Just like a whirlwind the summer holidays are over and the new term is upon us!

In most atmospheric fashion the glorious sunny weather we’ve been having broke on the first day of term and it has rained ever since. Reminds me of my own childhood when summers seemed to be full of long, hot, golden, sunny days and going back to school meant wet, damp, autumnal weather…

We had such a busy few days at the end of the summer as we were rushing about seeing family and doing things, so by Sunday we slobbed about the whole day quietly watching telly and doing laundry and organising ourselves. S was very methodical and spent about 2 hours on Sunday morning putting all her uniform tidily away and packing her school bag and choosing pens for her pencil case etc. Very calm, very organised. I was expecting the stress and tension of starting a new school to spill over into, well, yelling at me, as it usually does, but Sunday was quiet and calm and thoughtful.

But then Monday happened….

Poor S was far too stressed for an official “back to school” photo, but luckily I had taken one a few weeks ago when she was trying all her uniform on. I did my best to avoid attending every fight she invited me to on Monday morning as she was VERY stressed and DETERMINED to pick a fight with me.
She was convinced she’d be wearing the wrong thing or not have the right pens even though we checked the list multiple times.

In the end though we had our fight out on the road as she left because she refused to put her bike helmet on and I wasn’t going to let her stroppy mood get in the way of basic road safety. We ended up following her in the car to check she was wearing it while she shouted crossly at us from the pavement.

The neighbours were highly amused and watched the whole thing.

I felt terrible she went off on her first morning in such a state but you know, cycle helmets just aren’t negotiable.

However she came home that afternoon feeling much better and calmer, and although we had a few more stressy moments on Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon, things were much improved. On Tuesday morning she rode off on her bike, helmet on, without any fuss at all, and on Wednesday she walked to school with our neighbour’s daughter who is in Year 9 so she had a lovely “big girl” looking after her. On Wednesday afternoon in the car on the way to their swimming lessons I got a sudden deluge of excited chatter about all the new friends she has made and which teachers she likes and a boy that she might be a bit interested in etc.

And of course by Friday she suddenly seems to have grown up overnight into a proper pre-teen swathed in pink lip gloss and drowning in Impulse body spray, happily swanning out of the door to meet her new friends and cycle to school together. It’s been quite the transformation this week!

On Thursday little A started her new school too, looking adorable in her tiny uniform and feeling somewhat nervous and excited. She was not keen to go in but the staff smiled happily and whisked her away into the classroom. I must admit to feeling more than a little bereft as I walked home on my own!

She came home EXHAUSTED after her first day and fell into a catatonic state on the sofa staring blankly at some cartoons, ate some dinner under duress and fell into bed shortly afterwards, bless her.

On Friday she was rather outraged to discover that she had to wear her uniform AGAIN! It was a fun novelty for a day but she was very cross at discovering it had to be worn all over again the next day! She was still a bit tired and overwhelmed but once again the teachers whisked her away without any fuss and I was amused to see a clutch of similarly bereft parents peering into the classroom window wondering if their child was alright while the kindly teacher shooed them all away as gently as possible.

A has been rather clingy and whingy and whiny since starting school – partly from exhaustion and partly I think from a bit of general regression and baby-like behaviour, but other than that she seems to be enjoying it.

I’ve got a magical window of 2 weeks while the girls are at school and before I go back to work so am busy making a list of things I’d like to achieve round the house, batch cooking like a mad thing to fill up the freezer and try to be as ready as possible. I’ve got a few more bits of house maintenance happening in the next few weeks (the loft is getting floor boards put down next week so I can use it for storage, and I’ve ordered a new security gate for the side access which will need to be installed). We’ve discovered an enormous crack in the walls of the outbuilding where the foundations have shifted, and a new leak in the conservatory that needs fixing, so it’s business as usual at Chateau D’Omnishambles!

I am struggling a little with what to do with S after school… As I plan to return to the office as much as I can, there won’t be anyone at home in the afternoons and she’s still a little bit young to be home alone every day. The school does have some clubs they run, but only from 3pm til 4pm, and I’m trying to work out what is best for S to do while I am at work. I have found her one after-school club on a Tuesday that runs from 3.30-5.30pm and it’s FREE (hooray!) and on Wednesdays we have swimming lessons so I’ll need to be back early, but the rest is a bit of a work in progress…. I suspect the answer is to either come home from the office early and work at home in the afternoons or that she will have to just be home alone for an hour or two every day, but we will see.

I was younger than her when we used to be home alone after school for an hour or so, but I guess I feel a tad anxious about it as she hasn’t been with me for very long (only 6 months) so we don’t quite have the same level of trust that you might have with a birth child, and it feels a lot like she will do some sudden growing up at secondary school which I’m not sure I’m 100% comfortable with either!

Thankfully A is at an after-school club Mondays to Thursdays so that is all sorted and I don’t need to worry about what she is up to.

I’ll finish with this little snippet of conversation from a month ago while we were out shopping for uniform:

Me: Are you sure you only want skirts for school? I think a lot of girls wear trousers to secondary school nowadays. I’ve seen lots of girls walking to your school in trousers, you might want to have both just in case.

S: No, I hate trousers, I don’t want any, I won’t ever wear them.

Me: Ok no problem I’ll just buy skirts then.

Earlier today:

S: Can you get me some proper black trousers for school? Everyone else is wearing them and they’re just better as skirts are rubbish.

Me: Urgh, I know this would happen. (Checks websites and literally every supermarket and uniform shop has sold out of trousers in her size)….

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