This term Dylan started school. To be honest I had no idea how he would react to going to school. I wasn’t overly sure that he was ready to go to school and I worried that he would hate it. I suppose all parents worry about their child going to school. It really is the end of an era and it means that they are in someone elses care for the majority of the day, someone that you don’t know personally and in a class full of unknowns. It is daunting enough for me, let alone Dylan.
I remember starting school. Well, I remember being at primary school. I remember selective bits about reception. My teacher was this adorable Scottish lady called Mrs Campbell. She was the archetypal primary school teacher. She also ran the Country dancing after school club that I would join a few years later (yes, I know, I am too cool!) I remember that we all had name badges in the shape of green teddy bears. I remember the friends I made and snippets of information about them. My best friend was a girl called Michelle, her house had set on fire due to a malfunctioning heated blanket which has left me with a horrendous fear of heated blankets. My friend Natalie, who had a really bad asthma and eczema which weirdly made me wish I had an inhaler. My friend Rebecca (Bec, never Becky) who I am still friends with now, she had dogs, loved football and was a total tomboy. My friends Bradley and Thomas who me and Bec played Thundercats with, I say “played” what I mean is the boys would fight over who was going to be Lion-O while me and Bec pretended to be Wilykit and Wilykat. I remember chicken fricassee for dinner, dinner trays with spaces for main, a drink, cutlery and pudding. I remember the bubble tubes in the foyer of school. And I remember how massive everything was. I remember feeling really little next to all the bigger kids. I remember sitting at the front in assembleys and singing hymns. I remember it being really exciting and loving learning new things and making new friends. I don’t remember going to school being upsetting or being sad at school.
Dylan had 2 afternoons of “settling” in sessions before the summer holidays and then a 1 hour session with me on Wednesday 6th September and then from the Friday he did full days. I was quite surprised that his school didn’t do that thing were they have a few days of mornings, then afternoons and then mornings with lunch but I think going straight into it was probably the best thing for Dylan. He is very much a creature of habit and he would have been more confused by mornings, afternoons and then full days.
Dylan was fine on the Friday, Monday and Tuesday going into school. He had a kiss, a cuddle, a kiss with Evan, a cuddle with Evan and then another kiss and hug from me and then in he went. When I asked him how his days had been he would say that he loved school and that it was fine but actual information was impossible to come across. Dylan’s Best Friend Blake was in Dylan’s class too which was great as they seemed to be looking after each other. I would message Blake’s Mum Helen in the evenings to compare stories they had told us and to see if she had any additional intell about the school day.
Then Wednesday hit. The little chap in front of Dylan in the queue to get into school was in floods of tears. Dylan was fine until he saw this poor little chap and then he looked distraught. Dyl went into his class room and he looked so so sad. I knew that as soon as I left he would get upset and sure enough when I went to collect him the teacher said that he had been really upset for a lot of the morning. Oh no.
In the evening, we had a chat about school and he said again that he was enjoying himself and that he loved school. When he was at preschool Dylan kept getting upset when I dropped him off but he always said that it was because he “hated” preschool. But this time he was just saying that he missed me too much and that is why he got upset, heartbreaking! During our little chat Dylan said a few times that he would like to take Thursday as a “chill day” this week and I had to gently explain that he had to go to school all week. Poor kid, didn’t know what hit him. During the evening Dylan asked if I could put some music on and have a dance with him which was lovely. I have absolutely no idea where he found the energy!! Some of my Mummy friends tell me that their little chap or chapette are pooped after a full day of reception but yet Dylan was literally bouncing off the walls.
Thursday was terrible. He cried most of the morning after he got up, he didn’t want to get dressed and he sobbed most of the walk to school. By the time we were at his classroom door he was in a right state. He had worked himself up and was crying a lot. After a few hugs and kisses and then a few more I tried to get him into his classroom. But he wouldn’t. His teacher had to prize him off me and pretty much throw him into the classroom. It literally made my heart hurt to leave him but by the time I had walked around to the side door he looked less sad. When I collected him from school his teacher told me that he had taken a while to fully calm down after I left but reassured me that he was fine once he had a cuddle or 2.
After school on Thursday we had another chat about why he was getting so upset and again he said that he loved school, he loved his teacher, nothing had happened that made him sad, he LOVED school dinners but he was sad because he missed me too much. Ugh! What am I suppose to do with that?! I gave him a lot of cuddles and we talked about how it was probably best not to get upset at school because he missed me too much because then we’d both be sad or day, I said that if we both said happy goodbyes at the door then it would be much nicer. Dylan agreed and said “OK Mummy, tomorrow I won’t cry when you drop me off at school” and he then gave me a huge hug as he whispered in my ear “but I’ll be crying inside all day long”… Er what!? Talk about emotional manipulation!! I think my heart actually broke in my chest then. Dylan then requested another dancing party during which I had a stroke of genius. As we were dancing about the living room to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams I suggested that if Dylan felt sad at school then he should sing Happy in his head until he felt a bit better. He loves the song, especially the bit where Happy is repeated over and over by the choir in the video. We got practicing our singing and dancing to it…
…Friday morning. Dylan wasn’t quite as bad and every time he was getting sad he would sing “happy happy happy happy” etc until he was smiling. All the way to school I could hear him singing it quietly to himself. We started to walk to school and he was quite happy, telling me tales about school and discussing what he was going to have at lunchtime… about halfway to school he was singing his “happy” mantra to himself but he was still chirpy and smiley with it. At the school gate he was sad. At the edge of the reception playground he was very sad. In the queue to get into the classroom he was really really sad. But he was still singing “Happy” and let me tell you there is nothing sadder or more upsetting to see than a beautiful, big brown eye 4 year old sobbing his little heart out whilst singing happy by Pharrell Williams. Nothing. Dylan grimaced a smile at me. He gave me a big kiss and a hug. He started to go into school then remembered to kiss and hug Evan. He started to go in and then stopped and came back for a kiss and a hug from me and then wouldn’t let go. I had one hand on the pushchair and the other was gently trying to prise Dylan off me. Man, that kid has a deathgrip! Eventually his teacher helped separate us and in he went but then tried to run back to me, his teacher stopped him and the TA guided him into the class and I ran. I didn’t dare check the side door. Every part of me wanted to go back and fetch him. It really does go against instinct but I knew that it would do him good…well, I hoped anyway.
By the time I picked him up at 3pm he was happy and his teacher said that he’d settled really really quickly, phew. We spent the weekend doing lots of fun things together as a family and enjoying being together. I was dreading Monday. Absolutely dreading it. We tried to keep school as the main topic of conversation over the weekend, talking about the things he was enjoying etc. We kept everything positive and he seemed to be loving going to school.
On Monday morning Dylan got himself dressed and we watched Digby Dragon together and then walked to school. Our walk was relatively chilled out and we chatted about all the things that he might get up to at school punctuated by me shouting “mind the dog poo” or just “POOOO” (seriously, I should refer to the school run as the school shit chicane…disgusting). Dylan seemed very excited about the week ahead. He was fine walking through he school gate. He was jovial waiting in line to go into his class. He gave me and Evan a big kiss and a big cuddle and off he popped into his class, stopping to give his teacher a quick hug and giving me a smiley wave from the door. Phew! He’s been fine ever since. So far, Dylan seems to be really enjoying school. In his 2nd week he won the class cup which made me beam with pride. Long may this continue!
Thanks for reading