Tuesday 29 June 2010

One huge step for son, one giant leap for mum

Today is a landmark day. It is my littlest boy's first trial session at big school. He's been ready for this day for a full year to be honest, I certainly have been, but now that it's arrived I find myself in tears.

He woke up this morning, with ants in his pants and brimming with excitement. Displaying no first day nerves, he managed to scoff down three pieces of toast and a bowl of strawberries before shooting upstairs to clean his teeth, make his bed and get himself dressed in his big school uniform - all before 7.30am. With no nagging. Remarkable.

Seeing him in his little grey shorts and school shirt, knobbly knees on show, hair sticking up in all directions, I just wanted to grab hold of him and never let go. There he stood, my baby, tucking his shirt in so that he looked smart, brimming with confidence, ready to take on the world. That feeling right then - that love and pride and sadness and joy - all rolled into one is what it means to be a mother.

As we approached the school to drop off his brother, his confidence gave way as people started to comment on how smart and grown up he looked. The more people looked at him, the more he burrowed into my thigh, blushing furiously and looking as though he wished the ground would swallow him.

Then we had a repeat performance as I dropped him at pre-school. You could tell that he and his little friend were torn between being super proud of their big boy uniforms, wanting to show them off, and not wanting all the attention that was coming their way.

I'll be taking him to school after lunchtime for his first taste of the next 12 years of his life. I know it will be an easier transition than I had for son1, who had to face a complete unknown while suffering from an extreme fear of new situations. You can read about that joyous day here. But it's still a huge step for a little person and I sense there will be some clinging later.

However, while it might be one huge step for son, it's a giant leap for mum. Very, very soon I will officially have two school aged children. I'll no longer be the mum to a baby, toddler or pre-schooler. Life should in theory get easier.

But I still can't help feeling sad. The worst part is that I know these feelings are so utterly unoriginal. Most mothers feel this way when their youngest child heads off to big school. It's just another rite of passage you go through. It's not unusual or earth shattering. It just is. Doesn't make it any easier to deal with though.

So I've tried to think about why it feels so sad. It's not that I wish for another baby. I'm definitely a mother who enjoys her children more as they get older. I didn't do the baby thing well. But watching children grow up really emphasises how fast the years gallop by. You get them for such a fleeting time. This journey of motherhood is short but extremely intense.

Every new step they take is worth celebrating - whether its with tears of happiness or sadness - because it's not just their chance to experience something new or leave behind something old, it's yours too. So to all the mums out there with littlies going off to big school soon, live the experience to the full. Because it's part of your life journey too.

I might just stock up on tissues for the beginning of September. I think I'm going to need them.


Julie Sardinetin said...

*Passes the tissues*
It's that whole "end of an era" thing about your youngest going to school that does it I think - you are right in that it just reminds us how we are ageing!
Good luck come September - I'm sure you and he will be fine.

Muddling Along said...

I can only imagine how tough it must be given I got all teary about Toddlergirl starting at nursery

You must be so proud of him though

Good luck in September (and make sure you've plenty of tissues!)

Anonymous said...

I have exactly the same event facing me in September, my little girl is joining her big sister at 'big school' and it is very scary and sad. She has been going to playgroup for 2 years but it still hasn't prepared me for the adjustment. Somehow we will cope though.

nappy valley girl said...

Littleboy 1 will be going in September - it makes me emotional just to think about it. I feel much sadder than them about the leaving of their old nursery in London and now the preschool here - makes you realise that another era of your life has passed, let alone theirs.

Lucy said...


I represent Clarks shoes and came across your blog whilst doing a review of UK Mummy Bloggers, I noticed from your posts that you have school aged children and wondered if you or your friends had ever experienced problems with poor quality or ill-fitting school shoes?

If so you may be interested to know that Clarks have created a video ‘6 steps to fitting’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPYSx0guUxM which aims to inform and advise mums about the problems caused to children’s feet and development by ill-fitting shoes at early ages such as preschool, primary and secondary school, providing an insight into how our expert fitters check every aspect of how a shoe fits around the foot – not just the length and width.

As a common problem which often goes undetected and can have irreversible affects, we are aiming to inform as many mums as possible about the importance of correctly fitting shoes and wondered if this may be something you would be interested in discussing on your blog?

If you would like any more information on Clarks’ expert fitting service or would like to take your child to experience having their shoes expertly checked at your nearest Clarks stockiest please do let me know.

Kind Regards


1st July 2010
The ‘Back to School’ rush can be a stressful and expensive time but the one thing parents can’t afford to overlook is their children’s feet.
According to a recent study by Glasgow Caledonian University, 83% of school starters are wearing shoes that are too small.
Clarks pride themselves on providing a quality one to one shoe fitting service within every stockist across the country, to ensure that your child gets one step ahead when they go back to school with healthy, happy feet.
Ill-fitting shoes can cause pain and discomfort but more seriously if left undetected for a period of time can impact on the development of your child’s feet and lead to problems with their posture and gait.
Clarks’ friendly expert fitters follow a specially designed 6 step fitting process shown in our ‘6 steps to fitting’ video guide, to ensure that your child is wearing not only the correct size but also width and shape to best fit their foot. You can visit one of our expert fitters free of charge every six to eight weeks for children aged two to five years and every four to five months for children over the age of five to give you peace of mind that your child’s feet are developing correctly.
You can view and order the Clarks Back to School range online at www.clarks.co.uk/kids, then simply collect at your local stockist where a Clarks’ trained fitter will also carry out the 6 step fitting service before you take them home.
- See video attached -
Overview of six steps
1. Length – with the Childs feet together and flat on the floor, check the growing room between the longest toe and the end of the shoe is at least 14mm.
2. Width – check that there is no pressure on the foot at the sides of the shoe and that the little toe is free to move.
3. Depth – check that there is sufficient depth to the shoe; there should be no pleating or creasing just a gentle ripple.
4. Top Lines – there should be no gaps around the rim and it should not cut into the ankle bone. Padded tops are better for prominent ankle bones.
5. Heel Grip – check that the shoe grips if you pull down gently on the back of the shoe.
6. Walking – check that the heel grips when walking and that there are no gaps at the sides. Children should walk easily, naturally and comfortably.
For further information on the Clarks range or foot care please contact Victoria Rose or Abi Whitfield on 01625 822 601 / 01625 822 438 or Victoria.rose@europe.mccann.com / abi.whitfield@europe.mccann.com

Joanne said...

Wow - never seen a press release as a comment before.
But, by the by, your post was so well put. I measure my own diminishing years left on earth by my children's ages and height - they'll be 10 and 8 by the end of this year and the 10-year-old now reaches my chin. Scarey! Make some scrapbooks to store those memories in - their earliest drawings and stories.