Morning Routines, School Lunch Inspo and Memories of My First Starting School

It feels like a long time (but only three years)  since I wrote the following about my first little chickadee starting school:

Peanut has been counting down the sleeps until school starts for the last fortnight. We’ve been freezing lunches. Constructing charts for morning routines. And I have been trying to not pay too much attention to the little knot of panic that seems to have taken up residence somewhere between my chest and my throat.

These last few weeks, we’ve been living the final moments of the intimate bubble in which I’ve spent the last five years. A private little domestic world of babies and breastfeeding, toddlers and tantrums and toilet-training. Of wearing a track between the stove and the washing machine. Long days of baby illnesses and endless nights of broken sleep. My time spent almost entirely within these walls. This warm and wonderful and infuriating and precious place.

This nest.

Sweet firstborn Peanut is our first chick to flee. For five years, this little girl of mine has been my whole world. I have cooked for her, washed her clothes, nursed her flu’s and soothed her worries. All, I realise now, somehow preparing her for this next chapter. The part where she trots off into the yonder without me. Those beautiful little arms and legs that I have cuddled too many times to count have somehow, sneakily, grown so big that this morning they marched my little one into school. Marched her into kindy without a backwards glance at her teary, trembly mama, who stood clutching the next-biggest child just a little too tightly. All day I have been feeling ever-so-slightly sick.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire, said Yeats. I love this. I’m so happy for Peanut to enter a learning environment, to light that fire, to start forging her own path. I am. I feel proud of this kind, funny, interesting and clever daughter of mine and I can’t buy alprazolam 0.5mg wait to see what kind of mark she will make upon the world. But within me is a battle. I long to send Peanut forth to fight (and win! please, god) her battles, and at the same time I long to wrap her in my arms, pack her in my handbag and shield her from all the pain that life, and the schoolyard, can bring.

I guess the wrapping and the packing and the shielding will have to happen, from now on, outside the hours of nine and three, except for the love that I can somehow squirrel to Ivy through the medium of her lunchbox.

With slight shame, I think about the research I did on home-schooling. Three years into school, the summer holidays nearly drive me nuts, so I would never have coped with full-time education.

Do you have a child starting school tomorrow? I’ve got one going into Year 3, one into Year 1, and my littlest is going to be two days a week at day-care this year. I have lots of plans for the year ahead. It will be busy – I hope wonderfully so. My aim is to keep on top of my health, so that I can keep the show on the road with joy in my heart, like a Mormon wife (but without the magic underpants. Google it.

You’ll be glad you did.)

Karate, drama, Girl Guides, soccer, rugby, book-writing, coffee, yoga, family dinners, singing, books, baths, chocolate-making and  canoeing trips. It should be a great year.

If you have a little starting tomorrow, good luck! After the tears dried, we absolutely loved being part of a school community and it has been a huge source of joy and fun in our lives ever since.

For school morning inspo: morning routines from a couple of masters.

For lunchbox inspo: school lunches from around the world (all images from tripbase.com.)

Japan.

USA

Korea

France

Good luck, comrades! Deep breaths. May the games begin.