I have been a newbie school mum for three days now – packing lunch boxes and watching the clock each morning so my boy is lining up with all the other kids wearing velcro-strapped school shoes on time.
It’s been a baptism by fire for me as I get used to the daily routine and rhythm of school mornings. But also, as I carry all the emotions, thoughts and fears you have when your child starts school for the first time.
If you are also a newbie school parent, maybe you are having them too? Fist bump!
1. Can he open that?
Will he be able to open the clicky snaps of his snack box lid? We practised it, but what if he’s forgotten? And I hope he remembers that I tore his muesli bar wrapper a little already when he struggles to open it?
Oh, and what if he gets too distracted by a cicada climbing up the branch of a tree to remember to eat his lunch at all, and then gets hungry?! Argh, I hate not being there to nudge him along …
2. What if he has an accident?
What if he gets too absorbed in what he’s doing to go to the toilet when he needs to?! Or maybe he’s feeling too shy to put up his hand and tell the teacher he needs to wee?
He has spare undies and shorts in his bag and he knows this, but will he feel embarrassed if he needs them? Oh I wish I could just pop in and tell him, “These things happen. It’s OK. Next time, just go to the toilet when you feel you need to and don’t leave it until you are busting.”
But I can’t.
3. Wah, this is every day!
School mornings are such a slog. There is so much to do and we are running by the clock. All it takes is for a sock not to have been paired or a drink bottle to have gone walkabout for us to be late.
I need to be more organised. I need to start packing his bag the night before. Man, I hate school days already, and we are not even facing the “I don’t want to go” battle yet.
4. Is he missing me?
I know that I miss him, but is he missing me? I don’t want him to. I want him to be having fun, making friends, doing things that stimulate his little brain and give him a confidence boost because he’s learning.
But what if he is? Maybe he needs me to draw a love button on his hand so he can press it when he needs. Gosh, I love him so much!
5. I should have bought more lunchboxes
Seriously? Three days in and we are already down two lunch boxes? How can he have lost them already? I should have bought more backups. What time does Kmart shut tonight?
I will lecture him AGAIN about putting them back in his school bag (and check they haven’t turned up in lost property with that name label that – at the time – I was so smug about sticking on, as if that was going to stop things from getting lost!).
6. I should bake healthy lunch box snacks
Hmm, I am packing too many packaged snacks. Healthy-ish, yes, but still not homemade. Thank goodness for Crunch and Sip easing my mum guilt about that – cucumber slices and fresh fruit for the win!
But I wonder if I could get all Martha Stewart today and bake some homemade healthy snacks? Like low-sugar oat muffins? Oh, who are you kidding? You have to work today! Maybe on the weekend you can and freeze them? Other parents do that, right?
7. Will he know what to do
This morning I was like: “Your Crunch and Sip box is purple, remember? And your art smock is in this pocket of your bag, and … ” To which he replied, “Mu-um, I know. You don’t have to worry. Can we go to school?”
But I do worry, because you are my little love and it wasn’t that long ago that I held your hand as you stumbled through your first steps. Let me mother you and worry about all the little things, because that’s what I do!
8. Will he be lonely?
He tells me he doesn’t play with anyone but just “walks around” at recess and lunch. He seems happy though to be doing this and I think he’s just finding his way.
But is he lonely? Is he wanting friends? I will help him by reminding him how to approach friends and what he can do to get playmates, because maybe he isn’t sure how to?
9. Is it 2.30pm already?
Oh crap, it’s pick-up time already. And I STILL haven’t put away the washing or paid those bills.
School days are short. And pick-up time is on the dot! I better go, but oh … where are my keys?