The school yard journey

The school yard journey - Ever-changing Life of a MumIt’s going to be another big year of change in the Ever-changing Life of a Mum household.

If resigning from my job to spend more time with my family last year wasn’t enough, there’s more to come with my youngest daughter set to start school this week and our soon-to-be youngest baby girl due to arrive at the end of March.

With Miss 5 heading off for her first day at school this Friday, I’m wondering where those years have gone. It also brings back so many memories of my eldest daughter starting school.

It only feels like yesterday that Miss 9 walked through those school gates for the very first time. The whole idea seemed so daunting to me. I think I was more nervous than my daughter. Even though she’d been attending childcare several days a week, school was like a whole new ball game. The school grounds seemed so open. No more locked gates and doors to keep her safe and secure inside a building or yard. It was like I was letting her out into the big wide world for the very first time.

But my daughter was ready for school and settled in so easily that my emotions were kept at bay. No tears from either of us on that first day (maybe a little from her overly emotional father, ha!). I was so proud of her.

I only recall one morning about a week or so into term where she showed any sign of nervousness at school drop off, but with a little encouragement I saw her little body take a deep breath, smile at me through the tears starting to well in her eyes and walk into the classroom. My little girl who had clung to me like a monkey and cried at kinder drop off was growing up.

I had a delayed reaction to the whole thing. My tears came a couple of weeks into the term when I was driving to work after the morning school drop off. It was my first day back at work after taking a short break to ensure my daughter settled into school well.

My ipod was on shuffle and it started to play a song I hadn’t listened to before by Taylor Swift called ‘Never Grow Up’. And it hit me. Hard. I pulled into the car park at work with tears in my eyes. My baby girl, my first born was growing up and I would never be able to protect her in the same way as when she was a little baby. How simple and innocent everything was.

Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little. Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up, it can stay this simple.

“I won’t let nobody hurt you, I won’t let no one break your heart and no one will desert you, just try to never grow up, never grow up.”

– ‘Never Grow Up’, Taylor Swift

But the rules had changed and I now needed to guide her as she really started to explore the world and all its complexities and relationships.

Maybe it was a resistance to change, but I initially thought it would only take me six weeks or so to adapt to the new school routine, but honestly it was more like six months. I found the whole thing so restrictive, as in the past I could make childcare work around me, now I needed to work around school. I fought it, but it only made my feelings worse and in the end I learned to give in, go with the flow and accept this stage of our life for what it was. Once I did that, things became a little easier, although I still continued to feel like I was chasing my tail most of the time.

Now Miss 5 is on the brink of the very same journey. But it feels different this time. It’s more than just the ‘been there, done that’ attitude. I generally feel more in control and happier with my life at the moment. I released a lot of my stress and anxiety last year after making the decision to leave work, even though I’m sure many people thought I was going about this all backwards – both of my kids were almost at school, shouldn’t I be stepping up my career and getting into the driver’s seat, not clambering over to the back?

I will drop her off at school this Friday morning and, if her attitude to the prep transition program is anything to go by, hopefully all will go very well. I will come home and perhaps I’ll listen to that Taylor Swift song once more. Maybe I’ll shed a tear, but it will be one of happiness and acceptance for the next stage of our family’s ever-changing journey.

Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little. Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up, it could stay this simple.

“No one’s ever burned you, nothing’s ever left you scarred, and even though you want to, just try to never grow up.”

– ‘Never Grow Up’, Taylor Swift

Do you have a little one starting school this year? Is your son or daughter looking forward to it? How do you feel?

35 thoughts on “The school yard journey

  1. My eldest girl won’t start school until 2017 and I am absolutely dreading it! I don’t want her to go to school, I want her to stop growing and stay just the way she is right now at 3. My youngest had her first day of Daycare today and it’s total mixed emotions. Sad, because I miss her and I hope she is ok without me, excited because this is my first child-free day in ages with both of them at Daycare/Preschool on a Tuesday now, and because it means that I start Tafe next week.

    I’ve never heard that Taylor Swift song, I’ll have to look it up. Although today might not be the day to do that! I hope Miss 5 has a great day on Friday! #teamIBOT

  2. My three head back tomorrow and they will be Year 5, 4 and 2. I can’t believe this is going to be my SIXTH YEAR being a ‘school mum’. I find that crazy because I STILL don’t feel like I’ve quite found my feet. School is hard work to conquer, especially when you have more than one bairn on the go. But we do love our school and MOST of me is looking forward to going back tomorrow. Good luck to your Miss 5! The beginning of the beginning… x

  3. My daughter started school today and she is so excited about it all that her happiness has made me happy about it. So I haven’t cried yet, though I feel like I should be. Maybe one day soon she will have a hard day and I will crack too. In the meantime we are just going to take it one day at a time.

  4. Even though I’m 2 years out from kindy age… Already worried about the choices that come with it like choosing schools etc. Eeeekkkk… Can’t they stay little 🙂

    • First drop off for Miss 5 was a little rocky – there were tears when it was time to leave. Hopefully things will improve as she begins to understand the school routine, etc. It’s such a big day with so much information to take in! And with bubs due in March, I’ll be doing it all again in another 5 years!

  5. It goes by so fast! I remember my first starting school and now this year she is completing year 12! My youngest started school last year, so this year heading into year one, she was an old hand and knew everything!!

  6. I had my second son start this week. Luckily he transitioned so easily it wasn’t difficult for either of us. But when he went back to see his Kindy teacher, I got a bit choked up and sniffled a few tears then because it just made me realise how much he is growing!

    Hope everything went well and continues to next week.

  7. I’ve never heard that Taylor Swift song before (just had to google it) but it’s given me a lump in my throat. I kids are actually so much more resilient than us. I had a pretty wobbly week last week and I just don’t think it’ll ever get easier – they’ll always be our babies some how. My Mr 8 would now be mortified if I ever showed any sign of emotion anywhere near him at school these days!! lol x

  8. It is so bittersweet watching our kids grow up and reach milestones. I was looking at my son last week and thinking how nice it is that we have one more year before he starts school (and joins his big sister). Not so sure how I will be this time next year!

  9. Oh those transition times are always hard for the whole family and especially for mom. I remember when my oldest left home for university. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I managed to keep it together for my son’s sake, but the tears flowed once I got in the car. That song is so poignant! Thanks for linking with Mummy Mondays #Team MM

  10. What a great post. I like what you said about not feeling settled with school for the first 6 months, I think I will end up a bit overwhelmed now that my eldest has just started. Like you said, day care is pretty flexible. I have to do what I’m told with school! Already the logistics of drop off and pick up have thrown me. Pick up time is when my twins are asleep! Have to figure that one out.

    • I definitely found child care more manageable when I was working as you could fit it in around you. School hours are more restrictive, but it’s obviously much easier now that I’m not working. But I am wondering how I will fit in drop off and pick up around baby #3’s sleep times when she arrives in March, but I guess it will work itself out! If you have any advice, let me know!

  11. I’ve held my boys back this year. I know they’ll be fine when they go next year, after all, they’ll have each other. But I know I will be an emotional mess. Like blubbering, crazy mess.
    I hope it all went well with your little one. x

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  13. Gorgeous post. Welcome to the life of a mum of 3. 🙂 We had our third last May, how crazy busy is it? Our first child started school this year. He was excited but nervous at the same time. Two terms in and he is just thriving. It’s amazing how much these little people can learn in such a short period of time. My third will start school in 2019!! (Not that I’m counting)

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