When Porthos started pre-school, he became well-known for crying at the start of every single schoolday for TEN WEEKS. (The eleventh week was the term break….)
Today is Aramis’ fourth day at pre-school and the contrast couldn’t be more stark.
Pilgrim Dad and I bring him to school and, like an old pro, he walks ahead of us straight to his classroom. The teacher helps him with the opening rituals – water bottle and hat out, namecard on the wall – and he settles in to play. It’s the last day that parents are allowed in the classroom so I quickly take some pictures, pause for a hug and kiss, and step out. Better that we start getting him used to not having us hanging about.
As it turns out, Aramis does not miss us at all. He’s already pretend-playing with the kitchen set, making pizza and drinks for his teachers. One of them asks him to offer pizza to a crying classmate and Aramis cheerfully says, “OK!”
I sit outside making small talk with other parents. You can tell the first-timers by how often they succumb to the urge to peek through the classroom windows. The group comprises mostly mums, but it’s good to see a few dads mixed in. Some parents are dressed in officewear, probably heading to work after this. Kudos to employers who are giving them time off to do this.
Soon it is playground time and the children come outside. Aramis does not notice us at first, and with a big smile on his face, runs to the biggest slide. Up he climbs, down he goes, up he climbs, down he goes. Over and over and over. The little guy is so full of life and energy.
At one point he slides off and lands on the ground with a hard bump. I suck in my breath, wondering if he’ll fuss.
He gets up, dusts off his bottom, and is off again. When he eventually sees us, he comes over for high-fives. And then he’s off again. For some reason, I want to cry. Obviously, teases Pilgrim Dad, Aramis is not the one having separation anxiety.
For as long as he’s been able to articulate his thoughts, Aramis has been longing to go to school. Sometimes when we dropped Athos and Porthos off at kindergarten, Aramis would come along for the ride and in a firm clear voice would declare, “I want to go to school.” He would sometimes put on his brothers school shoes for fun. During the school holidays we brought him to school to buy his uniform and he insisted on carrying a schoolbag because he thought he was finally – FINALLY – going to school.
And now, he’s a preschooler. A happy one at that. And every morning, there is a silence that pervades the Pilgrim home. A wonderful environment for work, chores, reading and the like. But there is a small corner of my heart that longs for the toddler years again.