Starting School: Are We Even Ready?


Maddie’s starting school in just under two weeks and I can hardly believe it. It seems like only yesterday we went for our first IVF appointment, and saw her heartbeat on a screen at 7 weeks…

But besides the obvious emotional turmoil of your first child starting school, (totes emosh, innit?) I have acquired a newfound sympathy for mums of school-age kids. The admin is UNREAL. I’ve ploughed through tens of hundreds of A4 pages and I’ve not yet made it to the all-important school handbook yet and it’s T minus 312 hours to go.

I mean, I’ve been busy trying to shop a list of school uniform long enough to pave a road from Neptune all the way to the Sun, and OH MY! HOW expensive is the kit shop?

No wonder it’s never gone out of business. My parents shopped there for us lot back in the early nineties when we started secondary school, and P.S, I’m still waiting to fit into my blazer, twenty-eight years later. What I’m honestly surprised at, is why the kit shop owners haven’t sold their lucrative business and moved into St George’s Hill, Weybridge’s 964-acre private gold gated community up the road thanks to the proceeds of all these uniform sales? Thank GOD for the supermarkets. “No darling, I’m sure you don’t really need a logo on your waterproof trousers…”

We’ve spent at least two hundred and fifty quid stocking up for the year ahead. I’m not even joking.

And then there’s the school-home visit to plan for before school actually starts. It’s unfortunate that we currently have a wild mouse lost in the downstairs area of our house courtesy of our cat. A mouse was last seen scurrying by me while I was mid puppy pose at the end of my Thursday night online Yoga class. (A pose which incidentally, my mother-in-law calls the ‘pretend to be a bicycle park pose’. The mind boggles, Rosie Thompson, I know you’re reading this! ;) )

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We all know that Mickey is going to make his appearance just as I’m in the middle of reassuring Maddie’s new teacher how clean-living we are. FACT.

And then there are her ‘WOW’ moments. I was supposed to be noting down Maddie’s various outstanding personal achievements all summer long, but I only found out about this activity when I came across the ‘WOW’ sheet of A4 paper on Friday. I had to WhatsApp several friends in order to decipher what a ‘WOW’ moment was…

The real WOW moment of them all for me is this shocking mountain of school admin. WOW indeed.

Besides all that, I like to think I’m pretty much very nearly organised for Maddie starting school. I mean, I’ve ordered ten thousand school name labels, and that’s got to be the one classic item most of us are going to forget, right? But OH-SO-IMPORTANT!

Because apparently, you have to label everything, or you’ll end up with nothing. NO-THING. Your child will be returned home naked at the end of the day if the clothing they are wearing doesn’t belong to them by proof of a name label. Consider yourself duly warned.

Joking aside, I’m actually feeling pretty terrified at the prospect of Maddie starting school. It’s definitely triggering some buried feelings of dread that belong to a much younger me, during the first few days of term. Unfortunately, you would not find my younger self skip, hop and jumping into school at the start of the academic year. I used to wonder how on earth I would ever get through the days that stretched out ahead of me like a prison sentence. Youth eh? Wasted on the young.

Anyway, I’m hoping Maddie will take it all in her stride, which is how she seems to tackle life so far. For a start, she’s much braver than me, and much more confident than I was at that age, so I’m sure starting school is going to be just fine… Right?

T-311 hours to go and counting…

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