On Starting School

To my boy,

How is it you are starting school next week?

It seems like only a heartbeat ago since you were this

Then you were home with me in your tiny babygro, swaddled in your blanket.

Glen Hansard won an Oscar for Once a couple of days after you were born. We watched it together in the middle of the night, you a tiny newborn gazing up at me. Falling Slowly is our song. I sung it to you all the time when you were smaller. Now you are going to be putting on a uniform and you don’t really look for bedtime songs that much any more.

It’s a momentous step in your life. Don’t get me wrong now, it wont be taxing at first. You will mainly just colour in for the first year. You will love it. Some of the other things might take a bit of getting use to though. Your teacher will be lovely but she is there for 27 children in your class, not just you. You need to close your own coat, open your own lunchbox and wipe your own bum ( dear god, please remember this part). The school is big. Very big. Its ok though because your classroom will be cosy and I will be waiting everyday outside when you are finished.

You need to eat your lunch everyday. At the moment you only really like cucumber and yogurt for lunch. Yogurt is a non runner for the lunchbox and you’re not going to survive on just some cucumber at school so please give sandwiches a try, please?

You’re going to make loads of new friends. Possibly even life long ones. I met your godmother, 30 years ago on my first day of school. Not everyone will be your friend though and some of the children might do something to annoy you some days or might even be mean to you. I will tell you this is because they are having a bad day and not to let it bother you. I wont tell you how I really feel about the potential situation of another child being mean to you as I will sound psychotic. Ignore them though, its their loss. I’ll take off my rose-tinted glasses for a split second and also ask you please don’t be mean to anyone either. I don’t think you will, you never have been before but thought it was worth a mention.

I don’t think you realise with all the excitement of starting, that it’s not just for a couple of days or weeks. This is it now. 8 years of primary school followed by another 5/6 of secondary school. You have to go every day. It’s not like in playschool when you were a bit tired so we stayed home and had movie days on the couch. I am sorry now I didn’t make more of the time when we weren’t tied down by school restrictions. I should have had more adventures with you. You get a lot of holidays though , we’ll adventure loads then, I promise.

I know for the first couple of weeks you are going to be demonic in the afternoon due to exhaustion. The getting up early, the colouring in, the eating of the cucumber and the looking after your own things will take it out of you. I’m prepared for that and I’ll let you away with it until October.

I will also try not to bombard you with questions about your day when I collect you from school but please please please tell me some things. It’s a big thing for me, you spending hours away from me every day, I want to know every single detail about the game in yard, at least at the start anyway.

Your big sister cant wait for you to go to school with her. Your partner in crime, your little sister, I fear, is going to be like a lost soul without anyone to chase her for hours every morning. She will miss you. I will miss you. Your sister is just not into the hugs and kisses the way you are.

I promise to try not to cry. Although I will warn you,every year I cry when they do the segment on the news about starting school and show all the new tiny junior infants in their uniforms. Yep, that’s me your mother, crying over children I don’t know starting school. So you know it doesn’t auger well, the not crying. I cried when you finished playschool, cried when buying your uniform and will obviously cry when you put the uniform on , on Monday week. You wont see though, I will hide it. I wont cry when we go into your class room. I’ll get you settled and when I leave, I will sob. You wont see that though either. Oh your Dad, will most likely cry too. ( Here’s hoping your grow up ok with two whingebags as parents) I wont be crying because I am sad, I will be crying because I am proud of you.

So off you go, laugh, make friends, have fun, explore and learn . I promise I will never drop you to school wearing leopard skin slippers. It only happened once before but your sister is still going on about it 18 months later. I will be waiting everyday outside when you finish, looking forward to your hug. If you want to wait till we get home to hug me because you’re big now, that’s cool, I understand.

I love you baby boy, enjoy every second of it.


Have you a baby a little girl or boy starting school this year?

How are you feeling about it?

About The Clothesline

30 +, Husband, three little girls, one little boy, one dog. Overdrawn, overtired, overemotional and overwhelmed most of the time.
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21 Responses to On Starting School

  1. Awww…this made me tear up…I have a little boy starting Kindergarten in a few weeks…oh my it will be so hard!!!

  2. Angela Bruce says:

    Lovely piece of writing, no I don’t have a boy starting school, however I do have a baby boy (29 yrs) leaving for Canada on the 7th September to work there. Seems like only yesterday when he was starting his 1st day at school, life is full of 1sts one happy some sad. Good luck to all the little kiddies starting and all the big ones in their adventures in life x

  3. ElaineMoore says:

    Deborah that’s just beautifully written…very emotional after reading that especially with Aoife at her first playschool next week! The baby hormones don’t help either! Such a special thing for Oscar to read when he’s older too xx

  4. Fran McGrath says:

    My boy is starting school for the first time on Friday! Had my last day in work today – now on maternity leave! Hopefully no 2 doesn’t come early so no 1 has a chance to settle!

  5. Joanne says:

    Oh my god, weep, weep…..My baby girl starting next Thursday……not looking forward to it…

  6. Tommy says:

    Absolutely lovely post.

  7. Frances says:

    I loved this article…took me back to my sons’ first days at school. I still go through it, and they’ve just started High School (9th grade) and Middle School (6th grade) here. Can’t believe how quickly the time has flown — and I agree with your reflection on spending more time doing fun things with them…I don’t think any of us would say we did enough of that, and always want to do more! Thanks for this!

  8. Niki says:

    Lovely sentiments. My baby left home to go to Australia on Saturday for at least 12 months. Although I know this is a most fantastic opportunity for him, and an adventure I have encouraged him to take, I cried til I felt sick after waving him off at the airport. Every moment is precious.

  9. Kiki says:

    Ahh, what a lovely post. Certainly struck a chord with me. *Sniff*

    Why do I read these things late at night?

    Now I’m going to be a puffy eyed mummy on the school run!

  10. Pingback: On Finishing The First School Year | At The Clothesline

  11. You’re making me want to cry dude. Mine is starting on Friday week. I’ve taken the day off work and am shitting it that I will cry all over the place. Delighted I read your great post here. It has reminded me to stop and take in the significance of it all. Thanks.

    • You will cry. You have been warned.
      You will come home to an empty house and the silence will be the most silent you’ve ever experienced. Then he will be home again and he will love it all and you may cry again and then life is a new normal. Hope it all goes beautifully

  12. Fiona says:

    And now I’m crying so forgive whatever typos appear here. My little man is starting school Friday week. He’s so excited about it I’ve had to hide his uniform. He will be wonderful. Despite the absolute mess that I have been on more than one occasion this last few years, he is one of the most beautiful people I know. I’m going to try and remember that, and be proud of him and happy for him in his achievements. There is so much about the last few years that I regret, but it’s over and I can’t change it. I don’t want to look back.
    He’s starting in a brand new, beautiful building with some of his best buddies, and will have a garden outside his classroom window. His teacher is lovely. I will be a snivelling heap, I have no doubt, but he’s ready. He’s so ready. Thank you x (I’m still crying btw)

  13. carolannwrites says:

    From the other side of the desk… I’ll be back to teaching Junior infants this September! Can’t wait!

  14. Lyn says:

    Exactly how l’m feeling! Thank goodness l’m not alone.

  15. This was nice to read today. We had a serious problem with J’s first grade teacher, well, she has the problem, she’s a crappy rotten teacher (see http://naptimethoughts.com/2014/09/19/naptimethoughts-goes-to-back-to-school-night/ yes, a shameless plug, but you’ll feel for us after you read it.) and have had to change to a different teacher, as of today. My poor baby, singled out and moved to a brandy new classroom where every other kid knows the score and routine already.
    I want to put his sister in daycare, sneak into the bushes in front of the window of his new classroom, and just stay there, fogging and unfogging the glass, all day.
    They’d have me arrested, of course, mother or not. And somehow I’d get on the registered sex offenders list, I’m sure, but right now, I don’t care.

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