So it is that hated day when they go back to school after a longish holiday. Half terms are always easier, but Christmas and Summer are the worst. There had been a few wobbles over the last week about going back, but yesterday lulled me into a false sense of security with a very upbeat and energetic day. Bedtime was all good, but then came the morning of doom. One work up teary complaining about the dreaded breakfast club, whilst the other had to be lifted out of bed and rudely awoken. Dad was already out of the door by this point, having had to sleep in the pink palace, due to a night-time visitor, who appeared to favour the horizontal sleeping position. I got the head end, but feet end is unworkable, so usually ends in the banishing of a parent to another room. She just appears with toys in the middle of the night and settles herself in, we don’t even hear her some nights.
So she struggled into an awake state, had breakfast and then appeared in my bedroom all teary eyed, saying she didn’t want to go back to school. Oh not another one…. So out came the parent clichés:
“Everyone feels like this on the first day back.” Now I hate it when people say this to me, it doesn’t help! So why am I saying this to my sobbing child?
“You will be fine when you get there and see your friends.” Now this one is better as it is usually true, hoping that their friends are still their friends, as girls can be fickle creatures.
“You won’t do much work on the first day back, they will ease you in gently.” Well if actual grown up work is anything to go by, this is not a true statement and I can imagine the poor child in the middle of a maths lesson as I write.
“You must have missed your friends?” This is probably true, but this comment was met with a tearful, “No!” Oh, ok then, moving swiftly on to the next cliché.
“It will be the weekend before you know it.” As it is only a 2 day week, this is true, but also no help at all, in fact to a child, 2 days can seem like forever.
This was some of the clichés used on youngest DD this morning. Sounding like my own Mum and probably many other Mums, I am not convinced I helped much, but she begrudgingly got dressed and ready to go.
Now oldest DD is a much more complex creature, there is a blog in the making about her anxiety and issues, but I am kind of hoping I will have some answers for other people in the same boat when I finally write it. She is a tearful wreck every morning when breakfast club looms. I have children in different schools; mid-year move and all that joy moving house brings. As I am not able to be in 2 places at once, DD1 has to go to breakfast club and the DD2 goes to after school club, to keep it fair. Just 9 months to go and then they will be in the same school, walking distance away … woo hoo. We had to change from the childminder as she had a dog (dogs are so confusing, she loves them, but is terrified of them) and now breakfast club is the only option. It is for 20 minutes and there is nothing horrible about it; I have checked it is OK, just in case you think I am being irresponsible and the poor girl is actually in hell. So out come the 4 days a week clichés (we give her Friday off breakfast club, as we are good like that) :
“It will go really quickly, it’s only 10 minutes.” Stretching the truth slightly as it is a bit longer, not helping.
“You can just do some drawing or reading.” True, but not helpful.
“Everyone will be nice to you.” I sort of the get the feeling that the others just ignore her, so another useless comment.
Then I get tough:
“I have no choice on this, Dad has gone to work and there is no one else to take you. You will just have to put up with it, I can’t be in 2 places at once!” This usually gets the sad face and a big sob.
Then I start to get stressed as she is lying on her bedroom floor complaining of tummy ache, completely naked, refusing to move as, “It really, really hurts!”
“Just get dressed, hurry up, you are going to make us all late.” More sobbing.
“Get in the car, put your coat on, where are your shoes, haven’t you done your teeth yet, OK back up stairs, yes I know your tummy hurts….” and so it goes on.
Finally, this forlorn looking child slowly climbs into the car and we set off in silence to school number 1, where I push her through the door, to be met by the sympathetic side angled head nod from the breakfast club assistant. She knows, but does she think it is all my fault, am I a bad mother, what could I have said or done differently, will she be OK, maybe I should put DD2 in breakfast club so she doesn’t have to go through this? All this goes through my head as I walk back to the by now, quite neglected DD2, who is waiting in the car with an equally forlorn expression as her sister. By this point I am out of clichés and mother comments, so up goes the radio and I pray for Little Mix to come on.
We silently walk to the playground from the car park, with her clutching my hand and desperately seek out a friend on arrival. Oh joy, there they are, and apparently all are still friends after their leave of absence. One has a box with a tooth in it to proudly show off, so all is fixed and suddenly I actually believe some of my Mum clichés, as she finally releases her vice like grip to join the line up.
I hear myself using the words of my Mum and every other Mum most mornings, as I say the same lines to get them out of the door. It used to be particularly stressful when I was trying to get them to 2 different breakfast clubs, then me to work. Work hours are currently being shifted around to help with the parenting guilt. One day I vow to come up with an original line, that will actually make them feel better, it could be a long time coming though.
Using the good old school selfie to cheer her up … should point out that wasn’t taken this morning though, not in a selfie mood today.