Well, that’s it, another milestone ticked off, a new phase of life entered into and a whole bunch of new people about to enter our lives – it was Monkey’s first day at school today.
Ok, it wasn’t really a day, it was a couple of hours, and I was with him pretty much the entire time. So more accurately it was Monkey-and-Mummy’s-first-time-meeting-his-new-teacher-playing-for-a-couple-of-hours-and-having-a-snack-together-in-the-gym. But that doesn’t really fit on a chalkboard sign.
Thankfully it all went as well as I could have expected. We even managed to avoid tears. That is, until I left Monkey in the busy classroom completely absorbed in the wooden railway set to go fetch his school hat which I’d already left behind in the gym – it would have been ridiculous to have had to go looking for it in lost property after only an hour and a half at school when I’d been the one responsible for hanging on to his belongings (doesn’t bode well for the rest of the year does it?!). Somehow kids have a sixth sense about disappearing parents. I must have only been a minute, maybe not even that. The gym was less than 20 paces from the classroom, I sprinted there and immediately on entering the room I started tapping my head at all the other parents sat where we had been, giving the international signal for missing hats. In a flash a parent thrust it towards me, we made that smooth transfer every Olympic sprint relay team dreams of and I was back sprinting towards the classroom, only to be stopped in my tracks by my crying boy with his new teacher looking for me *cue my heart breaking*. You can be sure that if I had been sat watching him playing with the trains a full 5 minutes might have passed without him looking up to see me. But the minute I step away the warning signal programmed into his DNA kicks in and he is up on tippy toes looking this way and that, scanning the room for me like a meerkat in the savannah.
Thankfully his tears didn’t last long beyond my reminding him that I had asked if he wanted to come with me but he was too absorbed in his trains. Then we got back to playing with said trains.
I even managed to hold in my own tears. Just about. Even though I didn’t have to leave him there today, I’m not sure why but as soon as I stepped into the chaotic classroom with Monkey, I suddenly got so choked up. I found myself unable to speak for a minute for fear of being overwhelmed by this emotion coursing through me. All I could do was point out the familiar books on the book shelf and the various activities set up around the room in a bid to reassure Monkey, until the wave passed over me and I pulled myself back together. Maybe it was seeing it from his perspective for the first time and feeling that same assault on the senses that a 3 year old must feel walking into a loud, busy, unfamiliar environment. Maybe it was knowing soon enough I wouldn’t be able to walk in that door with him to play for a couple of hours but will instead have to give him a kiss and a cuddle and wave him off to deal with it on his own. Maybe it was all my subconscious hopes and fears for him and his school year ahead. I really do hope he loves it. But I hope so much more than just that……
I hope he learns to love learning as I did and still do. We are all learning everyday in so many ways and it would be wonderful to see him finding joy in it from a young age.
I hope his teachers see in him the kind, sensitive, cheeky, intelligent, caring, loving, energetic, generous, funny, creative, happy boy that I know him to be, that they love him for it and they encourage him and give him the confidence to just always be himself. From just one meeting with them I have every confidence that they will and I am so grateful for that already. If my first wave of overwhelming emotion was based on fear and anxiety for him, my second near-tears moment was a result of the pure joy and relief that overcame me as I watched my son’s new teacher take so much time and care to spend one-on-one time with Monkey after everyone else had left and he had finally started warming up to the classroom. She was so sensitive to his needs already and I cannot express how much that eases this worried mummy’s heart and mind.
I hope he learns to respect and appreciate his teachers and all that they do. It really does take a big heart to shape little minds and the right teacher makes such a difference to a child’s life and in turn the whole family.
I hope he continues to read, and read, and read, and read. Books were my first love and I would love for him to feel the same magic in them as he grows, to be transported to far away lands, to go on fantastic adventures, to meet new characters, to laugh out loud, to learn about the world around him. He’s already made a great start on this and I’m sure his school and teachers will encourage it to grow.
I hope he joins in, has the confidence to raise his hand and ask questions or answer questions, to be curious, to play, to use his imagination, to sing, to make the most of every opportunity and experience presented to him.
I hope he makes friends, good friends. Hopefully at least one friend that sticks around in Dubai for a few years to come, that will grow with him and join him in his journey, a familiar face from year-to-year, each reassuring the other. Dubai is such a transient place that I know this is a lot to hope for. It won’t be like my own school experience where the kids in my class and I grew up together all through primary school and a handful of us all the way up to the end of our school careers at aged 18. But I hope it goes some way towards it at least. I also hope we can make friends with the families of his school friends. We are all in this together and it would be great to enjoy the experience and support each other through it.
But most of all I hope he has fun, that he enjoys school, that he loves his teachers, that he wakes up each morning with excitement for the day ahead and ends each day with a load of happy memories to file away. Before the serious business of learning starts when he is older, this is definitely the time for fun.
And I really, really, really hope that he remembers every little detail and tells me all about it when he gets home. I will miss him but I don’t want to miss out on this part of my little boy’s journey!
Good luck to all the little ones and their families starting out on the school journey this year. I hope the transition goes well for you all!
Is your little one starting school this year? How was their first day? What do you hope for them as they begin this journey? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you!