I have just dropped my littlest boy at ysgol feithrin/nursery school for the first time. I was not expecting this to feel so weird. Yesterday I was all excited for him, and also if I am honest relishing the fact that our mornings will be much easier from now on, because they’ll all be dropped at the same place. But then last night at some point he arrived in our bed, and when I woke up this morning there was his baby face next to me, all flushed with sleep and my first thought was ‘I’m not ready for this’.
I don’t know whether he picked up on my thoughts but when he woke up, he announced that he wasn’t going to school with his brother and sister yet and he’d go when he was four instead, and even though my lovely big ones were so excited for him, helping him put on his uniform and telling him they’d wave if they saw him on the yard at playtime he still wasn’t happy. He grumbled through the obligatory ‘kids in their uniform at the front door’ picture and then was unusually quiet all the way to school.
Luckily as soon as he went inside and saw all the toys and the Ty Bach Twt and the water play he was as happy as anything; he gave me a kiss and ran off and, even though the parents had been told they could stay for a bit, I decided to leave because he seemed confident and comfortable. But of course the minute I got out of the door I had a bit of a panic – Should I have stayed? What if he wondered why all the other mums and dads were there and I wasn’t? What if he thought I had left him FOR EVER? So I hung round outside the gates pretending to chat to my friend but actually craning my neck to see if I could see him for a bit, before taking myself and my neuroses to task and heading off. And now here I am, not able to concentrate on what I’m supposed to be reading for work and counting the minutes till I pick him up.
This is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS BEHAVIOUR on my part. He’s actually been going to nursery for two or three days a week for two years already, and he regularly goes for sleepovers at my Mum’s, so I really don’t know what this is all about. What’s more, he definitely needs to be at ysgol feithrin – as the youngest of three and also relatively old in his year group, he is more than ready for some structure and learning. I don’t know. I think it is partly the uniform thing – seeing him in his little yellow teeshirt and blue sweater just made me feel as if I had lost my baby, for ever. And instead of making the most of the fact that I have a couple of hours to get stuck into something constructive, I am sitting here looking my watch and wondering how soon I can decently arrive at the school to pick him up and spirit him home again.
I should be relishing the fact that family life is settling down and getting easier as they get bigger. I should be enjoying the (usually) unbroken nights. I should be looking forward to all the new stages that we will discover and enjoy as they grow older. But right now, try as I might, I can’t find a way to do that. I’m too sad for the days that have already gone, unappreciated and too fast. My babies are not babies any more.