So this week brought that little slip of paper in the school bag that confirms just when you have to go and sit with your childs’ teacher for 10-15 minutes and discuss exactly what they do in those hours between 9 and 3.30 when they aren’t with you.
I like to think these hours involve making beautiful crafts and learning to write, spell and read at long last and generally learning to be a lovely little human but after seeing the state of my child when I pick him up from school each day, I do genuinely wonder if he’s just been studying “how to be a caveman” judging by the amount of caked on mud all over his school shoes that I only ever manage to wipe off in a fit of “oh God why didn’t I do this last night” at 8.28am that morning. (Top tip, baby wipes are your friend as a Mum…)
I opened his school bag to find a carrot the other day. A single carrot. Having a small moment of wondering if they have been brainwashed as there is not a single chance in hell of my child eating one of these cooked, let alone raw at home, I enquired how it appeared in the bag. “Oh we get them at break time Mummy, they’re lovely” he replies. Turns out my child is a totally different person at school than he is at home.
And I think I probably was too. Up until middle school I was confident and could honestly say I absolutely loved school. I think I had a little wobble to begin with when I started first school but once I got into it, that tiny little village school of mine was my little world for five years. I have fond memories of it and can’t even recall a parents evening, though presumably there must have been as my Mother was told by my reception teacher, at the age of four, that I spent far less time doing the arts and crafts projects provided and more time studiously reading the newspapers that were placed down to protect the tables. (I just hope to goodness it wasn’t the Daily Mail.)
This has never been an issue with my child. Being a “young” one in the school year, he has always been slightly behind his peers in all things academic, although he can definitely fight a good fight on the football pitch. Reading has not come naturally, writing has taken time, spelling is another matter entirely.
I wasn’t expecting great things, having being told in the past couple of years that “he’s a little character” and other such gems along the lines of “he literally doesn’t stop but we class it as him having a personality and hey, let’s just go with it” but I was more than a little blown away at being told that “he has incredibly neat handwriting,” he “is a lovely child to have in the class” and when the teacher asked them to tell him what their favourite thing about school was, my little man proudly said “I love my kind friends” which I have to say kinda broke my heart a little.
It appears that while I took my eye off the ball for a millisecond of parenting, as we so often do, my little guy positively embraced the whole idea of this school lark so when I gave him the choice of a little “treat” the other day on the first day of our half term week together, he chose a seemingly enormous book about fascinating facts on astronauts and crocodiles and dinosaurs. “I’m not sure sweetie” I’d said as I thought all this would be far too advanced and scare him off from this reading caper entirely. He then proceeded to read me the whole of the first page as we walked around the shop. I had to stop myself from having a little sob as I paid for it and then caught him in the rear view mirror on the drive home devouring his book.
It would appear in the days since finding this literary tome that this book is a bit of a hit in his little world. He has gone to bed with it, told me interesting facts from it, and although, if I’m honest, can’t really read as much of it as he thinks just now, the joy of reading is there somewhere. The utter pleasure that you get from picking up a fresh new book, the smell of the pages, the feel of the spine and the individual carefully printed new pages. What treats he has in store, I used to read everything I could get my little paws on at his age, I just hope this continues. And he continues having kind friends and loving all the things school and learning can give him. Fly high my little one. Fly high.
And yes, fully aware of the irony of the title of the book………