It’s been all over your Facebook feed this week, I guess?
Fresh-faced kids, dressed in their brand new over-sized uniform, standing on the steps of the house. Expertly placed in position by the front door, giving their best pose ahead of day one at big school.
Today, it was our turn.
Daisy bounded out of bed around an hour earlier than normal. I guess she knew that the big day had arrived.
“Please can you tie my hair up, I don’t want to get nits” she exclaimed.
If getting nits is her biggest fear about starting school then I think we are going to be ok!
Today represents everything I fear about being a dad. It’s the day that my girl gets just that little bit more grown up. I know it’s nothing unusual or unique but every landmark makes you sit up and notice that your little one isn’t the tiny baby you cradled in your arms anymore.
However, something about today felt a bit more serious. A smidge more grown up.
Perhaps it was the school uniform?
One minute she had leapt out of bed in her PJs, grasping onto the teddy that she still sleeps with looking all disheveled and small. Ten minutes later, she was wearing her brand new school togs and suddenly looked like a teenager.
Perhaps it was the attitude?
“Daisy, you look so grown up”, I said. “You know, just because you’re going to school doesn’t mean that you’re not my baby. You’ll always be my baby girl”.
To which she replied “not when I’m a great-grandma, because then you’ll be dead I think”.
I think the main reason it feels so strange is because Daisy going to school will fundamentally change the time I have with her. Beforehand, I’d drop her at nursery every morning for 9am, then pick her up at 1pm. I’d normally have an hour with her before going to work and I’d be back just after 7pm to tuck her into bed and read her a story.
Now, I’m taking her to school by 8.30am and won’t see her again until bedtime.
It really feels like I am having to let go of her for the first time. Daddy day care, my life for the last 4 and a bit years, is gone.
(I’m actually feeling a bit weepy even writing this – something that never happened to me before I had kids!
OK; I’ve pulled myself together…)
We had, of course, allowed extra time for the obligatory photo.
Daisy posed, proud as punch, we hopped in the car and off to school we went.
My main worries had been as follows:
- Will she freak out?
- Will she make friends?
- Will she be happy?
- Will she eat any of her school lunch?
- Will she cry when I drop her off?
- Will I ever stop being such an overbearing, paranoid, worried dad?!
Initial signs after the drop off are that questions 1-5 seem to be just fine. Less so number 6… but I’m working on that!
Daisy rolled up to school without a care in the world. Some of her friends from nursery were there and they all seemed delighted to be reunited and given the opportunity to compare patent shoes.
I’ve never seen so many parents at a school. The amount of photos being taken probably rivalled the amount you’d expect during a Taylor Swift concert. It was relentless.
But most of the kids seemed perfectly fine. Maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal after all?
One thing I had wondered for a while was the final thing that I was going to say to Daisy before leaving her to get on with it. I wanted it to be impactful and be something she would remember.
Having given it a lot of thought I went with the following:
“Be yourself Daisy; because there’s no one else like you”.
I meant to leave it there and let her soak in my words… but I couldn’t help myself and then blurted out:
“AND LISTEN TO YOUR TEACHER”.
After all, this is the first rung on the ladder to her gaining a place at Oxford University! 😉
It was only upon getting home and starting to write this blog, reflecting on the morning’s events, that I realised the following…
Today wasn’t actually that big of a deal for Daisy.
It was only a big deal for one person.
(As always, please feel free to leave your comments and experiences below.)