As we walked to school at the steady recommended pace, I reminded Ethan the ten Golden Rules that would save his life, in a Year 1 emergency :
RULE 1 – “If you need to go to the bathroom, don’t leave it too late and ask your teacher.”
RULE 2 – “Even if no one knows your name, Mummy loves you.”
RULE 3 – “If there’s something wrong with your lunch, tell your teacher.”
RULE 4 – “If no one eats morning tea or lunch with you, Mummy loves you.”
RULE 5 – “If you feel sick or ill, tell your teacher.”
RULE 6 – “Try to make friends, if it doesn’t work out, Mummy loves you.”
RULE 7 – “When you play in the Oval, be careful to stay within the boundaries.”
RULE 8 – “If someone says something or does something hurtful, Mummy loves you.”
RULE 9 – “If you are scared, tell your teacher.”
RULE 10 – “Have a great day at school because Mummy will show you her love by giving you a great big treat when you get home because we all know that TV and Nintendo are natural components of Mummy’s love. The rest being lollies, chocolates, outings and toys. So if you had a bad day, which I don’t think you will, Mummy will make it all better with a big kiss, hug and lots of chocolates.”
Then my 6 year old rolled his eyes and said solemnly, “Please, Mom, you told me a g-zillion times already.”
G-zillion? If he knew g-zillion, then maybe he did not need to go to Year 1.
When we reached the Year 1 Classroom at 832am (due to the excitement of spotting Galahs), there were already a lot of people. A lot of young kids, hanging on their parents, some excited, some indifferent, some anxious and some teary. I felt a hard grip and I knew he was starting to feel anxious.
There were kids of all shapes, sizes and colour. It was funny that they were all wearing the same blue Polo shirt, blue shorts, skorts or blue dresses but they all looked so different in the same uniform.
Right away, you could tell the blonde Princess in her perfectly tied up hair, straight pressed dress.
The sporty boy with mud/grass stained Polo shirt with his mum saying loudly, “Why did you have to jump into that puddle?”.
The prim and proper child whose mother looked like she’s just walked off the runway herself.
Then you have the odd one out with the long white socks to his knees and sandals and his too big Polo T shirt tucked into a too large shorts. Smart Mummy, I thought, you buy a uniform so that it will last 3 years instead of 1.
As the Year 1 teacher moved towards me, Ethan moved behind me.
“What’s your name? I’m Mrs Jones, your teacher,” Mrs Jones chatted cheerfully.
“Ehhmmm, I meant your son?” said Mrs Jones gently.
“Oh,” I said, fumbling to remember my first born son’s name, “Ummm…”
“Ethan,” my son whispered.
“Nice to meet you, Ethan. I am Mrs Jones,” she smiled warmly.
The bell rang.
“Here, Ethan, set up and desk and say good-bye to Mum,” said Mrs Jones as she attempted to pry his hand away from mine.
BAWHHHH…..ah, that familiar wail. I KNEW IT! I knew it would come! The separation anxiety. My mother’s instinct was to protect and cover him with my body. Immediately, all the fears I had for the one week, no, it was the fears brought on by that same primal brutal motherly overprotectiveness compulsion I had had since the day I first held him in my arms, came flooding in.
Nobody would play with him. Nobody would know his name. No one would care if he dropped his lunch. No one would put their arms around him if he hurt himself.
“He’ll be fine, Mrs H,” said Mrs Kent as she pried my fingers from around Ethan and passed ME a tissue.
“Good bye, Mummy,” said Ethan as he happily took his place on the mat.
As my son trotted happily with his teacher, I only bawled louder into the tissue.
“Come on, Megs-Babes!” my husband said as he pinched me on my bum.
“But…I should have never allowed you to talk me into this whole thing!” I glared at my husband, “I should have HOME SCHOOLED him!”
“He’s fine!” he said exasperatedly, “and I have an interview to attend and then we have a house to see, remember?”
As I rubbed my bum and looked at my watch, I realized that Ethan and I had missed our scheduled good bye kiss!
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