Big D is growing up fast and it’s hard to believe how quickly the years are flying by. Next September, she’ll be starting school and already I feel such a mix of emotions about the transition. Every day I feel so immensely proud of the little lady she’s become, so full of life and love and with such strength of character.
London has a notoriously competitive school entry system, and I’m only just starting to get my head around it. Like a lot of new parents, I frantically registered Big D in numerous schools the month she was born. As crazy as it seems, this appears to be par for the course in the Capital.
Most of the schools are entry-level assessment only, which I feel a little uncomfortable about: the thought of Big D being judged at such a young age makes me a little nervous, who knows how she’ll react under the microscope? While I think Big D is the most wonderful little creature, there are days when she can be a little terrapin – what if she’s assessed on one of those days?!
I’ve heard lots of stories about what the assessment might entail – little ones being asked to explain how glass is made, listing the ingredients for making bread – and a lot of other poppycock. A friend whose daughter is now at one of the schools we rather like for Big D had been told that the assessment included drawing a human and the test was whether she drew 5 fingers rather than 3. I promptly took the pad out and encouraged Big D to have a go at drawing Mummy. Big D drew a wonderful likeness with 3 long fingers on each hand! My husband and I looked desperately at each other…Noooo!
I’ve had the rather serious task of visiting three schools of late. Having not set foot in school since ’98 it’s been something of a nostalgic exercise. As I walked up the corridors, the familiar aroma of school dinners switched on my senses and the rather more pungent smell of the locker room (damp kit willing its way to the washing machine) takes me back to a half-forgotten but much loved time.
As I popped in to classes and saw all these little people with big smiles staring back I was overcome with emotion. Trying to pull back tears with a fizzing nose, I couldn’t quite work out why I found being back at school so overwhelming. Part of it is because my Little Love is about to embark on a new chapter of her life – the other sentimental part of me wants to be young again and do it all over.
I loved school and so did Daddy B, so we feel strongly that we want our girls to have the same experience. I can take from the visits I’ve made that, although these schools now use iPad’s and teach code, school is still school. A place of learning, laughs, set-backs and successes – and most of all friendship.
Over the next few months I’ll be trying to help Big D prepare for these all important assessments, but we won’t be trying to pre-empt the test or spend our time teaching random trivia, I’ll be trying to help her feel even more loved, secure, confident and brave.
I want her to be able to enter any room and light it up just by being her little wonderful self. An interview is a two-way test, and I absolutely believe that Big D will let us know which environment she will thrive most in.
For the time being, I’m happy to be a three fingered stick-mummy, at least I get a discount on manicures!
Love Mummy B