Blink and you’ll miss it

THE school bell, normally no more than background noise, rang in my ears and all the way down to my heart.

Next year, when I hear that bell from our quiet little playgroup sandpit, I’ll know my son has been let out for little lunch.

The thought is asphyxiating some days. That for five days of the week he’ll be a student. That for five days, he’ll be away from my watchful eye and my wide-open arms. That for five days, he’ll fend for himself in a playground teeming with children.

This is unfamiliar terrain for us both.

I am not the mother of a school kid. I’m only just getting used to the idea of being a mother of a preschooler. I haven’t mastered the drop-off yet. I still flounder while child-care-savvy mums dart past me like I’m moving in slow motion. Because I am.

I’m waiting for the world to stop and realise its mistake. To tell me, “you’re right, he should be home with his mummy”. Take another few years off. Break up your days into naps and meals and blocks and walks in the pram. Bliss about in that early childhood routine that runs on 15-minute intervals and ABC4Kids.

But that’s not going to happen because life is not like that. Life moves on, sans umbilical cord, and I must help him learn this too. Even when I’m physically itching to hold him tight.

It was only four years ago that he became mine. I blinked and this wiry baby became a methodical toddler. I took out two nights to have a second baby and when I came back, he was a child who actually slept through the night without me.

Now he’s the fastest kid at playgroup, the tallest at the library story time… I know, with him being in a classroom for the next 13 years, he’s going to grow and stretch and become this person I have less and less influence over.

I see friends posting photos of their first newborns lately and I can remember that giddy time: when you couldn’t drag your eyes away from them. Revelling in the wonderment that YOU created this. It’s lucky we have that, because all too soon that precious bundle is putting on his own shoes and socks and waiting for you in the car.

When you’re a mother to a newborn, school lunches and teacher-parent evenings is like a foreign land. You don’t live there and you don’t speak the language. Much like motherhood was when we worked nine-to-five.

No-one explains in vivid detail the speed at which your children will no longer be children. Sure, elderly women at the check-out will pinch your arms and beg you to “cherish every moment”. But you can’t hear them. They’re speaking in tongues – riddles from a place beyond nappies. Where their babies became teenagers, then adults, then parents. We have no clue.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kristy
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 04:07:36

    nawww That made me cry… 😦 sooooooo ture xoxo

    Reply

  2. Jen
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 09:51:01

    Oh so true Pete. I tried bribing Amelia with ice cream for lunch every day if she just stayed home with mummy ( spoken in a desperate crying tone ). That didn’t cut it. As Paul always quotes to me in times like these ” you never really know, but when they know, you’ll know , you know? ( ‘Crush’, the turtle in finding Nemo.)

    Reply

    • petajo
      Feb 22, 2012 @ 03:42:03

      Crush is a very wise turtle! I read about Amelia saying on her first day “this will be the best day of my life”. What a kid! xx

      Reply

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