29 Sep

New schools and other challenges

Bianca started a new school about a month ago. There were many reasons for this, none of which are interesting enough to talk about, so let’s not. It’s a big change, going from a school with around 250 students from prep to year six to one with almost that number just in her year level. I was worried about it, and started second guessing myself on day one after she complained there were too many kids in the playground, but she’s taken to it like an absolute star and is loving it so I guess it was the right decision after all.

When we told B, back in March, she was worried. “I won’t know anyone,” she said. “I won’t have any friends. What if I don’t ever make any friends?” It was bedtime, and she was fretting. “Look,” I said. “This problem is so far away from now. It’s almost five months away. You’ve got two weeks of school holidays coming up, all of next term, and then another holiday just as long again before you start at that school. You’re not even seven yet, by then you’ll be nearly seven and a half.

“Which is nearly eight!” she said, perking up and displaying the same rounding techniques her father uses on work reports.

“….Sure,” I agreed. “Anyway, it is silly to be worrying about that now. How about we take a pin, and we stick that worry up here on the wall? Then we know where it is and we don’t need to think about it until maybe the week before we start.”

She nodded. “How about we stick it way up on the ceiling instead?” So we did, and it never came up again. I almost mentioned it the night before she started but I have managed to learn something in the last seven-and-a-half-years-which-is-nearly-eight, and I kept my mouth shut. She fell asleep without a word. And all through the first week she bounced off the school bus full of news about new friends she’d made and could I set up some play dates?

(I honestly believe that was because over the holidays I sent her on some of those week-long day camps which run here. Mostly it was to give us a break from each other, but she got lots of practise meeting new kids and socialising with them so by the time school rolled around she was used to it. And now with a bigger pool of kids to choose from it’s easier to find kids who like the same things she does.)

So anyway. It’s a new start for me too, a chance to befriend the new mums, set up play dates, be involved. I always felt sort of on the outside at the old school; despite being in the parents’ association and a class parent and running the book club, somehow I was always on the outside of friendships and coffee dates. I am sure this is my fault, something I’m not very good at. Here I have a chance to start all that again.

Although, one of the mums from the old school recently told me I came across as relaxed, friendly, but not desperate, so that’s a relief. It’s always better when you can hide your desperation. But I’ll let you in on a secret: here we are all desperate to some degree.

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