It’s that back-to-school time of year again. As I write this, huddled up in a cardigan and looking out at the rain, I can’t help but think how strange my sun-tanned hands look and how far away all that Fiesta-ing suddenly seems. Was it only a week ago that I was cavorting round in shorts and a vest top, drinking tequila shots in the Placa at midnight? Good Lord!
Yes, after six glorious (if not somewhat excessive) weeks in Mallorca, we’re back in England and I’ve had the task of re-acquainting my children with such forgotten concepts as wearing clothing and shoes, going to bed on time and brushing their hair and teeth.
As usual, we holidayed up to the wire, disorientating the little blighters with extreme culture-shock so that before they knew it, they were trussed up in school uniform and bundled through their classroom doors.
In my usual spin-to-the-positive way, I convinced myself that this would be a great idea, brushing over the inevitable dose of easyFlu and easyNits that such a strategy involves. But a twelve hour pool-side to registration turn-around is the norm for my kids. They can handle it. Who needs those dreary last-days-of-the-summer-holidays slow build up to the inevitable going back to school moment? Not us Reeses. We’re hard core.
But this time I was forgetting that the Little One was starting nursery.
OMG! What a trauma. Emlyn and I have been through the emotional wrangle every morning since we’ve been back. For both of us, it’s been like splitting up with our first girlfriend/boyfriend ten times over by nine a.m. We meet, war torn and exhausted for our morning coffee, the weight of guilt at ‘breaking’ our darling three-year-old weighing heavily upon us.
The poor Little One. She seemed so positive about the whole starting nursery thing on holiday, playing ‘school’ every day, ransacking the kitchen drawers to put all the plastic cups and cutlery into her backpack for an imaginary party with her new school mates. In her head, I now see that nursery was going to be one long party. Her party. With her in charge, of course.
Watching reality slap her round the head has not been pleasant. For starters, she hadn’t at any point grasped the concept that we’d be leaving her there, or that she might have to do as she was told. So what followed was awful to behold. That big, big shuddering intake of breath, the wide-eyed shock of betrayal followed by those fat, fat tears and the heart-breaking wail, ‘Don’t leave me.’
I’ve been through this with the others, of course, but somehow with the Little One, my third and final baby, it’s been harder than ever.
A friend reminded me how the Big One was when she started school. She was fine on the first day, but when I took her back on the second, she said, ‘Oh no, Mummy. I’ve done school.’ Talk about a short, sharp life lesson there.
The school have been brilliant, I must add and today, so far, so good. I think that’s because I resorted to some of my most brilliant parenting this morning, fully committing to bringing a BIG packet of blue crisps AND a cola Chupa Chup to pick up. That won’t ruin her lunch, or her teeth at all, right?
But…hang on. I’ve just found out that Emlyn managed to get her settled in this morning by promising that ALL of her new friends in the nursery can come to her house for a party.
Hmmm…. I’m staring to think that the Little One has had this all worked out, all along. She’s not ‘broken’ at all. We are.
NOW what do I do?