Last Wednesday, Harrison started nursery. It’s a school nursery (or preschool as some people call it) attached to our local infant school. It is the same nursery and infant school that my brothers and I went to, and Harrison’s teacher, Miss R, was teaching there when I was there, 25 years ago! It is literally a two minute walk (more like twenty minutes with Alex toddling along!) away, and I recognise lots of the mums as girls I went to school with, so lots of familiar faces!
We had been to an induction session back in July which Harrison loved, and all summer he has been asking to go. We had done everything we could to try and get him ready to be away from us from 8.30-11.30 every morning, and last Wednesday was the big day. It was a short session, from 10am – 11, where parents were expected to stay. He really enjoyed it and was so proud of his little school uniform. On Thursday, it was straight into the 8.30 start, and so our new routine started.
We’ve not really had any routine at all since Alex was born, so it has been a bit of a shock to the system (well, mine anyway!) but I’m actually enjoying having a little bit of structure to the day. I’m feeling more organised and I seem to get so much more done, during the day now. I get the clothes sorted the night before and bring them downstairs. I try and get up at 6.45/7am to get dressed and ready in peace, and then get them up. We brush our teeth and then head downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast is usually shredded wheat and warm milk for them and a piece of toast for me (I’m rubbish at eating early in the morning). The kids have a cup of milk, which so far every morning Alex has managed to knock over, whilst I neck a much-needed coffee. Once breakfast is eaten and cleared away, usually by about 7.55am, we go into the lounge to start getting ready. Harrison is pretty good at getting dressed independently. He is still in nappies at night (he was only three in June) so once that’s off and he’s been wiped, he gets his clothes on whilst I change Alex’s nappy and get him dressed. I then help Harrison tuck his shirt in and sort his collar out, so he doesn’t look like a complete scruff, and we all get our shoes on. It’s then jackets on, bag ready and off we go!
We can access the nursery by going the ‘short’ way, down the driveway, or the ‘long way’, which is walking around and through the main gate. We tend to walk the long way on our way there, as they both love saying hello to the lollipop man, who is there waiting for a high five for them, and once we get through the main gate they can run through the playground. We walk (or run!) down to the bottom and wait in the nursery area until Miss R opens the door. Up until yesterday, we have gone in with him, helped him find his peg, find his name badge and put his name on the self-register. Yesterday, if they were happy, we were encouraged to say goodbye at the door and let them go in by themselves. We have had absolutely no problem with Harrison going in, and he was quite happy (too happy!) to give Alex and me a quick kiss and run off to get stuck in. Alex and I then take a slow walk back up the drive and home.
Whilst Harrison has been at school, Alex and I have been doing lots of lovely things. We did an Invitation to Play last week, we’ve cuddled up and watched a film, and on Tuesday we found a lovely new ‘stay and play’, where we will go to every Tuesday at the Junior school. The school also opens in the mornings for parents to pop in and have a coffee for half an hour, so we will no doubt go there a couple of mornings a week. When we are at home, I try and get a load of washing out, and vacuum, before we leave at 11.15 to pick Harrison up.
So far I’ve loved the ‘school run’. There are a couple of mums who I’ve chatted to each morning and it feels nice to be out and talking to other adults, even if most of the conversation is about the kids. There doesn’t seem to be any cliquey-ness or anything, everyone seems really friendly, which is nice as these are people I will be probably seeing twice a day, five days a week for the next four years!
We go in a few at a time to collect the kids, who are always sitting on the carpet waiting. The first few days I went in, Harrison’s face actually dropped when he realised it was time to go home. Yesterday was the first time we didn’t have a meltdown on the walk back up the drive because he wanted to stay at school ‘forever and ever’. It seems to have sunk in that he is able to go back now because although he is grumpy and tired, the meltdowns have stopped.
Once we get home, he gets changed out of his school clothes and then relaxes in front of the TV whilst I sort lunch out. School, quite rightly, is tiring him out, but he is in the middle of giving naps up, so we have quieter afternoons, with some TV and painting and drawing. I am finding that around 4.30/5pm he is getting grumpy and hyper, but bedtimes are much easier as he drops off immediately! I’ve also noticed his eating, which could be a bit hit and miss sometimes, has improved a lot.
We haven’t had a great deal of feedback from his teacher about how he’s getting on, which I know as a teacher myself is a good thing – if there were any problems I’m sure we would know. She has mentioned that he has settled in well and is very confident so I’m not worried one little bit. He plays with a couple of little boys who he mentions quite a lot, but tells me they had a ‘long face’ –an expression he has obviously picked up at school!! We’re also a little confused at the moment because he keeps talking about a boy called Jason – but there is no Jason in his class! We can’t quite figure out where he has got the name from, so I’m trying to get him to point out who he means. He hasn’t had any toilet accidents so far (touch wood!) which was one of my concerns. I’m not sure if he has used the toilet at all – he says he hasn’t. He tells me about the carton of milk and his snack which he has there – so far he seems to have eaten lots of carrots! I’ve noticed lots of new little expressions and phrases appearing in his vocabulary, which is lovely, and have made us laugh. He tries to get Alex to play schools with him, something I used to do all the time when I was in nursery, and it is hilarious watching him mimicking the teacher!
We’ve already had newsletters home, with all sorts of dates and things to remember – non-uniform, photos, harvest festival. The next test is trying to remember them all and not be the parent that forgets!!
It’s been a week of massive change for all of us, and so far, so good. I just hope the next 15 years or so of his school life go as smoothly!