You know those mums who can’t wait for their kid to start school? Who start counting the days until they can formally enrol their children into the education system before they’ve even left the maternity ward? Yeah, I’m not one of them. Well, sort of. Oh, I dunno. I mean, I’m looking forward to not having two small people at home with me ALL THE TIME, but I’m also dreading not having two small people home with me ALL THE TIME. Work with me here; I’m struggling.
So here you have it: Frankie starts kindy – five days a fortnight, at the same school as Ben – in just over a week. This is the same Frankie who’s never been left with ANYONE apart from immediate family since he was born. I mean, yeah, there was our ill-fated attempt at daycare, when I got brainwashed into thinking Frankie would struggle at kindy unless I enrolled him into daycare RIGHT NOW, so I did, and he went twice, for a grand total of three hours, but he cried, and I cried, and I thought fuck it, and kept him home with me instead.
And then, just recently, I tried out the crèche at my new gym. I told them – loudly and categorically, with eye contact and no room for confusion – that they should come and get me if either or both of my children cried. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m fine with my kids crying, but only if I’m the one responsible for it, you dig? So I did a whole 55-minute Body Attack class, including cool-down, and was feeling pretty fucking optimistic about the future, until I went to collect my children, and saw Frankie and Alice holding hands in the middle of the room, red eyed and gulping. Yeah, they’d gone past the whole ‘crying’ stage and had entered the gaspy-gulpy-run-out-of-tears-abandon-all-hope stage. “Oh! They’ve been crying the whole time! We couldn’t make them stop!” Yep. That happened.
You can understand why, then, I’m not sure how the whole kindy thing’s gonna go. Frankie’s a tough little dude – you could drop him from a great height, and he’d bounce, and brush himself off, and climb to the top again (not that I’d DO that, but you take my point, yeah) but he’s happiest at home, with his people. He’s ridiculously fucking shy, to the point that he’ll try to climb inside you if an unrelated human tries to make eye contact.
And don’t forget, I’ve been here before, six years ago, when Ben started kindy. I’ve had six years of school shit to deal with: lost lunchboxes and forgotten sports days and P&C mums and grammatically incorrect notes home and birthday parties not invited to and mean kids and did I mention the P&C mums? Paul reckons he’s gonna make some kindy dad friends. He won’t, because he’s married to me, but don’t tell him, not yet. He’s got his sights set on a gentleman I spotted at the kindy orientation (All Saints shirt, good shoes), but don’t worry, I’ll fuck it up, by saying something wildly inappropriate on the first morning, ‘cos I’ll be all nervous and shit. There’s a scene in my new favourite programme Catastrophe (tell me you’ve seen it), where the main character Sharon approaches her new mummy friends and says: “What’s up, you crazy bitches?” and it hit so close to home that I couldn’t even laugh. I always say the wrong thing. It’s a fucking affliction. If I could TYPE my opening line that’d be fine, but the spoken word? It doesn’t come easily to me.
(That’s a good point. If ever I meet you, I won’t know what to say, and I’ll probably make an inappropriate comment about cancer, or dwarves, or red-heads, or something. If you’re a red-headed, cancerous dwarf this is practically guaranteed. I’m a fuck-wit. I say stupid things, then lie awake for nights on end thinking about what a fuck-wit I am. So basically, I’m apologising in advance. If you want any form of relationship with me, it’s probably better if we do it in note form.)
Also, what am I supposed to WEAR on Frankie’s first day of kindy? I wore my running kit on Ben’s first day, which was probably wrong, ‘cos the other mums must’ve labelled me “smug jogging mum” there and then, and no one wants THAT. My heart tells me to wear my “I fucking love Paul fucking Rudd” t-shirt, but my head (and my husband) says no. But what then? Prim and proper, or a little bit edgy? The PRESSURE, gang, the PRESSURE.
But obviously this isn’t all about me, OBVIOUSLY. This is about my little dude Frankie, just turned four, entering into the big ol’ education system, and waving me goodbye a couple of times a week. It’s about missing the kid already, and wishing I could keep all my babies little forever. Frankie might be ready for kindy, but I dunno if I am.