In less than four teeny tiny months Toots will start school. Not nursery or daycare or preschool or prep classes, but real live, can't say "screw this" and go home when you feel like it, school.
To say that I'm panicking would be a bit of an understatement. We're still working on a few issues which really need to be resolved before she starts.
She occasionally still takes a hell of a long time to finish a meal. Now that won't be a problem until November because she won't stay in school for lunch until after Halloween, but even so visions of my little girl sitting at a table still nibbling at her food while the other kids play outside having finished their feed ages ago doesn't leave me feeling like a happy chappy.
Nine times out of ten, she'll go the bathroom by herself and wash her hands when she's done without any involvement on my part, but sometimes, not often but sometimes she will still ask me to come with her. This tends to be when she wears tights, but bear in mind that she'll be starting school right before tights wearing weather kicks in so we can't avoid that. There will be someone available to take her to the bathroom in school and to help the kids redress if necessary, but my concern is that she won't be happy with someone she doesn't know doing this to begin with and it'll make her feel uncomfortable about using the bathroom in school.
And of course she still has a few days when she prefers to be in charge. I've spent the last few months explaining that she needs to do what the teacher tells her and be polite and respectful, raising her hand before asking a question.
With a daughter who knows her own mind and is more than happy to voice her own opinion, I live in fear of the "child led learning" currently being tested in some schools on the mainland. Basically what that means is that if Billy wants to play by himself in the corner instead of taking part in whatever class activity is going on around him then under no circumstances is the teacher permitted to try and coerce or entice Billy to take part. He would basically be left to his own devices.
Thanks very much to whatever
Still there is one silver lining to all of this. I know it may not be the most important thing in the world to everyone, but it is quite high up on my list.
We paid a visit to her old daycare on Wednesday to see some of her friends. As soon as we walked into the room, two of her friends ran at her from the other side of the room screaming incoherently. When we eventually got the kids to settle down we worked out that they were trying to tell Toots that they would be going to school with her.
I was over the moon. It turns out all in told six kids she went to daycare with, will also be attending the same school.
Toots is very social and it puts my mind at rest somewhat knowing that she will have friends around her which she knows from day one. I know she will make new friends after a day or two (that kid could make friends in an empty room), but I just feel a bit better now.
I think that having her friends around her will sort out the meal time problem. Toots is a very social eater and always did eat a lot better in the company of kids her own age.
The next hurdle will be buying her school uniform and then convincing her to wear it.
I love a challenge.