If there’s a lesson I’ve just learned, it’s that you can never tell how your children are going to cope with change or react to a new situation. Take yesterday, for example. It was Izzy’s last day at pre-school.
Izzy’s a sensitive soul. On the outside, she’s tough and confident among her peers but she is emotional and can be shy when she goes into an unfamiliar situation. She usually manages to cope with change but requires time to adjust.
I’d spent yesterday in London touring the museums with her older sister and returned in time to collect Izzy from pre-school. I wasn’t sure what to expect but thought there might be tears and upset.
I had timed things so I arrived slightly early. I was hoping to get there just before other mums and dads but that didn’t work out. About four arrived at once so it wasn’t as quiet and peaceful as I had wanted.
Izzy saw me, collected her water bottle and simply bounced across the room as normal. She received hugs from a couple of staff members.
Did she want to say goodbye to all the kids in the room? “No,” came the response.
I had a quick chat to a mum who has a child leaving to attend the same school as Izzy and we left, me weighed down by arts and crafts she’d done during her time at the pre-school. Izzy was more bothered by the light rain that was falling than the fact she wasn’t coming back.
At home, we went through all the arts and crafts, not once but twice. Izzy was very proud of her creations and was keen to show them off.
I had planned nothing for the evening as I was thinking I might have to console Izzy. Instead she wanted to play hide and seek with her sister and I.
When Mrs Adams came home, she asked if Izzy was going to miss her friends. “No,” came the one-word response.
It is, of course, early days. Who knows how she will react in the weeks to come?
Indeed, there have been some small changes in Izzy’s behaviour over recent weeks and I’m sure it’s related to the fact she’s staring school. She’s had a few bad dreams and he has developed a greater reliance on her comfort blanket.
Over recent months, we’d managed to limit use of the comfort blanket so she only had it at bed time. That may sound a little mean, but when she has the blanket, she automatically sucks her thumb and her teeth were getting out of alignment.
On our dentist’s advice, we had been reducing her reliance on it. Sensing the dreams and need for the blanket were related to Izzy starting school, we thought we’d go easy on the comfort blanket for now.
Of course, we have been through this once before with Helen. When she left pre-school, she had a much bigger circle of friends and the connections stayed in place for some time after she left.
When Helen started school a couple of weeks later, we had no idea what to expect. On her first day she simply toddled off into her classroom without looking over her shoulder.
The car journey on that first morning was interesting ‘though. We’d had to drive to school repeatedly listening to an obscure Who song called Boris the Spider. I remember that journey clearly thinking “This is surreal, but it’s keeping Helen happy.”
I think us mums and dads do sometimes expect the worst. Well, I do anyway!
Having prepared for a very emotional response when Izzy waved goodbye to pre-school, one hasn’t come to pass. That said, Mrs Adams and I would be fools not to expect some turbulence a little further down the line. I guess time will tell.