All around me I see parents getting excited/nervous/upset at the thought of their ‘babies’ starting school. I have very many friends whose four-year olds are starting Reception year this September.  They are currently in the throes of buying uniforms and shoes, the highly organised amongst them have already done it all weeks ago, those less so are just about hitting panic mode with two weeks to go. The children themselves are excited to be going to ‘big school’ with their friends, many bugging their parents daily with ‘when is it time?’, talking about which class they are in, with which teacher and which friends.

And I am excited for them. I’ve done it once with H and I know how it feels, so I really am. But I am also sad. I would so love to be a part of this game right now. Worrying about if I have enough polo shirts? Skirts or trousers? How long will these shoes last before the toes are completely scuffed? Are these jumpers big enough to last a couple of years or will they be wrecked long before the summer? Will she like the teacher? Will the teacher like her? Will she make new friends or will she stick with those who are familiar to her at first? But it’s not our turn this year.

Tink is not moving up to Reception with her friends. She won’t have a new teacher and she doesn’t need a new uniform. There’s no choice for her about making new friends, as all of the children in her nursery will be new. She isn’t excited about anything, because she has no concept of what’s happening, or not happening, as the case may be. She doesn’t understand that her friends are moving on and she is being left behind to repeat Nursery with a new bunch of children to get used to. She cannot comprehend that there is anything beyond Nursery at the moment. Her teacher has made her a social story for us to read with her over the holidays, about how her friends are moving on and how she will make new friends, and how she will still have the same teachers. She won’t even entertain the idea of letting me read it yet, although she has flicked through it a couple of times and looked at the photos, which is a start, I suppose.

I can’t help but feel sad that those tentative early interactions she had started with her old friends will not now continue, and that she has to start all over again, and with younger children. She seems to respond better to older children, so I’m not sure how this will go. I’m not sure about any of it really. She has made so much progress in so many areas over the last few weeks, that I’m wondering if we really have made the right decision to keep her back. Too late now though! I guess I know deep down that it is for the best, but I am nervous for her. I think I’m nervous for me too really. I, too, have to make new friends, integrate myself into the mommy group, where many will already know each other. I may have to explain to new people why Tink is different, why she’s not in Reception, why she’s about a foot taller than the others. The friends who are moving on were just brilliant with her; what if the new ones just don’t get her? I’m sure I’m overthinking it all, but that’s just the way I am!

Shit, this parenting thing is hard!

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