I am She’s starting Preschool Mum

Next week, our Princess, like so many other Wobblers, will be taking her first steps into the big bad world without Mammy or Daddy.

Now starting Pre-school is not quite the same as starting School School, but if your minion is about to start Pre-school, it is perfectly acceptable to be feeling it right now. It’s good practice for how you are going to feel when you’re packing their school bag for Baby infants.

In our house, I can see it play out already. How? Because Princess is not my first baby to suddenly grow up on me. And yet she’s my first last, and suddenly time is spinning and I can’t keep up.
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It’ll be a typical last Sunday night in August. For 30 years, this particular Sunday night has been a dreaded Sunday night because it marks the first day back at school for this Teacher Mum. I never actually left the education system, so it’s routine by now. Every year, I insist on going out somewhere for the day. I refuse to cook dinner. I try to get an early night. But this year, it’s not about me. It’ll be about Princess.

Her new outfit will perfectly pressed and hanging in the bedroom. I’ll have everything that they need laid out for the morning. The table is already set for breakfast. She’ll been read a special storybook that Daddy found online for Mini-Me about her first day at pre-school (with the name cleverly changed and Mini-Me under threat of no Netflix for a month if she tells her!) and will been tucked in to dream of fairies and muddy puddles.

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And I’ll pour a glass of wine and try not to think about the fact that tomorrow is yet another first in my baby’s life.

I’m leaving her to the same childcare place that she usually goes to, but she’s going into her Big Girl classroom. And she’s going to be going 5 days a week, instead of 2. It’s really no big change. She’s more than ready for it and she’s so excited about starting Naoínra that it’s quite contagious. It’s all good. She could be terrified and refusing to go, but she isn’t.

And I wonder if that is helping Mammy or making me feel worse.

As parents, we have to let our babies grow up. We mark every milestone. We remember every achievement. We let them go into the world, little by little, and just hope that what they receive from us at home is enough to arm them for what the world holds for them. Every little step is essential, and indeed we are very aware of how blessed we are that our mini-Me’s are healthy and able to step into the world. But it doesn’t mean we have to be absolutely happy about it, all the time!

As parents, we also have to trust…To trust the people who will be responsible for looking after our little darlings. We have to trust that their teachers will care for them; that they will be kind to them; that they will give their all to make them who they can be.

So while I feel that I need at least an hour with her new teacher tomorrow morning to go through a crash course, with power point presentation if I could, on what my Little Darling likes, what she’s afraid of, her habits, what upsets her, how she needs help with some things, how brilliant she is at other things and basically, everything about her, I know that I’ll drop her at the door with a smile, tell her to be a good girl and to have fun, and get into the car.

Then I’ll probably bawl my way to work.

But it’ll be fine, because I’ve realised that while I’m entrusting a teacher with the single most important thing in my world, I get to return the favour to other Starting-School Mums. Because for the first time, I truly understand the angst and terror of the Mammies and Daddies who drop their kiddies off at our school’s big blue door every September. I finally understand that I’m not just there to teach them English. I’m there to care for them; to be kind to them; and to give my all to help mould them into who they can be. And it’s the second best job in the world.

And while she is only starting Pre-school, it is indeed a big deal for our little family and for my little Princess. Yes, it might be just another day, but it’s one that we’ll remember forever. Yes, it’s going to be emotional, but it’s good emotion.

And to all of the Mammies and Daddies whose little Darlings are taking their first steps into Pre-school, School School, Secondary School or indeed third level, I send all of my S-Mum love and good wishes, because tomorrow is most likely going to be harder on you than it is on our kids.

So we’ll put on our big girl (or boy) pants and we’ll suck it up.

Because we are Starting School Mums (and Dads). 🙂

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Some Leaving Cert Perspective

Although it is many moons ago, Mammy remembers getting her Leaving Cert Results.

Mammy was certain that the contents of the little brown envelope were going to change her life. Had Mammy’s life REALLY depended on the contents of that little brown envelope, quite frankly, I’d be living an utterly dreadful, mediocre and half-arsed attempt at one. 😂

Because the results printed on my little scrap of yellow paper were quite awful, if I’m very honest. The only mark I remember (or tell anyone about!) was my A1 in Honours English. Go figure.

As for the rest of them? I’d say the examiners only passed me so that they wouldn’t have to read my verbal diahorrea again the following year. 😂I’m not exaggerating either.

But the other grades didn’t matter. The A in English was all that mattered to me, both then AND today. Yes, I got into college, but not until I had spent a week back in the brown uniform 😣😣 convincing myself that I needed to repeat. It wasn’t until the second round offers and a trip to meet (attack😛) the Dean of the English Department in Coleraine, that I finally got my place on the degree course. (I might have only been 17, but I was a stroppy one!😂)

English was all I loved. It was all that I wanted to study and, as the little brown envelope told me, it was apparently all that I was good at… All that I was good at THEN.

At 17. Turns out, I’m good at a whole load of things. I just didn’t get to take exams in singing, dancing, shopping or eating.

The Big LC recognised my ability to understand Shakespeare and write stories off the top of my head, but it didn’t (and couldn’t) know how strong I was at things like organisation, being a friend, laughing or pulling pints. So I was crap at French. Biology for me ended after the section on photosynthesis. But although my maths grade was dismal, I challenge you to find ANYONE who can work out a % as quickly as me when I see the word “SALE”. 😂😂

So there. Now, almost 20 years on, I’m a teacher and of COURSE I value the Leaving Cert. I love teaching the course and I try my best to encourage my Babbies to give it their best shot. But I also know that they are teenagers. That they have a LOT going on. That some of them have things going on in their lives that are a WHOLE lot more important that exams. 😢 That whole some of them will give it their ALL for 2 years, on the day of the exam, it might just not happen. And sometimes, that at 18, they’re just not quite ready for the ridiculous pressure of the state exam.

For a whole load of reasons, Wednesday is a huge day for our young adults. But that little brown envelope is only that. An envelope. Despite what it is inflated to be, it is NOT the most important piece of paper in the world. Yes, the letters and numbers inside it will have an immediate effect. Yes, some doors will open and yes, some doors will close, but what is written on the page does not define them.

The Leaving Cert does NOT know our children. It doesn’t see the kindness. It doesn’t measure their ability to change things. It can’t recognise their skills as motivators, or thinkers, or makers, or doers. It does not define them, nor should it. And as parents, yes, some of us might be disappointed tomorrow. But mostly we should be proud, because regardless of what is on that page, they are OUR children and they have done their best and we must remind them that they CAN do whatever they want. Because WE know what they can be.

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There are ALWAYS options and sometimes, the path that they are so determined to be the ONLY one for them right now, was never the right one for them…it usually takes a few years for them to realise that however. But they will. 💕

So tonight, tell them how brilliant they are. And leave them under NO illusion that no matter what words and letters are on that piece of paper, that you are and will always be proud of them and that you will help them to get to where they want to go, may it be straight through the college door or in a longer, roundabout way. But all roads lead ahead. And before they know it, they won’t even remember what was printed on the page!

It might be almost 20 years since I opened my little brown envelope and had my heart broken in a million pieces, but trust me, everything happens for a reason. 😇 Tonight, I send love to all of the young people (especially my own Babbies😘😘) and to all you exam parents whose minions face the brown envelope this Wednesday.

And remember, that little brown envelope does NOT hold the key to their future. They hold that key already.

It’s right inside them.

And no piece of paper can change that.

Mammy  XXX

 

 

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I am Spelling Mum

Phonetics…

Gone are the days of learning the good old alphabet and putting together the words, just because.

Now, it’s all different. And obviously, it’s much more effective. Of course it is. Who am I to question it?

I’m used to it now, but initially when Mini-Me came home calling letters by their sounds, I couldn’t deal with it at all.

Suddenly, dog was not spelled Deee-oooh-Geeee. Apparently now it is Di – oh – Ga. And C-a-t is Ki-aaaaah- Teh.

Now that she has finally started to blend the sounds together, Mammy is excited. I am excited for when she will be able to disappear into worlds unknown, and go on adventures with exciting new friends, all from the comfort of the sofa or her own wee bed. Because to this Mammy, reading is the greatest gift that we can give our children. Without a da-ooh-uh-(silent)ba-ti…

Now, because Mini-Me is learning through Irish, her sounds are slightly different to what I as an English teacher would expect. And never was this more clear that on holidays last week.

“Sah-te-oh-pe….satooopa…stoooopa…STOP!”

“Well done Darling!”

“Oh-pa-eh-nah…ohpehna…OPEN!”

“Yes that’s right! Look at YOU reading all by yourself!”

And then we sat down at a table, on which was screwed a sign. The sign simply said “NO PICNIC”

She got “no”, Noooh bother.
Picnic however?
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“Pii-iiii-ka-niii-iiii-sa”

“No. Try again.”
“Pii-iiii-ka-niii-iiii-ka”

“Almost darling. Try it in two parts”. Clever mammy here covers the first syllable of the word, thinking that if we broke it down, it would be easier for her to decipher.

“Pi – iiii – See… I KNOW I KNOW! It’s PISS!” she screams in exuberance, at the top of her voice, in the middle of the outdoor restaurant.

“Shhhhhhhhhh! No!”

“It IS Mammy look! P-I-C is PISS!” And language barrier or not, every adult in the place, turned to look at the feral Irish child, roaring PISS at the top of her voice, as proud as punch of herself.

Aren’t phonetics phun?
Phuck my Liphe…

I am Some Chilling Facts Mum

“And that’s how valleys were made!” says Daddy, utterly proud of himself as he helps Mini-Me into her carseat.  He’s just had her looking over one of Donegal’s most beautiful valleys, The Poison Glen.

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Look at meeeeee Daddy!

They’ve stood out, looking and pointing and chatting, with Daddy being ‘the business’, informing her, teaching her, being the Daddy of all knowledge, and her little ears taking it all in.  I’ve been in the car with a sleeping Princess who quite frankly couldn’t give a hoot about anything other than when she next gets to eat or sleep.

He straps himself in and starts to drive.

Did the Ice-age really happen then?’ she asks, still wide eyed.

‘It did indeed.’  he answers smugly.

‘When like?’

‘Oh Millions of years ago.’

I’m enjoying this.  It’s nice having someone else answer her questions!  It reminds me of when I was her age and my Daddy knew EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING too. I was in awe of him.  (I still am.)

The Him’s enjoying it too. He smiles his handsome smile at me as he stops at a junction. Superdaddy…

‘Millions of years ago Daddy? Really?’  There’s doubt in her voice/

‘Yep.  Millions and millions of years ago…’

‘And was it really cold?’

‘It was. So cold that everything was covered in ice!’

(I know what’s coming in the way that only a Mammy can know what’s coming…)

‘So did Granny have to buy you a warmer coat?’

And just like that, his ice bubble was shattered into millions of pieces.  It’s amazing how quickly thathandsome smile can be replaced by Grumpy grump!

I turned up the heating.  It was suddenly quite chilly in the car…

 

I am showing what I like Mum

Right Ladybelles.

You know I don’t DO the whole “Wow, look what X have sent me so I can tell you how amazeballs it is” melarky, but when I find or buy something that genuinely makes my Mammying easier, I must show you.

I bought these for Mini-Me starting school last year and then when Princess started childcare. Guys, these stickers are BRILLIANT. They survive dishwashers, washing machines and children in general!

I was so impressed, I bought MYSELF some for going back to school. 😁My whole classroom shall be labeled! 😂😂

I MIGHT actually consider THINKING about going to buy the uniforms etc now that I have these badboys to start sticking onto stuff… on Friday! I’ll do it on Friday! 😣

Anyone else use them? Or do you have any other BTS hacks for the Mammies this morning? 😘😘😘

#mynametags #notareview #genuinepraise 😂

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