Friday, 22 July 2011

As One Door Closes...

They say as one door closes another one opens and I am reminded of this today, son number one’s last day at preschool.

Things like this tend to sneak up on me then jump out when I least expect it. People kept warning me the preschool years would pass quickly but I brushed them off, even when the last term began it felt like ages away. But it has finally hit me that my baby is now a big boy about to start his journey into the world. Preschool was the test run, now for the real thing.

I have tried not to arouse any suspicion or anxiety in son number one (or myself) by only ever casually mentioning that his pre school career is about to end and he will soon be catapulted into the world of ‘big school’; where you can’t take your toys in, or wear your Buzz costume instead of uniform any time the fancy takes you, and being friends with everyone without question gives way to the serious playground politics. It doesn’t seem like five years ago that he determinedly refused to enter this world of his own accord, and that determination to stay close to me has remained. Two years ago he had to be cajoled into entering preschool and it took weeks for him to join the other kids at circle time. Now he runs in willingly, often forgetting to say goodbye. But another one opens, and we are back to the start. I have no doubt that the same anxiety will rear its head and more cajoling and gentle pushing will be required to get him in the door. I’m sad and wistful, and just a little bit anxious.

Being a stay at home mum, preschool has been my first experience of leaving him anywhere other than with family, and I was lucky enough to find a preschool where they have made him (and me) feel safe and secure in our first forays apart. It’s been a learning experience for son number one, and so too for me. Preschool has taught me to get myself and two children into the car at the same time (admittedly always late) everyday, wash a school uniform (breaking me in gently with just a t-shirt, I am now going to have to get more complicated with PE kits and school trousers), live by school holidays and learn to trust, lean on and seek advice from teachers who see things in my son that I don’t, and know how he acts when I am not around.

We can learn a lot from looking at kids, whether we are parents or not, and watching them experience the world. The last couple of years taught me that bringing a child up is not an exclusive job, but the task falls on everyone that child has contact with, parents, family members, teachers, friends, even people who would never expect to have influence often do. Children soak up the best of what they see around them, they have no preconceptions or judgements of people, they are trusting, always see the good in people and usually overlook the bad. They see delight in the smallest of things, what to us is just a bottle of bubble mixture to kids is better than a winning lottery ticket. To us it’s a cardboard box, to them it’s a castle to protect from dragons and randomly, sharks. They often seem wise beyond their years yet so innocent and unaware of their wisdom. The saddest thing about childhood is, in my opinion, that most of us grow up and lose this sense of wonder, trust and imagination. Maybe if we could all hold on to, or reconnect with, these things the world would be a happier place.

And another one opens, not just for son number one but for me too. I will now need to help him make sense of this new world he is about to enter, understand why he isn’t invited to everyone’s parties, be brave when he falls over and there is no longer a friendly preschool teacher or me to kiss it better, and hold his head high when his feelings have been hurt.

Son number one may be ready for this transition, but I am lagging behind. I’m really going to miss preschool stage, and have loved seeing him grow from a baby clinging onto me, to a little person with a life of his own.

Thank you to everyone at the preschool, all the teachers, all the kids and all the mums and dads who help to make it the family it is. We will miss you. But we can’t wait to get back there in a few months with Son Number Two. All I can say is good luck with that one.


  1. Anoher great piece and this time you made me cry!!! Where have five years gone? Seriously. You've hit the nail on the head with this one, it hits you when you least expect it. We've had a few tears today too but are really excited about going to BIG school! x x

  2. Whoops - another, not anoher. However I'm quite liking anoher now!!!!!