We did it! First day of school, done and dusted. I’m not going to lie: it was SO stressful – all day I’ve been worrying about Hattie and Joe, wondering how they were getting on and hoping that I wouldn’t have two tearful little kids on my hands at the 3pm pick-up.
Yesterday we were worrying whether Joe would make it to school at all for his first day. He’d had a couple of days of a slight fever and an upset stomach, and he had no appetite. However, he rallied late yesterday afternoon, and both he and Hattie skipped off to bed very happily, and even went to sleep quickly (which amazed me – I was expecting all sorts of ‘night before school’ shenanigans).
This morning both kids bounced out of their room at the appointed hour, hugely excited. We had no complaints about breakfast, getting into uniforms (which we’d expected to be a bit of a drama for Joe), or even having hair tied up again. Here were our two little big kids, ready to go:
Tristan came to the school drop-off with us. Look at sweet little Hattiekins and her enormous bag! How can my children be old enough to start school?!
Poor Joe because almost paralysed with nerves as soon as he left the car, and I honestly worried that he was going to have a full meltdown. However, he held it together and I managed to get him across the threshold. It was helpful that we arrived early, so he wasn’t walking into a bustling classroom full of new kids.
The Reception class teachers are obviously well versed in the challenges of first day drop-offs, so they had clear advice for us parents: help them to hang up their bags; show them where the loos are; settle them into an activity; and leave swiftly, before the school bell rings. We did as we were told, and found them spaces at a drawing table before bidding them a very fond – but very quick – farewell.
Tristan went to work, and I went home. I did some yoga, revelling in the peace and solitude of a house with no children and no au pairs (albeit temporarily), and then I started working on some research I’m tackling for one of my lecturers. But as the morning went on I became more and more concerned about the kids: were they OK? Was Joe upset? Was Hattie actually talking to anybody? It was AWFUL, and I could totally understand why some parents abandon the thought of school entirely and home-school instead. I mean, I know we all realise that, if you were to line up every parent in the land according to their temperamental suitability to home-school their kids I would be far, far towards the end of the ‘no, really not a good option for you’ parents – but still: I can understand the temptation.
Anyway, I distracted myself in the afternoon by driving to a charity shop and buying a very charming bookshelf, and then posting a couple of things and picking up a few groceries, and then it was time for the pick-up. I arrived a few minutes early, and even made a new school mum friend – her daughter is in Hattie and Joe’s class, she’s a part-time teacher at the school, and she’s keen on finding out more about au pairs, so we had a lot to talk about.
And then they were out! And we instituted what we’ve decided will be our ‘first day of term’ tradition: delicious, very indulgent ‘freak shakes’ at Bondie Designer Cupcakes. The kids were very patient while waiting for their shakes…
Look at Joe’s tired little face!
And the shakes went down very well:
I tried to follow all of the great advice I received about not bombarding the kids with questions. It was quite easy, given that Hattie would not stop chatting. The information about the day came in no kind of linear order, of course – I heard about playing on both the little kids’ AND the big kids’ playground, being given a big kid to be her buddy, going on a tour of the school and meeting the ladies in the office… all sorts of tantalising details. She was very chipper, and it sounds like Joe was pretty quiet all day, so she was Official Twin Spokesperson.
Joe, on the other hand, was not giving much away. When he left the school grounds his first piece of information was that his new sandals had rubbed a blister on the back of one of his heels. He was fairly subdued in general, although he didn’t seem to be particularly stressed or upset – he just said that he didn’t much like school! But other comments he made suggest that he did have fun during the day. I guess the test will be tomorrow morning, when he realises that he’s going to have to do it all again… and again…
Anyway, we’re home now, the kids have had honey on toast for dinner (yes, healthy eating is a mission for another day), and they’ve stripped down to their knickers and been enjoying their current favourite leisure activity: drawing and colouring elaborate sketches of Rapunzel, while watching Tangled (my favourite Disney film, FYI). We’ll try to get them into bed early tonight, and we’ll hope that tomorrow will go as smoothly as today! I’ll keep you posted…