I can’t quite believe that we’re almost at the end of Jessica’s reception year. It really doesn’t seem possible that three terms have passed by since the start of school. In that time, we’ve both grown so much. In this last year, I’ve watched Jessica learn and grow and become more confident. I’ve got to know and trust her teacher. Each morning, I’ve waved her off at the classroom door, knowing that I’m leaving her in safe hands. Each afternoon, she comes out of that door with a big smile on her face. I know that she enjoys school. I might never hear very much about it from her, but she’s happy and that’s what matters.
Starting school was such a big milestone in our lives. I still remember just how emotional I was this time last year. Wanting the time to go by as slowly as possible, while being acutely aware of just how fast those early years had flown by. That feeling that my little girl would never be as fully mine as she had been. Knowing that I needed to let her go a little, let her fly, let her grow and yet wanting to hold her closer than ever. Wanting to hang on to the days of her being little for as long as possible.
“She’ll be fine,” everyone told me. “You’ll adjust.” But still I mourned the end of those preschool days and dreaded the start of school. And now, here we are a year on. Now I’m the one saying those things to other mums whose children are leaving preschool. I’m no longer the new school mum fighting back tears at the school gate. I’m now the one looking back on the start of school, and reflecting on some of the things I’ve learned in the last year.
The last day of preschool was harder than the first day of school
I cried on both the last day of preschool and the first day of school. However, the last day of preschool hit me much harder emotionally. There was that real sense that it was the end of an era, that my baby was growing up too quickly and that everything was about to change forever.
For us, the end of preschool marked the transition point. From that point onwards, our family adventures would be limited to weekends and school holidays and our lives would revolve around term dates. Yes, to some extent that was true of preschool but as Jessica didn’t go in every day, we still had plenty of weekday adventures during term time. I still miss those days.
The new routine became the norm very quickly
It only took a few days from the start of school before we settled into the new routine of doing the school run every day. The house felt horribly quiet without Jessica for the first few days and then we got used to it. I got used to the one-to-one time with Sophie and our new routine together. When Sophie started preschool too, I started gaining some time for myself again. It’s been lovely to have a little bit of space again; to be able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and get jobs done more easily around the house.
Afternoons can be a bit crazy
The time from getting home from the school run and putting the girls to bed can feel quite hectic. There are bags to be checked, books to be read, dinner to be cooked and eaten and some days there are after-school activities to fit in too. The girls are more likely to bicker at this time of day than any other too. I think we’re all just a bit tired at this time of day which doesn’t help. Sometimes just making sure we have a few minutes just to sit and chill together makes a big difference.
Stock up on the snacks
Being hungry and being tired is never a good combination! Jessica is always hungry as soon as she gets home from school. Bananas, cereal bars, carrot/cucumber sticks with dip, toast or cheese and crackers help to keep everyone going. That said, I often hear a constant refrain of “I’m hungry, is dinner ready?” right up until dinner is served only to then hear “yuck!” when it’s on the table! Ah the joys of parenthood!
Seeing your child learn new things is amazing
Seeing how much Jessica has learned over this past year has made me so proud of her. It is lovely to see the world open up to your child as they learn to read. I remember the joy on Jessica’s face when she suddenly looked at a sign when out and about and recognised a word on it. Every time she goes up a reading level, I feel so proud.
We’re now at the stage that she writes letters and stories which are lovely to read. Some of the misspelt words make me smile. I’m getting to see her imagination opening up in a whole new way and it’s wonderful to watch.
There are always the holidays
It is lovely to have both my girls home again in the holidays. Not having to rush to get out of the house in the mornings and being able to enjoy days out together. I find that the girls bicker a little less in the holidays too. As much as I love the time with my girls in the holidays, I have to admit that there is a little part of me that misses having the time to myself that I get during term-time.
As the end of the school year approaches though, I’ve been feeling a little more emotional. It’s not quite the big transition that we had last year, but leaving Reception feels like the end of an era too. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Jessica’s lovely teacher and I’ll miss the updates that we get on Tapestry. The end of the school year once again brings the realisation that my little girl is growing up and isn’t quite so little anymore. I suspect that each year will bring the same realisation; the same mixture of emotions and the same reminder to make the most of these precious childhood moments.