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Sep 1

Just me and my dog

Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2009 in Family

Do you remember your first day at school?  I do.  I remember the smooth grey desks and the undersized chairs that didn’t seem so undersized at the time.  I remember feeling panicked, until a little girl approached and told me her name was Kate.  I told her my name was Kate too.  The rest is history.

I don’t remember my mother on that day though, didn’t consider how she felt.  She told me last week that on that day, once she had dropped me off, she returned home and whiled my absence away on the swing, cuddling our dog and crying.

Today was Puppychild’s first day at school.

All dressed up in her tiny uniform, slightly too small but hugely excited, her schoolbag full of brightly coloured books and sandwiches with cheese-strings on the side, she approached the throng of schoolchildren nervously, grasping my hand tightly.  Madness and chaos in the playground as families gathered, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that chaos is always fair in its randomness.

I noticed an almost imperceptible squeeze as she grasped my fingers tight, then she let go.  The void was so obvious all of a sudden as I watched her walk away from me,  it was like removing the nappy from a chimpanzee and releasing it into the wild.

She stood still for a few minutes just staring around her, she smiled at the boys and waved politely at the girls, but nobody came over to talk to her.  Instead of being consumed by paranoia, she instead began to chase around after a small bunch of children and just like that, she was at one with them.  I couldn’t do that.

A woman ran past me clutching a tissue to her tear-stained face.

The teacher ushered the smalls to their seats and Puppychild found a small kid with a head full of bouncy curls and they began to play shop.  I took a picture and walked away.

I would so love to be a fly on the wall in that classroom right now, but I know it’s none of my business.  This is her life now, it’s not for me to know.  My job is to find something else to do and nurture from a distance, just me and my dog.

Bring on the comments

  1. GrowUp says:

    My youngest started yesterday, so I worked from home to be involved. She’s been in Montessori for a couple of years so it’s not that big a wrench, but it’s a significant event all the same. She knew a good few in her class so not intimidating, and ended up sitting beside a friend (the principal’s daughter, playing politics already :-) )

    Apparently on my first day I just stared in amazement at some child having a tantrum, and went about my business.

  2. Congratulations to P and I hope she’s having a wonderful day at school! It sounds like a good start.

    Last week I left my oldest in a faraway house to start her new life without us. I kept thinking of things to tell her, advice, goodbyes, anything, while she and everyone else was surely wishing I would just get in the damn car. One last long tight hug and I really got in, and my husband drove away and around the corner… while I’m thinking, ‘What the hell is going on? We can’t just LEAVE her!’ We did. I’m still in shock.

    Good luck to you and the dog! I hope the first day is going beautifully meanwhile.

  3. Cathy says:

    What a lovely post! It reminded me of many many first days in September. This year, my littlest one is starting secondary school. I made myself NOT walk to the gate with him…

  4. I’ve never thought about how hard that must be you know, but you’ve captured it beautifully here.

  5. I’ve a vague memeory of kicking my teacher in this shins on my first day.

    Her name was Noddy, and she was about 120 years old. Well her real name wasn’t noddy of course, her head just wobbled all the time. No doubt from little shits kicking her in the shins.

  6. Naoise says:

    My little fella started today too. He stood in the middle of room looked at everyone for about a minute then went and sat between two other kids and started talking to them. No way would I ever have the nerve to do that.

    When I picked him up I asked him who he had sat beside and he told me ‘a new Cillian and a beautiful girl’. We have bets on that the girl is blonde. He has a thing for cute blonde little girls. He has been known to stalk them around the playground.

  7. ahh bless i hope today went well for the both of you. I remember m,y first day in school and it was great fun i got to colour all day long in my colouring book and i also remeber playing with a lovely little boy named conner and we have been friends ever since.

  8. Baino says:

    There’s a lot of first days going around on the blogs this week. Thank your lucky stars that she’s well adjusted enough to become part of it straight away. Here they literally shoo clinging parents away so that the kids don’t get upset. Mine never had a problem, even though I forgot to pick Ads up on his first day (they finished at lunchtime for the first week!) And there are worse things than having 9-3 just you and your dog!

  9. I spent my first day at school consoling a complete stranger of a class mate who had pissed himself because he was so upset.

  10. Grannymar says:

    Sounds like Puppychild was well ready for the big day. Remember how much she grows up that she will always be your baby!

  11. K8 says:

    Grow Up; Yep, the montessori definitely helped a lot… especially seeing as the teacher is the new principal’s best mate (heheh) Nothing wrong with a foot-in.

    Susan; Thanks! I’m amazed and delighted at how quickly they settle, but don’t you wish they’d stop growing for just a little while longer? I hope you’re okay, planning tons of posted care-packages I’m sure :)

    Cathy; Ooooh secondary school! When parents should be seen and not heard – if even that. Good luck!!

    Jenny; I guess it’s only hard if you make it so. There’s no point in being masochistic about it, even if you want to be.

    John Braine; Some shins just need to be kicked though, and somebody has to do it. Long live little shits, I say, for I was one too.

    Naoise; See though, it could be worse, he could want to BE a blonde little girl.

    Vicky; Aww, bless!! How sweet that you stayed friends, that’s so rare.

    Baino; The lunchtime finish – I almost forgot, too! Thank f* for pre-set mobile phone alarms I say.

    Xbox; Oh that’s a bummer. I bet that kid was you, wasn’t it? Go on, you can tell us, we won’t laugh!!

    Grannymar; That she will. I’m sure she’ll feel the same on that day she carts me off for my first day of old folk’s home.

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