Nine Months More

Second days can be harder than the first

I always knew PJ’s first day at school would be different to his brother’s first day. Not only because he is the second child. Not only because they are such different boys. But because part of me will always believe that PJ is an old soul. He has been here before, done this before, he has got this.

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And that is exactly what it felt like as we walked into PJ’s classroom for the first time last week. Like he had done this before. He settled his things without fuss. Put on his name tag and got down to the business of being a prep in a way that seemed he had walked through this routine a hundred times before. We arrived early on the first day. Preps had a late start time on the first day and since we still had to drop off AJ at normal time, PJ and I had forty five minutes to hang out together in his class on that first morning.

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I kept my distance. Watching him move from one activity to the next. One space of the classroom to the next. Saying hello to friends he had made through orientation. Growing in confidence as each moment drew closer to saying good bye. With five minutes to go till start time I asked him if I should go? “Stay a little longer Mummy.” He said, not in sadness, but the room was till full of parents and I think he wasn’t quite ready to part. When the room did empty and parents filed one by one outside I lingered a little longer on the veranda just to watch him. My little baby all grown up at his first day of school, sitting on the floor playing Lego like first days meant nothing but new adventures and lots of excitement.

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There were no tears that morning. Only a tightness in my throat and a mind that was distracted all day thinking about him, worrying about him. Was he ok? Did he make friends? Was he alone during break? When I picked him up that afternoon he was a bundle of tired happiness. So excited about his first day, so tired from his first day and bursting with so many stories to share. The tightness in my throat seemed to soften a little, the worries ease. We had made it. First day done and dusted.

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But something happens after a first day. Another day wakes and with it come hurdles you often overlook in the shadows of that big first day. PJ started school knowing no one except his big brother AJ and all of AJ’s friends. While PJ had made friends in class, these friends all had older siblings at the school, so the moment the doors opened for break PJ’s new friends ran off to play with these siblings and all week my little boy had been finding himself alone.

AJ has made me heart swell and turn somersaults with his big brother love and instinct kicking straight in. AJ marches over to prep every break to check on PJ and if he finds him alone AJ swoops in and looks after PJ during break. Now while I know this is wonderful and reassuring that PJ isn’t spending break alone. I know this can’t last forever. PJ needs to make his own friends and play with them. So the throat tightens again. The worries settle in, like curling up with a good book on a cold winters night. I have a feeling this story is going to take some time before we reach its end.

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So I stand back and watch the words being written on the first pages of the book that is PJ’s to write. Watching over his shoulder, wanting to rush in and write the words for him, fix all his worries and heart ache. But I can’t. This is his story. His moments. I can only trust that he has got this. He will figure it all out. In his own time.

And each night as I watch him in the shower, singing his new songs about slithering snakes and marching ants, as he traces new words into the steam on the shower screen I need to find the strength and trust that even though second days can be harder than the first, together we have got this.

Did you have a little one start school this year?

 

 

 

 

  • LydiaCLee

    Glad it’s going well – they’re still so little when they start school – it’s such a big step!

    • It is such a big step, and even if we think they are ready, we cannot overlook what a big step it really is!

  • Ahh what a darling little man. This story made me smile as it has similarities to the book my youngest is writing 🙂 She started Junior Kindy earlier this year which means she gets to be in the same playground as her older sister. This is great in some ways, but not so great in others. Smiley, also an old soul, wants to play with her four year old sister and her four and five year old friends, not the kids in her class. It doesn’t help that she is the only girl in her class either. The other day I asked her who she played with and she said ‘Nothing’ meaning no one. Heart break 🙁 We’re only a couple of weeks in. We will see how we go. I hope PJ finds his place in his own time xx

    • Oh the “nothing” is heartbreaking 🙁 I know they all find their place in their own time, but the mean time can be so slow and heart squeezing 🙁

  • Kate Anderson

    My eldest daughter was young starting school, barely 5 years old. She was (and still is) a tall, confident thing. We were certain that she would sail through Prep. She determinedly completed her first week of short days. All smiles. But then the full days started and she was tired. Twice she fell asleep in the classroom and was mortified that she had been such a baby. At the end of the 2nd week, with bottom lip trembling she advised me that she had given school a good go but she thought she preferred her kinder/creche. And was planning to return there, after the weekend. Looking back, it was such a brief moment in time… she quickly adapted and embraced school, completely her grade six year as school captain, running school assemblies. Still so confident and tall. PJ has an awesome, loving and supportive family. He will find his place.

    • Kate your story gives me hope. PJ is such a social little thing and this has completely taken us all by surprise. I hope I have a story like your daughters to share one day xx

  • So beautiful. I loved reading this, and was so moved. Yes, he’s got it. And I love how you write it as “his story to tell”. Just lovely. x

    • Thank you Zanni, oh how my fingers itch to write this little paragraph for him. But I keep them still and wait to read the words he will write from this…..

  • I love that. He’s writing his book. It’s so true, and all of the worry in the world doesn’t change his story. I’m worrying much less about son number two for that very reason.

    • Michelle I adore this “all the worry in the world doesn’t change his story” I will try to remember this as we move through this little phase…

  • I can totally relate Josefa. My 5yo girl started school this year. The first day was hard and there were some tears but each day since has been a little easier, even though she’s still clingy when it’s time for me to actually leave. My daughter also started school only really knowing her older sister, one boy from kinder and one girl from orientation. I worded up my eldest daughter that while I wanted her to keep an eye out for her little sister to ensure she’s not alone and upset in the playground, it’s also important for her to stay and play with her Prep friends so she develops some strong friendships early on. It’s tough because the two of them play together all the time when they are home. It’s early days and I’m sure new friendships will form in time, but it’s hard not to worry about them.

    • It is hard not to worry about them and I think it is also also hard to not feel like “we know best” but it is early days…I can only wait and see what the next few weeks will hold

  • My girl started prep this year too, and I cannot quite decide if she is big or little. They are growing up so fast at this age and seem to be absorbing so much and changing a little every day. Yet they are so small and fragile in this big wide world. We have to trust that they will be ok. And if not, they have us there to help them.

    • They are both so bi and little at the very same time! I think that is what makes situations such as this one even more fragile xx

  • So sweet that your eldest looked out for his brother. I’m sure it won’t be long until the little guy has so many friends he can’t remember all their names

  • We had a lot of this last year. BJ would go to Bridie’s class to play, and I know a friend of mine is having the same with her two. I think it’s normal that they seek a sibling. It’s family and family makes you feel safe when everything thing is uncertain. I’m sure that it won’t be long and he will soon have his own friends, and seek his bother out a lot less.

    • I love this Jess “It’s family and family makes you feel safe when everything thing is uncertain.” I think we have all forgotten that even though ready, school is still a very big step for PJ and full of the uncertain

  • Little Yang started in prep and he’s had a few tears and unsettled moments but he’s doing OK. His big sister is Year 6, so the top of the school and she is lovely and protective. I’m so glad they have this year together before she heads into Grade 7 and high school.

    • Kathy I think it is wonderful that they are spending this one year together too, just precious xx

  • JM Peace

    My little buddy started year one with his usual vigour and enthusiasm, but his big sister still visits his playground to check on him. Love happy siblings 🙂

    • Very sweet JM, I hope we can reach the stage of big brother visiting to check on him and not just being his safety net int he absence of friends

  • My 18 year old “baby” has just left home, but I well remember her first day of prep. She was like, “Finally!” – she had been so jealous of her big brother when he went to school, she couldn’t wait for it to be her turn!

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT x

  • TeganMC

    I had Mr 5 start school this year. The feeling of the throat tightening is all too familiar and it’s been hard not having my little offsider with me for the last three weeks. There are a lot of only children or the preps are the oldest kids so the kids are staying together. The teachers also sit with them for the first term so I am happy that he has that extra supervision while he settles in.

  • My Esther started Kindy and she loves it. Esther doesn’t seem bothered if she plays by herself or with others. It will be interesting to see how she makes friends at Kindy and how she adapts to school next year. I have no doubt you son will make friends and will have someone to play with at the break time. Classroom interaction helps form those relationships I think. It’s still hard not to worry about our kids at school though.

    • It certainly is hard not to worry about them Bec, week three now and fingers and toes crossed we seem to be a tiny bit better this week x

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