Tuesday, August 13, 2013

School time, SMArty pants!

I'm not ready for her to go.
How did this happen so quickly?
It feels like only yesterday that she came into our lives.
It feels like moments since SMA turned our lives upside down.
It doesn't seem so long ago that she was starting at nursery.
And now?
The next chapter; tomorrow she starts school.
It's been a bit of a rollercoaster as we had wanted to defer her for a year, feeling that she wasn't ready, that emotionally she was immature and her speech was a little delayed.  She's a January baby, you see, so she starts school at the tender age of 4 and a half.  No one bar her community paediatrician shared their concerns.  The Headmaster did offer a deferred entry but there was one problem; her nursery - her brilliant fun and supportive nursery! - was closing to over 3s so it was natural - and he totally agreed - for her to move with her little group of friends.  With the decision made, we registered her for school.
We still had our concerns, even Dr Neuron wondered if it was the right decision, "Oh, but I'm sure she will fly when she gets there!", but we were coming to terms with her going, her speech was improving and the extended transition between nursery and school began. 

And then the unthinkable happened and the local authority u-turned on their decision because of a lack of nursery places for the over 3s and Eilidh's brilliant nursery was staying open!  The news spread through the jungle drums and it came to me as playground chatter, not directly from the horses mouth as it should have done.  I was bubbling with anger and so was D; we both wanted another year for her speech and her confidence to grow before embarking on her school career - we just didn't think that she was ready.  Nursery were surprised by our anger - "but we thought you were happy with her going this year?" - despite our concerns being raised at every multi-agency meeting we had had for Eilidh over the previous year.  Our anger dissipated and turned to disappointment: disappointment at the nursery for not communicating with us; at the local authority for their lack of transparency- and poor planning - regarding nursery provision; and at ourselves for not making the decision to defer her based on our own parental concerns.  The bottom line, however, was that we had made our decision, her transition period had begun and she was going to school come August - we were sticking to our decision, despite it being against our better judgement.
Roll on a few months and the school uniform is bought and the school bag chosen.  Eilidh's speech has improved although remains unclear at times and her confidence has grown. She's ready for school; ready for the next chapter and new challenges, ready to see her friends old and new and ready to be near her sister once again - or at least that is what she says now!  But I'm not ready...  I thought that I was; I thought that I was coping remarkably well and then it hit me yesterday morning and the tears fell, "I'm not ready for Eilidh to go to school...  She's not ready... She's my baby... My baby... "  And my mind wanders on, silencing my voice, "Will they (her teachers, her PSA) look after her?  I have to learn to trust them; I trusted nursery and they loved Eilidh, they would have done anything for her, but will her new teachers?   Will they care about her and nurture her and protect her?  Will she be able to concentrate and listen?  Will she be able to write and draw without assistance from technology?  Will they remember to do her physiotherapy?  Does a new school mean new bugs, illness and coughs?  Will they make her feel included?  Will the children accept her and Snappie?  Will they bully her?  Will she run over and injure anyone?"  Do I have the answers to my questions? No. No one does.   I have to trust her teachers; I am sure that they will do their best by Eilidh (or I at least hope that they will...).  Moreover, however, I need to trust Eilidh, little miss SMArty pants herself; she will show us what life at school is all about and she will do it her way and in her own time too.  I , for my own sanity's sake, have to trust my very able, intelligent, funny and independent little girl to forge her own path in this unexpected life we are living, arming her with the tools and skills to take on the world as she finds it.

So sleep tight, baby girl, for tomorrow is your first day at school.

I love you lots, Eilidh Bear




Midlife Singlemum said...

Good luck for tomorrow. I hope she loves it.

h0peful mummy said...

Rachel, THANK YOU! Just for being there xx