The 5 Stages Of Preparing For Your Kid To Start 'Big School'
Pity me! Pity me! Alas, I am a mother with a first-born on his way to starting primary school in a few weeks time.
For the love of all that is good and holy, send the tissues and the wine.
My little man and I have had it good up until this point; we've spent a lot of time together (especially if you consider how many nights of the last five years he has spent in our bed at night), and he often tells me he loves me "the most out of anybody".
(When his dad is around, I protest that he must love everyone equally in our family - when we are alone, I nod and whisper; "I don't blame you, I am amazing")
But there is a change a-coming.. the countdown is on to his departure to junior infants and potential for growing up and - gasp! - moving away from the cutesy 'I love my mammy' phase that we have been in thus far.
He, to be fair to him, is pretty oblivious as to what is about to happen despite our chats about 'Big School', his new teacher and going to camp at the new school at the start of the summer.
I, on the other hand, am obsessed with what's coming. Obsessed.
Here are the 5 stages of preparing for your kid to start school:
Stage 1: Denial
We buried our heads so deep in the sand over our child's eventual requirement to attend primary school that we didn't even have one for him to go to until April of this year. Cue much back-tracking over preferred locations and essentially begging the one closest to us to take him in. They did. PHEW.
Stage 2: Anger
"Why do books and uniforms cost so much money? Why does society dictate that our children must go to school at all, wouldn't he be better off home schooled in an environment where we can keep an eye on him and oh my god what if we don't get on with his teacher and then we have to take him out anyway?! What. Is. The. Point. Of. Everything?!"
Stage 3: Bargaining
"Is there any way we could go live on a commune for a few years (one that serves wine and toasted Nutella sandwiches daily, obviously) and just see how we get on before committing him to the school system? Or what if I re-trained as a teacher and just made sure that he was only ever in my class FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE? That'd work, wouldn't it?"
Stage 4: Depression
I won't lie to you, there have already been tears. Granted, it has usually been over a few glasses of wine and when my other half and I start to reminisce about how little he and his sister used to be. We start talking about the day we brought them home from hospital or think about how far we've come in terms of learning how to be better parents. And then one of us mentions the new red and navy blue stripey tie that we just bought him with his school uniform and that's it: floodgates.
Stage 5: Acceptance
On my more balanced days, I know that this next step for Jacob is so very, very important and is going to be so good for him. I can't wait to see all the benefits he is going to reap from wonderful education in a great environment with his little peers. He has become so much more grown up this summer and I know more is to come and so, bring on September.
(But on the other days - pass the wine).
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