On her first day of school part of me felt a little pang that she didn’t shed a tear. She waved me away and couldn’t wait to get started and the tears that came that day came only from me. I knew she would be that way, so confident and happy as always and I knew it was better than her being sad but just that small part of me felt a tiny dot of a sigh that she wasn’t going to miss me AT ALL!
Fast forward two and a half weeks and I am longing for my happy, confident girl. If today I could stop the tears that come when it comes to school then I’d do anything. We went away last week and I know now that we really shouldn’t have. She isn’t coping and while we were living it up in Spain my little girl was growing sadder and sadder at school. Her confidence is knocked, her smiles taken away and in place is a frightened and confused tiny girl of four who just wants to come home and be with Mummy. I am not coping either. To see her so sad, this little person who is really just a part of me it feels, is heart breaking. She is cracked and broken after just a fortnight and I only hope it will mend as quickly as it fell apart.
So what’s wrong? She likes her new teacher. Lots. She loves the work and enjoys learning. But she is sad enough to cry in her sleep even and repeatedly say ‘I don’t want to go, please don’t make me, please let me stay at home with you.’
She is worried, so worried, about so many different things. She doesn’t want to be in the playground when the door is locked to the classroom at lunch time and she keeps worrying she will lose her cardigan. I’ve told her it doesn’t matter if she does. I’ve told her we will just buy a new one but she is obsessed that her cardigan was taken and found in another classroom. She doesn’t see that it was found, she only sees that she lost it… She’s so worried and I’ve never ever seen that in her before. It is breaking my heart.
It has transpired that she wants to play with some girls who don’t want to play with her. She has asked them but they say no. She has said she wants to play whatever they want to play and she doesn’t mind what it is, she just wants them to include her. They won’t, they don’t want to and you simply can’t MAKE someone want to do something they don’t. She doesn’t understand why they don’t want to. I don’t understand why they don’t want to but they don’t and they’re only four as well. Just little. But seeing her brow furrow trying to work out what’s wrong with her makes me want to scoop her up and run as far away with her as I possibly can.
I’m struggling because I don’t know how to fix this. How to make her smile? She cried most of the weekend and again this morning when she clung on to me as I left. Her teacher took her, screaming, away from me. It was the only thing he could do and I think he is doing the right things but it doesn’t make it easier to see someone take my baby girl away as she screams, literally screams, for me to come back. There is no other situation in the world where that would be acceptable but it has to be here doesn’t it?
I think I know that tough love is the only way. But I want it with a gentle edge. I never let her cry as a baby and it feels very alien to me to allow it to happen here but we can’t give in. I can’t come and get her and the school must stand its ground and just plug away. I know that. I do. To give in in any real way will be a step backwards and show her that if she cries long enough and hard enough they will call me. But how long will it take?
I leave her with a teacher I trust. I don’t really know anything about him and I haven’t agreed with things he has said in the past but I just like him and I trust him to do what’s right. He seems very sensible and I just know that he will be kind to her. They cuddle the children at Florence’s school and they aren’t afraid to do so, it’s one of the main reasons I love her being there, knowing if she falls someone will pick her up. It has an outstanding result in every area of its Ofsted report but it’s the feeling they give me that makes me want her there, not a piece of paper telling me they’re doing things right. I SEE for myself that they are!
But again I ask, how long will it take? I just want her to smile and not, as she did tonight, cry into her McDonald’s treat for supper to cheer her up. It’s been less than three weeks, I know… I know… I hope it gets better soon. I hope my girl, who is facing lessons I didn’t expect her to learn at four, feels better soon because this school journey is a long one and to enjoy it is something I know she can and WILL do.
As a child myself I never really liked going to school for school’s sake. What I enjoyed was just having a laugh then when I was older, finding a minute to dip out for a fag and the attention of boys – even at four I had my eyes on a boy in my class (terrible)… I really wasn’t fussed about learning and was far more concerned with being ‘cool’ or, as it turns out, a bit of a twat wasting my time. Florence is so very different to me, even at four I can see that. She WANTS to learn and is very attentive and creative and could so easily be enjoying it if only she could just get over this thing right now. I don’t want school to be for her as it was for me but I want her to enjoy it as much as I did (even if my reasons for enjoying it were all the wrong ones). I’ve just got to get her happy again and school will be something she loves I know it will…