When Florence was born I couldn’t imagine how quickly the time would be before she started big school. Nearly five years seemed so far into the future and I didn’t really give much thought to the time when I would have to hand her over to school for 6 hours a day, five days a week.
Back then I filled our days with trips out and play groups. Lots of fun and lots of us just mooching and doing whatever we wanted together. It’s been the most magical and without exaggeration best time of my life. She came along and changed me, she changed my heart. For the better. I never knew how much love could be in the world until I had her.
My girl and me enjoying the sunshine on one day in her first ever summer!
As a baby she was just the most perfect creature and she has grown up into the most perfect little girl. She can be a monkey for sure and her personality has always been very apparent. Even from day one! She is feisty and stubborn and wants her own way – wonder who she gets that from?! She is also kind and caring, forgiving and honest, talented in so many ways and brilliant at so very many things. She has a side to her which is just all hers, just Florence! She makes me proud every moment of every day, even when she has her monkey moments and I love being with her!
Even as a baby she demonstrated her very Florence-ness in her personality!
People often asked me when she was a baby if I wanted to go back to work or more to the point if I HAD to? I am forever greatful that we are in a position where I don’t because the thought of not being there with her every day as she grows is horrid. I quite literally love being a stay at home Mummy and I think it has made our relationship all the richer for it.
She became an inquisitive toddler who talked ALL the time. I wore her in a sling mostly while I pushed an empty buggy and we just chatted, chatted, chatted and walked, walked, walked for ages.
My little toddler girl on a day out at the Southbank!
When I fell pregnant with Jimmy people started to ask me what I would do with Florence when the baby came. It seemed like everyone expected me to put her in nursery for a few hours a week and I always felt baffled by that. One friend said ‘but won’t it be so hard with two? Surely you’ll need a break?’ It honestly never crossed my mind. I definitely didn’t want her going off to nursery at that point! Time was flying by and I knew soon enough that she’d be three and going for her fifteen hours, why bring that forward?
Jimmy was born and she took it all in her stride. She was a bit naughty from time to time as if in demonstration that her days had changed but she never took it out on her baby brother. In the weeks after he was born when she was just 2 years and 4 months old she mastered potty training in a week, started sleeping all night in her own bed and we slotted into our new routine as a threesome for all of our usual activities (Daddy being at work of course)!
A brother was not what she’d been hoping for, instead harbouring hopes of a bundle with a little more pink but she just loved holding him and I find it strange now to think that she was only a couple of months older than Jimmy is now. I still think of him as a baby but she was so grown up then!
I’d felt bad for her when I had Jimmy and had worried that I was doing the wrong thing by her. She’d had me to herself all that time and then I was bringing another baby into the dynamic but honestly and truthfully it became just as everyone said it would. Our lives were all richer for having another addition, including hers.
Time still continued to fly by as it tends to do when you’re having fun and then suddenly she was three. All grown up it seemed and I cried tears when she started nursery. Not for her but for me. She needed it and was totally ready to soak up all that she has done. She has learned to read and write and unlike I ever was she enjoys it all. She wants to be there and long may that desire continue I say!
Starting nursery at three tugged at my heart strings. Two and half days away from me every week – she was fine, I was the mess!
I’ve spent so long calling her nursery ‘school’ (it basically is one you see, attached to the big one with the same uniform and qualified teachers giving a structured day) and now all I want to do is call it nursery. As if by the very name of it has made proper school happen faster?
Because you see, with another big suddenly, my baby girl is leaving her nursery which in my mind she has only just started. That huge ‘suddenly’ means she only has a few more days of being there before the summer holidays start and then wow! Big school begins!
Not just a few hours for me to grab some time to do the washing and not just two and a half days because really she needs the extra stimulation but SIX whole hours a day, FIVE whole days a week. And that’s it forever more isn’t it. Five day weeks, conforming to society and when she finishes school and goes to university (I really hope she wants to) or gets a job it will still be five days a week and our precious time for just us with her being a baby really has very quickly arrived at this.
I went to a meeting at the school today to find out which class she will be in. She has been allocated the male teacher my friends and I have decided to call Mr Foxy on account of his aesthetically pleasing 25 (ish) ness… She is NOT in the same class as the two friends she so hoped to be with. She is in a HUGE classroom which after the first term will move to a new building. We were told times (mustn’t be late), home work schedules, uniform details… Everything we need to know and they were lovely. Reassuring. Friendly. Open. They were everything I love about this school but still I sat next to my good friend, one who I have been friends with since we met at baby group when they were tiny (not so long ago remember) and I felt tears prickling at my eyes.
My baby is going off to school in September and I have to find a new routine. One which means I can’t just decide to go to Norwich for the week or spend the afternoon cuddled up on the sofa with both my babies and one which means for 6 full hours a day, 5 full days a week I have to take her to school. HAVE to.
Don’t get me wrong, really I’m very pleased that she is off to school and is confident, happy and feels at home there. The beauty of her being at the nursery means she knows what the school feels like and it’s not a massive transition for her. I’m pleased that her learning will excel there and she will be fulfilled and happy – all I ever want of course is for her to be happy!
But for me… I’m just going to miss her all day really and even as I write these words I’m welling up again.
I know the future holds many mile stones which will make me cry because she is grown a bit more and becoming more independent. It doesn’t mean I don’t want those things to happen, of course it doesn’t! I want her to grow and soar and become the brilliant grown up girl, teenager and adult I know she will be without doubt. But I am right now feeling heavy for the end of an era.
When she came home from school today we all cuddled up with a cup of tea and a bowl of Malteasers each and I looked at my tiny baby girl, grown up enough that she is to be starting big school in September, and I know that no matter how big she becomes or how huge a school, university or work place she enters… She will always be my baby! Just my tiny brilliant baby girl! I’m a Mummy. I’m allowed to be a bit teary that she starts big school right?! I mean it’s a whopping SIX hours a day for FIVE days a week! Did I mention that?!
Tea and Malteasers. A new home from school routine?!