How quickly did September come round? School’s back for the winter and now we face the long trek to Christmas, via a brief October half-term break. Still, there’s a lot to be said for shiny new uniform and September in general and I’m trying to be positive, because this is going to be my last school year ever and I know that when it’s all gone, I’m going to miss it. My life will no longer be divided by term-times – HOW WILL I COPE?? I have one last child to get through one last year of school before it’s all over after 21 years practice. I’m quite good at it now – especially because in the last ten years I’ve been doing it singlehandedly. what a waste! All those things I’ve learnt how to do will suddenly be redundant. Perhaps I should write a book on how to be a submarine parent (my opposite of helicopter parent) with top tips on 5 minute lunch boxes, how to avoid sewing and ironing on name tags (indelible ink pens), how to avoid stress in the school playground (avoid), how to help your children with homework (don’t), how to avoid playdates etc. There are lots of shortcuts all parents should know when they’re about to pull their hair out, but the biggest one is that despite it all being horrendously hard work, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
I might not miss the years of last minute panicking in shoe shops when you’re given a ticket that says you’re 104th in line to be served. Or the stress of sorting through all the school books, school uniform and stationary to see what else is needed the morning they go to school because you forgot to organise them. I will definitely not miss the last minute summer homework overload done in the last two days, with a bizarre project thrown in for good measure and I certainly won’t miss the years of sewing and ironing on labels (before I discovered indelible pens did the job sufficiently).
Take for example these two projects that we did together back in the day – no idea what the tubing one was about…
According to a recent study of 2,000 parents, two thirds said their children were “grumpy and energy-sapped” and took at least a week to get back into the swing of school after their long, long, (too long?) summer break. Well, trust me, the parents and the teachers are feeling exactly the same – with just a few days left to go from 0-100 –
doing ensuring all the summer homework that’s been forgotten gets done, buying new school uniform, stationary, trying to work out timetables, thinking about what to put in the lunch boxes, getting their hair cut, working out how to get them to and from school (now you’re going to be fined if you drive), trying to ease them into bed a little earlier and desperately trying to ignore the odd conker and autumn leaf lying on the pavement BECAUSE IT’S NOT TIME FOR CONKERS AND AUTUMN LEAVES YET.
“Poor concentration, lack of energy and increased irritability” are among the issues that children struggle with as they return to the classroom. This also applies to the rest of us. It’s not easy trying to step out of flip flops and shorts and back into office uniform.
To be honest, I’m already gently being eased out of my job and have virtually become surplus to requirement. My youngest son doesn’t wear uniform anymore, so I have none of that to worry about. He takes himself off for haircuts, gets himself to school, buys his own lunch in the canteen and works out his week online. Any attempts to discuss his work, homework, timetable are summarily dismissed as being “all under control”. Not that that is necessarily the case mind you. You have to learn how to dig a little deeper when required.
SO as those friendly elderly people in the street and supermarkets always say – enjoy every last drop of it, because it ‘ain’t gonna last.