#1081 The first day

Oh man. What a day.

Such anticipation.

Such excitement.

Such hesitation.

Such nerves.

Such anxiety.

Such BIG FAT TEARS.

And it was ALL me.

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Why does our mind play tricks on us? Play silly games, and make us want to sob even harder when all I am trying to do is pull a very-watery poker face?

Watching her walk into the classroom with the other students, it asks me “look how she has grown. She used to be sooo small.”

Sob.

Walking away from the school. Regret. “It went too fast… you didn’t get to take a photo with her there.”

Sob.

Drowning my bittersweet sorrows with Hubbie over strong coffee. Our eyes are glistening. I verbalise my thoughts.

“Remember when she was born, and how she entered the world all curious, looking around the room?”

I then looked up to the bright blue sky, and proceeded to –

SOB SOB SOB.

It has been a day of the pendulum swinging one way, and thenveryquickly swinging back again.

And I have to say, with this emotional roller coaster, I am so glad the first day jitters are over.

For both of us.

When we picked her up, she saw us and ran forward excitedly.

And in that moment I realised that my silly fears were unjustified. Sure she would grow. Sure she would learn and develop, change, as every person on this planet continues to as we go through life.

But she will always be our beautiful, caring, happy, loving girl.

She will forever be, our baby girl. ♥♥♥

#1080 The day before prep

I didn’t think I would be too bad. We even bought school shoes this morning and everything, and yet no overwhelming emotion struck me at what the next day held…

I thought, ‘I am going to be ok.’

It didn’t hit me, until I was at the Coles check out.

Baby girl started to squirm and bounce around a little, and before I verbalised the feared signs I knew so well, she told me she needed the loo.

I had just unloaded all our shopping onto the conveyor belt. There was a lady being served in front of me, but she was with her elderly mother who was in a wheelchair, and had groceries of her own she was paying for, and was then divvying up her mother’s groceries, so that it was taking some time for the check out guy to work it all out.

I hesitated. For a moment, I questioned…

‘Should I let her go to the toilets alone?’

It was a mini shopping centre we frequented weekly, if not more often. Baby girl knew where they were. She wouldn’t get lost, surely.

But there were so many people that day. It was packed, being the last day of holidays for so many… Mums and Dads and kids and grannies and grandads, all milling around like chains and locks were going to be wrapped around the shopping centre’s entrance the next day.

I pondered it, for a few moments. I even asked baby girl how she felt about going on her own.

But then I realised, strongly. HELL NO. She was 5. Regardless of that… I could not let her go.

I explained to the check out guy I had to take baby girl to the toilets, and amazingly we were back in time as the two ladies finished up and he started setting up my reusable bags.

But the grocery shopping, or the toilets, wasn’t EVEN the point.

I was suddenly filled with anxiety, dread, fear and paranoia, all at once.

I could not let her go… but I had to.

I saw that the contemplation of letting her go a couple hundred metres on her own, had filled me with such unease, but it was a situation that was completely unavoidable.

Because at one stage or another, I had to let her go. And suddenly, my time was up.

Because tomorrow is the start of prep.

Most of the day has been spent preparing for it. In between ironing on labels to her school clothes, I’ve spent the other moments just staring at her with a frozen smile, willing her face at that time into my memory forever.

Setting up her lunchbox and bag, and then playing with her, letting her drag it out for another minute, then another minute…

Telling her how proud we are of her…

And then bursting into tears the next minute.

Get a grip! I told myself. You are picking her up at 12:30! After the half-days, you will still be together from 3:30!

But I can’t kid myself. It’s not just the time. It’s the beautiful moments shared. The slow wake-ups together, the kisses and cuddles in bed… her asking me what the plans are for the day, and me surprising her with promises of babycino café visits or the beach.

It’s all the little moments. It’s not even anything momentous or eventful. It’s the everyday occurrences, which will be replaced by routine, and order, and responsibility…

And she will be exposed to people, environments, and things that I can not control.

It scares me.

I am excited by what is to come for her, for us… really I am.

But I am so afraid, that the innocence in her that I have loved, and nurtured, and seen thrive… will be lost.

Will she change? Will she be the same?

What will this new life stage bring?

So much happiness has come before us, and I am terrified it will end.

Friendships might change her.

Harsh truths will be learnt.

Tears will be shed.

And I am freaking out about it all.

I don’t even know how this is a gratitude post, other than to say this day before prep, was a beautiful one. Telling each other how much we love one another… and now the tears won’t stop rolling, so I think it’s time I go.

Wish me her luck.

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#1025 That he also had a tough day

It may seem awfully cruel and mean-spirited for me to be happy, grateful even, that today, Hubbie had a trying day with baby girl.

But you really need to see it in context.

A couple of days ago I was sitting at the dinner table, my head in my hands, telling him how I wanted to rip my hair out!

Baby girl was in a weird way lately. Talking back constantly. Arguing at my every request. Putting up a fight for any little thing possible. It was insane. I didn’t want to let her get away with it, so it meant me constantly telling her what she was saying or doing was wrong or not nice, and this in itself created more of a cycle of stress!

He chuckled to himself while watching me.

“You think this is funny? I’ll ask you on Wednesday if you think it’s so funny. GOOD LUCK.”

It wasn’t a wish. It was a challenge.

Today, Wednesday, I got home from work – LATE. I had had to make a stop on the way home, and leaving so much later meant I was on the Monash freeway later…. and I crawled, I swear, for the entire stretch of freeway. I had left the city at 5:10, and I got home before 7pm.

ARGH.

But I was happy. I was home. The sun was out. I moved towards the front door, and as I turned the corner –

swoosh! a butterfly had been hanging around on our fly screen door, and as I came closer it flew off, almost colliding with my face.

It gave me such a shock, and rattled my nerves so much, that it took me several minutes to calm the fuck down still my beating heart.

Inside, I went to give baby girl a kiss. As I leaned down to kiss her head, she went all baby girl on me, and jumped excitedly…

OUCH! Her head hit my lip, and the pain seared all over.

I stomped upstairs, to find a red bruise on my lips.

Great. Just fucking great.

I was now seriously peeved. I had come home, wanting respite from the mammoth traffic jam that had been my route home, and instead was assaulted by winged insects and young girls. I may as well have stayed at work.

Instead I sat down with Hubbie and baby girl to eat. He had made pan-fried chips with our dinner, as I had requested last night. This made me happy, as when I said it I hadn’t seriously expected him to do it – but he did. We ate in silence, as he was breathing heavily with his own shit weighing upon him, and I had my own reasons as to why I was major cranky-pants – and then there was baby girl in between us, chowing down on her pasta.

Once enough food had gone into us, we started to open up, and talk…

And he began to tell me all the ways in which she had been difficult that day.

Arguing at the park. Falling over. Crying. Having it her way – ALL DAY. Making him buy her stuff. Squirting him with water when they washed the car. Insisting she went out to ride her bike in the maximum heat of the day at 5pm.

He said he had gained 10 grey hairs just that day.

“Ha!” I exclaimed. “And you were laughing at me days ago? Now do you see why I am the way I am???”

He didn’t say a word, instead a small grin coming onto his face. He knew I was right.

“Sorry, but not sorry…. suffer in your jocks.”

And though the most juvenile thing to say, it was actually the most fitting and he took it well… after all, the hose had gone in that direction.

(And then we proceeded through all the nagging talk to still bestow upon baby girl a million kisses by bedtime 🙂 She always wins.)

#1018 The Primary Transition

She clutched onto me, hid behind my back, and shrieked out when any of the other parents/ her new teacher tried to get her to sit down with the other kids.

Uh oh. We were reverting back to the old days.

The days where I had to beg her to enter her kinder class. The days where I questioned what I was doing wrong. The days where I pulled at my hair (and wits end) wondering how in the hell to make her calm and happy about being in a room full of kids she didn’t know???

But instead, we let her be. Today, on this 3rd transition day at her primary school, she stood back at first as the kids partook in a ‘movement,’ sport-like class… and once given the option to start jumping on coloured spots and acting like an animal…

She literally jumped right in.

Maybe it was the end of the day and she was getting tired. Maybe she was hungry. Maybe it just felt all too real, and suddenly she was really seeing herself going to this new school – new kids, and even a new teacher!

But despite her initial hesitation and fear, she ended up being amazing. She willingly participated. Her animal of choice was the meerkat, and she put her hand up, offered the suggestion, and all the kids started to act like meerkats as they ran from coloured dot to coloured dot.

OMG. What a 180 from only 10 minutes earlier.

It was a wonderful afternoon. I saw her character. I saw her kindness. I saw her eagerness. And I saw that she still needs us, now more than ever… but she will do ok. She will be ok.

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And just like this clay creation she made in her art session, I think it will all come together. All the colours and shapes out there, textures and concepts that are the kids and teachers next year, they will all come together like her picture, and find a way to stick. A way to work. A way to be beautiful, creative, and inspired.

♥♥♥

#1016 Her boldness

‘Gee she’s a handful.’

That was my thought this afternoon. Another Monday, another swimming lesson. Baby girl was in the lane with another girl and two boys.

4 this week. It was full.

I watched her as she splashed deliberately when the teacher drew near. She jumped up and down repeatedly, bobbing into the water wholeheartedly, her entire head disappearing from view.

When they had to push off from one side, she took off prematurely, and the teacher, for what I observed was about the 6th time that day, said “baby girl, go back, not yet.”

The others kids stood there – taking off when requested. Sitting patiently. Responding when spoken to.

And here baby girl was, kicking her feet wildly as other kids swam up to her end of the lane, giving them a good mouth full of foam.

She was a handful.

I watched her – silently praising the teacher for being so calm, while I was also alert, waiting for baby girl to look over to me up at the benches, so I could wag my finger at her, and tell her to listen to the teacher by pointing to my ear.

She didn’t look.

I thought about her character. I looked at the other kids. She was so full on! She couldn’t sit still! Sure, she was a tad younger than them, therefore their maturity was perhaps a tad more advanced…

But why couldn’t she just, listen?

Wait a minute, I suddenly asked myself. What was she doing wrong?

She was swimming…. YES.

She was listening… YES.

She was partaking in all of the swim class activities… YES.

She was being nice to the other kids… YES.

So then why did I feel a need to shush her? Stop her? Keep her still?

I suddenly realised, I was wrong.

I didn’t want to do ANY of those things to her.

Baby girl, is BOLD. The world will try to dim her light as she grows up, just as it does so for everyone else.

Why should her Mum then be adding to that shadow?

So what if she shrieks a little too enthusiastically?

So what if she is splashing all over the damn place (it is a bloody swimming pool)?

So what if she takes off too early because she is too keen and loves swimming too much?

SO WHAT?

I want my girl to have a voice.

I want my girl to be passionate.

I want my girl to be expressive.

I want her to have fun.

And she achieves all that by being BOLD. Loud. Flashy. In your face.

And I realised, so she should. 

Why should she live in the box? Adhere to the straight and narrow. Tell me… what has the ‘straight and narrow approach’ ever achieved?

I want her to nurture the fire in her belly, promote that kick in her step, and move forward through life knowing she can do and say and be whoever the hell she wants.

Without anyone wagging their finger at her 😉

And if that means being a splashing, loud and over-enthusiastic child, then SO BE IT.

I sat there smiling for the rest of the class. And when the teacher put her hand up high at the end of the lesson for the kids to try reach it for a high-five, when baby girl launched at her and water spray went everywhere…

I giggled and put my hand over my mouth. World, watch out.

#1011 Feeling good about primary school

I’ve been missing the end of kindergarten, even though we still have weeks left of it.

Kindergarten is just different. Smaller classes. A few teachers. 20ish kids, and since you have been seeing them several times a week for the last year, you know them sooo well, as you do their parents.

The kids can explore. Out in the yard they go, giving grass a haircut, making bird feeders, and watering the flowers. Weekly cooking is a must, and in Winter it is soups and scones, whereas in the warmer months we see things like mini berry muffins and juices.

Although it is a small place, it is set amongst big trees… a big yard. It makes the premises, and everything within it, look that much smaller.

Everything is smaller at kindergarten. And I’ve realised, I like it like that.

Because, with small kids there are small problems. But with big kids… yep, you get it.

It has been a very bittersweet time for me. Because although I am excited about baby girl starting primary school next year, I have been missing what she won’t have, before it has even ended.

Today, during her second transition day at her big primary school… I realised something.

Not THAT much will change next year.

Sure, new school. New kids. Not just a class of 20, but maybe 4 of those. Many teachers. Many yard areas. Longer days and weeks.

But as I looked around the prep area today, I noticed…

The parents. They all looked really nice and respectable. I could be friends with any of them.

The familiar faces. I already knew half a dozen of them, as there were 6 kids coming from baby girl’s kinder. And it wasn’t just the familiarity of the kids, but the parents too, who I got even more acquainted with today.

The yard. Sure the equipment was bigger. But it was still kid-friendly, and there was bark underneath it.

The vibe around us was that of innocence. Naivety. There were still big trees, but this time they were set amongst buildings.

There was still happiness.

This brought me to my conclusion.

They are getting bigger, sure. But not that much will change.

Because they are still our babies.

They aren’t growing up one year all at once.

It is second by second.

Minute by minute.

Hour by hour.

And day by day.

They will still be holding on, and will need so much love and support from us, their parents, during their first year in primary school.

And I think all the parents there, me included, will be so glad to give it to them 🙂

I am feeling more sweet and less bitter, second by second… minute by minute… hour by hour…

and day by day.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

 

#987 The stage she is at, 5.2

We walked on over to the table we were meant to be sitting at. We were at a family friend’s daughter’s Christening, and my eyes scanned over the empty chairs, trying to work out where the lot of us were sitting.

I counted in my head. ‘1 for sis, 1 for me, 1 for Hubbie… there’s that spare spot over there, but that’s for the old lady coming back…’

Where would baby girl sit?

I headed back to the table list at the entrance, to see that her name was not listed anywhere on our table. In fact it appeared on number 7, several tables away…

ON THE KIDS TABLE.

Dum da dum dum.

Crap. She wouldn’t sit down there, no way. She had been strongly encouraged (and I’m being diplomatic) to come inside in the first place, as she didn’t know many adults or kids there, and sure, although she was currently getting reacquainted with the kids she had played with VERY few times before, I couldn’t foresee her sitting down at a table with them, away from us, so far from her parents.

The table was tightly spaced as it was. Could she sit on my lap?

And so I wondered if it was going to be a LOOONNGGG afternoon.

But then, something happened. I told her that there was a special table, just for the kids, just as one of the girls her age called her over there. I thanked my lucky stars for her kindness, and got baby girl to sit down amongst a table full of kids that she rarely ever sees.

I put bread on her plate. Chips and calamari. I cut it up, with the 3 other Mums fussing over their own brood. I poured her some water. She watched everyone on the table. She started eating her bread. She stayed still, and me, being the overly-watchful Mum, stayed on, reluctant to leave in case walking off would result in a dramatic display of ‘MUM DON’T GO!’ –

and then it would be sit on Mum’s lap time.

But… she stayed. I reassured her of where I was sitting, just a short distance away.

I walked off. I watched as she ate. She looked over at our table and waved, even blowing kisses to us all… and although she made a few visits at times to give us hugs and kisses… she still went back to the kids table to sit and eat.

No drama. No fuss. No objections. Total maturity and complete willingness.

And in shock and surprise and happiness, I realised I was stressing over nothing.

My girl was growing up. She had this all down pat. Like she didn’t eat with a large group of kids 3 times a week at some place that was called, kindergarten? LOL. I was concerned she would whinge, go shy and retreat into herself and not come out.

But she was used to this. She was used to order when I wasn’t around. I saw that again as the ‘Magic Man’ came out to entertain the kids. She sat obediently on the floor, cross-legged beside all the others. She put her hand up to participate, calling “me me me!” and was then chosen to sit on a chair and pat a dove, stroking it so gently and happily.

You see, I don’t see this. I don’t see how she is at kinder. I don’t see the progress she is making. But in these moments, these events away when in company that isn’t our everyday kind, I become witness to her happy ways… thanking the magic man for her flower balloon… asking the other kids if she can join in with playing chasey… going back to her table to eat, and not complaining that she isn’t with us.

She spent the entire day running around with her new friends and having a ball, and came to us a couple of times, almost like a check in 😉

I am loving this stage, because not only do I get to see her develop and become, truly a big girl… but as she becomes independent, so too does my role, as her Mum.

And it is pretty cool. Getting to be there with her, for the fun stuff.

I can say happily, that I am really enjoying this stage. Sure the bed time routine is still hell at times…. but like all in Parenthood – BALANCE!