Today saw the wonderful return of the school term. And with it came the usual, last minute realisation that Midi Silver’s trainers had worn out and his new ones had not arrived. To be fair, last term it was jeans that were too short, and next term it will most likely be another catastrophic wardrobe malfunction, but the theme is always the same. There is always some hint of “could do better” about my preparation for the new school term.
To be fair, I’m new at this. I am still utterly clueless how people just know what a child needs before they need it. Or what they should be wearing for art. Or if it’s still ok to wear gym shoes. Or if it’s the height of embarrassment to be wearing anything other than trainers. And what should a pencil-case actually contain? I’m confident enough on the design bit…but then again, when is a child too old for Minions?
You see, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the most confident of folk. I tend to second and third guess even the most benign decisions. So, when it comes to deciding what the Xbox King should be wearing to art, I’m a wreck. If I send him with an apron, will that make him “sad”? Will the other children put on their dad’s old shirts while cackling at how ridiculous he looks in his actual art apron from an actual art apron selling place? Or will his dad’s old batman t-shirt cause uproar as the 20+ other children gather round him in plastic overalls?
And what about the homework diary? What is the “right” thing to write in it? Do we simply give a tick and an initial? Or are we in a more chatty place with the teachers than that? Is a comment about my boy’s ability required? Or would that be a little much now he’s in P3? And, is it ok that it is flapping about in his school bag without any protection? Or should I have got the wrapping paper out and covered it, like we did when I was a kid? It’s all too much pressure.
And now I’m expected to pick his school meals for him too. We have to go online at least 2 weeks in advance and decide what he will want to eat that day. Now, as all mothers of 7 year olds know, they don’t like the same foods today that they did yesterday. Let alone 2 weeks from now. My P3 Poppet liked chicken yesterday. Today it is the devil’s work. So how can I predict if he wants “flan” a week on Tuesday? And what exactly is “flan” anyway?
As usual, I tend to believe that everyone else has their shit together. That the 7 years lead up to the start of this term allowed them the wisdom to produce a well turned out and happy child who had a school bag full of useful things and a mind that was ready to learn. I sent my Little Dude off with a leaky water bottle and a look that said “never mind mummy, there’ll be other days”. I’m incredibly fortunate that his expectations of me succeeding are pretty low. Mainly because he listens to me telling him I’m inept, imagine.
But this is the thing about your oldest being a “step” child; you don’t get to learn the ropes gradually. You are thrown into it with no warning and you just have to hit the ground running. And when they look to you for wisdom, you just have to take their hands, look into their beautiful, hope filled, brown eyes and say – “I haven’t a blooming clue, dear. Shall we Google it?”