Written by Daisy Leverington

Lifestyle

Motherhood: Big School

Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Four years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week, big school beckoned and ballsed up everyone’s routine.

Daisy's daughter clinging to a parentIt’s Monday morning. It’s grey and miserable outside, and I’ve just dropped off a sobbing child at school. The round trip took over an hour. I’m late for work. The rain has made my hair go ‘Full Monica’.

It’s our daughter’s second week in reception class and I thought I’d be writing this with a smug ‘I knew she’d be fine’ grin. I’m not. She’s really not settled in yet and it’s been a really tough week for all of us.

Her school is wonderful, her teachers are absolutely lovely, and she’s had a gentle introduction to lessons by way of games and craft activities. She even ended up on the class Star Chart for being so well-behaved during her first week. We’re all just finding it far more difficult to adapt than we thought we would.

Our girl has always been a nightmare with food. Her aversion to most food borders on phobia, and believe me, we’ve tried everything to gently introduce new things.

After her first day we found out she’d cried her way through lunchtime after being given a roast pork dinner, which broke my heart as I’d hoped she would see her peers tucking in and want to get involved. Nope. She didn’t eat a bite and came out starving and crying.

The second day we squirreled a cheese sarnie into her bag, and even though she cried through lunch again, at least she’d had something to eat.

The third day she ate the pizza she was offered, and came home bright as a button after a decent feed. This week we’ve sent her with a packed lunch full of good stuff, which we know she’ll scoff, so even though we’re not using the lovely free school dinners that she’s entitled to, we know she’s eating well.

And I’m finally getting some sleep after a week’s worth of worry-based insomnia.

Have we done the right thing? She’s only just turned four. Is she too little for nine-hour days and a formal shirt and tie?

She’s the youngest in her class, and still falls asleep on my chest while I stroke her eyebrows. She’s just so… little. After a lovely two years at a small pre-school, and six weeks with Mum and Dad doing fun stuff, school seems like a cruel trick to play on her.

“She’s an only child in a class of almost 30. Her main competition at home is our cat.”

I thought that I’d be a bit emotional as my baby started formal education, but I wasn’t prepared for the level of stress it’s brought to our house.

I work fairly unsociable hours so I barely see her when she gets home before I rush off. I miss her, and judging by her moods she’s not best pleased that I’m away either.

Even the school run is hard. We didn’t get into our local school, so it’s more than an hour’s round trip, twice a day now, which means less money when you get paid by the hour as I do. It’s all just a bit bloody hard.

I know that in six months I’ll be writing about how much she loves it, and I’m sure that in the long term she’ll be fine. But seeing kids just a couple of weeks younger than our daughter spending an extra year at home with their folks (jammy sods, being born in September) is making my heart ache for our little one and her lunchtime tears.

Daisy's daughter in school uniformIn an attempt to draw some positivity from the first week, I asked her a couple of leading questions about her experiences so far:

“What thing has made you laugh the most?”

“When the rabbit got put in the bin.”

Regardless of whether this was part of a story or an odd ritualistic initiation ceremony, I’m glad she found it funny enough to recount with a smile.

“What was the hardest part of school?”

“Sharing.”

No wonder. She’s an only child in a class of almost 30. Her main competition at home is our cat.

She’ll get used to that, and it’ll do her good to realise that the world is all about sharing. I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s all a bit too much of a change for her.

We’ll see. In the meantime, I need to run to the shop to buy a Kinder Egg. It was the only way I could get her to detach from my leg this morning, and I find bribery works a treat.

@daisyjoy

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Written by Daisy Leverington

Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.