Family · Family Life

Starting school

Walking to school

There’s been a big milestone in our household this week: Ophelia starting school. Like, actually starting reception not a school nursery so maybe she’ll remember it.

Due to Covid it was impossible to visit a school and get a feel for it so when we applied we literally put them in order of distance and crossed everything for the nearest as we knew people who spoke highly of it and it was the least faff in terms of being able to walk to school and not change childminder! And so it came to pass that we got in and our 2019 gamble of picking the house we moved into paid off.

All summer we’ve been trying to get her ready for school: no help from an adult when using the facilities, doing up coats by herself, getting dressed by her self etc. She can do all these things but much prefers to have her people do it for her.

As we went down the childminder childcare route, school has been a bit of an alien concept to her apart from it being this massive building that she walks past to get to her childminder’s house.

Being “loss parents” starting school is one of those big milestone moments where you are acutely aware that you’re living an alternate timeline in the same universe as everybody else. We get how this aches whilst at the same time being excited for our “rainbow”.

It’s sad that Ophelia isn’t joining her big sister at school; it’s another missed opportunity for photos together on the doorstep (although she was photobombed by her favourite dinosaur the Spinosaurus). There’s also part of me that needs to celebrate these things for Ophelia and Ophelia only. These are her moments and she needs them to be about her. I don’t want her to feel that she’s constantly in the shadow of her mythical older baby sister.

She’s definitely ready for school as she has been asking questions that are thoughtful and showing that she’s trying to make sense of things that she doesn’t quite understand. She’s been asking a lot about Alexandra.

“Why did Alexandra get poorly?”

“Did Daddy try to be a doctor and make her better?”

“I wish Alexandra got better”

“Alexandra is first, then me, then little baby Daphne”

So it’s clear she’s getting some understanding and she’s fitting some blocks together in her head. We’ve briefly mentioned Alexandra in the joining forms under family details so hopefully, if she says anything at school then it will make more sense.

She seems so grown up all of a sudden: the uniform that’s naturally too big, her colouring has massively improved and she can copy letters really well which seems to have all come together all at once.

I mean, who doesn’t want to be a unicorn?!

As parents I think we were more worried and anxious about her starting but trying to not let Ophelia know. After all, she’s our baby and we can’t protect her from everything. We both remember enjoying primary school and we’re sure she will too. I don’t want to think about secondary school and how horrible girls can be to each other just yet!

As I know what it’s like to have a child that won’t grow up; I don’t want Ophelia to stop doing the things she should be doing but I need to remember to listen to my subconscious more in that we do in fact take notice of her milestones. We’re not always rushing even though it might feel like we are.

There’s been times where I’ve felt a bit teary (I blame ABBA) but ultimately I know that she will take it in her stride and do it her own way. I just need to prepare for time to pass even quicker now as we’re locked into the rhythms and seasons of the school year.

You go girl; today is your day.

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