Here you come little ones. Tired eyes, grubby faces, pen marks and half your pudding on your jumpers, grazes on your knees.
It is 3.10pm, and you fling your tired little arms around me; sometimes your legs too. What you’d really like is for me to carry you home but I can’t do that, lovely boys. You’re too big now, you see. So you make do with a snack instead.
Another day is done.
How much information I get from you on what today has involved is variable. Sometimes you are full of excitement, struggling to put your sentences into the right order. Other times, I can tell I have asked one question too many and I need to stop, because you really want to just be. And that’s ok boys. We can just be.
Occasionally, you give me confused little snatches of information about new friends:
You say – “I talked someone new at lunchtime today, mummy.”
I say – “Well that’s lovely sweetheart, well done.”
You say – “When can he come and play at our house?”
I say – “Well, what’s his name, darling?”
You say – “I don’t know his name, mummy. But he would like to come and play. He told me.”
You are muddling your way through this making friends in the playground business; gradually working out, step by step, how it all works. I would love to secretly watch you just for 5 minutes, but I will have to content myself with the scraps of information that you share.
We get home and sometimes there is fun, but more often there is an overwhelming desire to do nothing other than flump on the sofa. Always, you are ravenous. Ridiculously so, even though you’ve got your stickers showing that you ate all your lunch. And always, the mood is fragile. At any point one of you might break down; and it could be over anything. Proper heartache, proper puddle-like tears. All day you’ve listened, you’ve behaved, you sat on the carpet when you were told to and remembered to cross your legs. And 6 hours of behaving and listening and going by a timetable that isn’t your own when you’re 4 is…..well it’s really hard work. And sometimes, when you get home, you need to let rip. Sometimes it’s ugly. Sometimes, the only way I can deal with it is by leaving you to it. You don’t want to talk, you don’t want a cuddle, you just want to let off steam. It can be ugly; but I understand. Because you are coping with something huge, and we all need a safe place. Home is your safe place; and I wouldn’t want it to be anywhere else.
And look at where we are now – we have almost reached half term, your very first half term of school; and you have done magnificently well. You really have. The other day you looked at your class photo and named every single child. Over 20 new faces and you knew them all. A new place, new faces, more structure, being told to go here, go there, sit down, stand up. Remembering which group you’re in, getting changed for PE, working out what PE is and why you have to call your PE teacher ‘Coach’ when he doesn’t even drive a coach. That isn’t easy to get your head around when you’re 4. Going to the hall for lunch, carrying your little trays, sitting in that dining room which seems teeny to me but must seem enormous and noisy and confusing to you. These things, boys, these are a big deal. They really are. And you are doing it. You are coping. You and all those other amazing little new starters.
So now, as you continue on your school adventure all I want for you is this – have fun and enjoy. Be kind, make new friends, roll down the hills, run and jump and don’t worry about your grazed knees or mucky jumpers. Don’t worry about your reading levels either – we’ve got plenty of time for that. Just enjoy it all while it is still fun. Because before you know it, school gets pretty serious. And because a good, solid, happy start to school – well, that is the thing that will set you in the best stead. Everything else will come.
You are managing it all, boys. And I could not be prouder.
Well done new starters – you are amazing. x