As I walked home from school yesterday morning, I had a lump in my throat. One of those lumps you get when you’re so proud, so relieved and blinking back the tears, you’re practically beaming and you want to shout out and tell the world. Olly had gone into school without getting himself all worked up not just on one day but several!
When Olly started in Reception class in September of last year, we all had the worst time of it. He would get himself so worked up about going into school. Every morning we had to prize him out of bed, he would have tears before he began the descent downstairs for breakfast and it was really hard going. Because once he was actually in school and he had calmed down, he was fine so we knew he was okay but he would work himself up so much that he wouldn’t listen to reason.
In that moment when your then four year old, is uncontrollably upset and you’re driving to work with tears rolling down your face, you never really think it’ll get better.
The worst day for me taking him into school was on a snowy December day. My husband had already left for work and I was doing the school run 8 months heavily pregnant. Olly didn’t want to go into school. He didn’t want his shoes on, he didn’t want his coat on and he refused to leave the house. I was far too pregnant to be able to pick him up and carry him into school. I somehow managed to get his shoes on but the coat wasn’t happening. He was angry. He was angry at me for making him go into school when he was upset. I’ve always said to Olly that it’s okay to be upset and show emotion. I don’t want him to think it’s wrong to show his emotions. I want to raise a confident little boy who isn’t afraid to be himself. With hot uncontrollable tears running down my face, I had to force him out the house without his coat on. It wasn’t my finest moment. I’ll never forget walking him to school in the snow with people looking on as to why I was visibly upset and Olly was half dressed!
Since Freddie’s arrival, Olly has taken to the role of big brother beautifully. Overnight he has seemingly adapted to the role and has really matured. Since January, we’ve all noticed how the once shy little boy has stopped getting so upset in the playground; has stopped hiding behind my arm as his little friends attempt to talk to him; has stopped asking us to question his Teachers first thing about the day and if he needs to worry about anything.
It’s not all been down to his baby brother arriving, thankfully one of the new (to the class not to the school) support staff in reception was wonderful with him and really looked out for him. In a class of 30 as a parent you worry your child will be forgotten and left to their own devices and to some extent they are, it all helps with their development but thankfully, Mrs R took Olly under her wing in the classroom. She made sure he calmed down and put his coat and bag on his hook. She made sure he knew what the day ahead looked like in class, she made sure he had something he liked to eat at lunchtime and at break and she checked in on him throughout the day to make sure he was okay and was eating and drinking as normal. To me, that goes beyond her job description. To make sure that a worried, anxious little boy is comfortable enough in class to relax and enjoy school. I’ve said thank you to her on numerous occasions and I’ll never forget how kind she was to my son.
But it does get better and, touch wood, it has. Change is ahead and of course, Olly doesn’t handle change very well. Going from Reception into Year One will be a big step with a new Teacher and new support staff but I’m hoping all the ground work and all the shitty experiences we’ve had over the last 9 months will help us and him make a smooth transition into Year One.
For now, we’re enjoying our smiley five year old who talks about his hopes for the school day ahead and seeing his friends in the playground. His reading is brilliant and he’s learning so much in school. He amazes me with the topics he comes out with and asks me about. I really need to swat up on verbs and nouns and alliteration because there’s going to come a time and I’m going to be clueless! (It’s a very long time since I’ve been at school!) It really does get better and fingers crossed, it continues to get better and the worries of a morning before school are long gone!
Well done Olly, we’re so proud of you!