Sunday 17 December 2017

Colette Fitzpatrick: My little boy is ready for his first day of school, and I don't think he'll cry

Colette Fitzpatrick accompanied by the two closest people to her heart, her 4- year- old son Milo and 2- year- old daughter Olivia.
Colette Fitzpatrick accompanied by the two closest people to her heart, her 4- year- old son Milo and 2- year- old daughter Olivia.

A conversation with the four-year-old.

"Is Jesus the boss of the world, Mammy?'


"Did he died-ed?' 'Ehhh'

'How can he live with his mudder and fadder, if he died-ed? Is Fozzy in that house?' (Fozzy was Granny's dog who recently died and who, it was explained to him, 'went invisible and went up in the air')

I don't have the answers to questions about religion and mortality but my four-year-old asking them makes me realise how much he's grown and yet how little he knows.

And that maybe, just maybe, this little man is ready for big school next month.

I'm told that on their first day in school, the class is full of parents either crying that their 'baby' is leaving them or they're landscape recording the scene with iPhones.

Meanwhile, the bemused children believe their school life begins and ends on this day. That once it's over, school for life is over.

You're meant to downplay the big day. Ratcheting up expectations backfires, apparently. So put those iPhones away.

I don't think my little man will cry but I fully expect him to cry if others do.

And walking away while your child is crying his little heart out is the most counter-intuitive thing imaginable for all parents.

I wonder will I annoy his teacher if I advocate for him and ask that he's seated at the top of the class because his eyesight's not great? I wonder will he make friends quickly?

Will he be polite? Will his teacher think he's smart? Will she think he's not smart?

But I'm most concerned about the new routine. My kids are still tearing about in their jammies at 8.30am. To cut out the morning indoor hurling/football routine and go get dressed after breakfast will be the biggest obstacle, I fear.

That and getting her nibs' head around the fact that she's not going to big school. (She's smack bang in the middle of the 'he has it, I want it, he says, I say it, he feels it, I feel it' phase.)

I can't remember a thing about my own first day but have distinct memories of my sister's.

She was a year behind me. I don't know why I was there in her classroom and remember showing her all the toys and where they were kept. She was quite dismissive. As if she was telling me that I was embarrassing her and that she'd figure it out herself.

I know my son will have sad days and lonely days and days when he just doesn't want to go, when his teacher doesn't notice him or his best friend won't play him or another child is mean to him.

And I know that this is all just part of growing up.

There is no-one quite like your own child and never will be.

They have everything inside of them to get to wherever they want to go and be whatever they want to be.

I hope school will help express the miracles and magic in my little man's head.

We'll be cheering him on all the way.

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