21 August 2013
I sent the minxes off to school on Day 2 probably more nervous than they were. Well, I was the idiot who’d been telling them for weeks how wonderful their new school would be and how easily and quickly they’d settle in. So I’d downplayed yesterday’s events and tried to make their miserable, awkward experiences seem normal. We’d agreed some strategies for them whenever they felt lost or alone (Find your sister. Ask an adult. Smile at your sister. Tell someone you’re new and that you need help. Say Hi and introduce yourself). Just in case, I went in to the school early and had a chat with the lovely Administrator: I could ask her about the school transport snarl-up as a conversation-starter.
Right on cue, she asked how the girls were settling in.
“Well, to be really honest, they’re not: they came home feeling lonely and like they didn’t belong or fit in.” Wham. No point trying to disguise a cruise missile as a fly-swatter.
The nice lady looked shocked. I asked if new pupils normally had buddies or helpers. She tactfully pointed out that the teacher was new herself and might have forgotten.
“Would you like me to have a word with her?” she suggested. I thanked her for her kindness and agreed that it might be better and gentler coming from her.
I spent the rest of the day with Mini hoovering carpets (again…), feeding and cleaning out 2 cats, ironing next week’s school uniforms and The Boss’s shirts (I owed him some Big Favours. No way would I normally do another adult’s ironing!), doing 4 loads of laundry (I’d stupidly put the bedding in drawers that I thought were sufficiently cleaned out. The thick orangey-grey dust clinging to the bottom of my entire bedding stack shouted how very, very wrong I’d been…), baking coffee buns together, having a 10 minute snuggle on the bed, taking a car-boot-load of recycling to the dump and going for a lovely long walk through the woods behind the school and exploring the short cuts. So *we’d* had a pretty boring day with some good snippets!
Waiting at the school gates, I even made some banter with some other mums. I’m shy, awkward and socially stunted, so this was a big deal for me. Unlike their old school, when you had to collect your kids from the school door, the other mums here wait outside the school fence. In fact, you rarely see another parent in the playground. I rebelled by lolling against the fence from the inside. Safer for an over-excited Mini.
Maxi and Midi came out earlier than yesterday. First impressions were that the day had gone better. Maxi rated it 6/10 and an exuberant Midi gave it a 10. On closer grilling, it seems that their teacher forgot to make the name-tags for pegs and trays again. This was a big deal to 2 little girls who still felt like “unwanted misfits” as Maxi put it. They’d still not been introduced to the class. THey still didn’t have buddies. This irked me because all the little P1s had buddies, but Midi, who at 5 was probably younger than a few of the P1s, didn’t. At drama, they’d done a little exercise to introduce the kids to each other. Yet Midi hadn’t been given a chance to be one of those involved and was still angry about that. Maxi noted that people generally thought they were twins. That’ll be interesting – there’s 2 years biological and social age between them even if their height difference is only an inch or 2. This might explain why Maxi is so frustrated at the easy classwork she’s been given the past 2 days…? They’d enjoyed their school dinners greatly and had started to mix with the other kids in their class, so that was progress.
I’ll give you an example of the minxes’ differing approaches, though. At school, the girls’ toilets light is activated automatically. Maxi didn’t realise this, and rather than cause a fuss or ask anyone, she assumed the toilet was broken and didn’t go in. Midi, on the other hand, barrelled up to the first person she met: “Hi, I’m new, my name is xxx. Why is the toilet light not working?” I don’t think I need to worry about Midi fitting in. I wish both Maxi and I were more like Midi! 😀