To say we were ready for our girl’s inaugural year of ‘big school’ would be a serious understatement.
You could say we were prepared with a capital ‘P’ for ‘Please is it time yet?’!
We had been well groomed for Big School with an information session at preschool mid-last year, followed by two evening information sessions on location at ‘big’ school, a one-on-one interview and orientation walk around the school with the Principal…
…Four transition-to-school mornings with Year 6 buddies towards the end of last year, and one walk to Big School from her preschool up the road, ensuring that our every question had been answered and that our girl was very familiar with her soon to be daily abode.
We were ready. She was ready. And after seven weeks break between preschool and big school, it was suffice to say that she wasn’t the only member of our family who was chomping at the bit to get her to her first class.
Or at least we thought we were ready…
The big day came and she threw on her school dress, shoes and hat for the first time ‘for real’ (there had of course been plenty of dress rehearsals leading up to the day), she eagerly slid her little arms through her terribly oversized schoolbag without complaint.
She only got the cranks when between us we had taken around two hundred photos of her from every angle, location, inside, outside, with her little sister, without little sister, with nanna, with the whole family, with mummy and daddy, and of course, the obligatory shot outside the front gate of the school.
There were no tears, all smiles, lots of excitement and all went off without a glitch.
Like I said, we were double, triple, quadruple prepared for this day.
In stark contrast my husband and I cast our minds back to our own first days, where we had zero preparation or transition, no buddy, no clue of what we were meant to do, dropped off into a sea of unknown. How times have changed!
Day Two came and went, she was a bit disoriented without her buddy but overall – a success.
It was around the middle of the next week (her first full week) when some of us first-timer mums (and dads) looked at each other with bleary eyes and heavy sighs, and admitted wholeheartedly to experiencing one thing we certainly hadn’t prepared for.
Just how totally and utterly exhausted WE would be.
The night-time lunch packing, the morning panic to get to school on time, the car parking fiasco, the bag lineup, the running of the bulls at bell time (followed in swift succession by the emotional goodbyes as they walked in line up the stairs to their classrooms).
The trying to remember the ever-changing pick up times in the first week (‘is it 2.30pm or 2.45pm today?’).
The rushing of our other younger children to daycare or preschool beforehand so as to provide our big kid with our undivided attention.
The washing and ironing of school uniforms (after checking that our meticulously seared labels hadn’t peeled off in the wash).
The requirements of the various lunchbox items for ‘sip and crunch’, ‘lunch’ and ‘recess’ (all of which are recommended be placed in separate containers and separate compartments of the schoolbag. Since when did this become commonplace in schools? What happened to the simplicity of having one lunchbox?!).
I’m sure all the seasoned school mums were having a little chuckle in the corner at us as we dipped our toes (and then our feet, legs, arms, entire bodies) into the school system and blindly found our way through the first week.
The realisation that we had given so much focus to the ‘first day’ of school that we had seemingly managed to overlook the ‘every day for the next 12 years’ part.
But now we’ve made it through the first week, it will only get easier from here – right?