week and childcare used to do that for me. It will be an extra chore I’ll have to do the night before when I come home from work. So it’s all the little details, half of which I don’t probably even know about yet. I will not miss paying the same amount of childcare fees though.
The upshot is, my little boy is growing up and it’s happening so damn fast.