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I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud Whose Kids Are Both At School

i miss mummy

Garnet’s preschool curriculum focuses on how to induce guilt.

The slow process of settling the kids into school and preschool continues to be the main focus of life for us. Every morning, May Blossom still says she doesn’t want to go to school, but it seems to be becoming more of a formality now. She goes through the process of putting on her uniform, having her hair plaited and getting lathered up with sunscreen with less resistance every day, and while there are still tears each time I drop her at school, I don’t have to peel her off me finger by finger any more. I call that progress.

When she is at school, I think she’s having a good time. Last week she told me she had been sent on some errands to the principal’s office, and though it turned out that it was really the front administration office, it still indicates that she is feeling more and more at home there.

One errand was to collect some photocopying and another was to retrieve a befuddled classmate who had misunderstood the concept of the canteen and was downstairs trying to buy ice-cream from the admin staff in the middle of class.

Other Jess, who is a teacher, assures me that such missions would only be entrusted to her if she was happy and settled in the classroom, and coming across as reliable and sensible to her teacher.

Garnet’s struggling a bit more with preschool. He still has no friends, he reports sadly every time we collect him. He is a bit lost without his social director, May Blossom, by his side. I hadn’t realised before, but he might be a bit shy. It seems bizarre to not notice that until a kid is three, but he hasn’t done much socialising without May Blossom before, and he doesn’t quite know how to go about it.

At preschool this morning I noticed a couple of little boys in his class were entertaining themselves by slamming the fish tank lid closed as loudly as they could. That seemed like the sort of thing Garnet would be into, so I introduced him to them and asked if he could play too. They said yes, but he said he didn’t want to, and slunk off to play-doh table. He seems to spend much of the day lurking around his teacher, which she assures me is fine and normal. I guess so, but it’s just such a change from May Blossom who used to launch straight into a game, building friendships swiftly as she went. I generally had to extract her from some involved activity with several other children when I picked her up, but when I arrive in the afternoons now, Garnet is often sweeping the patio alone, like a lonely little garden elf.

It’s early days yet though, I suppose, for both kids. And for me. Settling in to school has been so much harder than I anticipated. The separation anxiety goes both ways. I too find myself wandering around, a bit lost. Though I haven’t gone so far as sweeping the patio or anything insane like that. I mostly flit between one task and another in the house, unsure where to start or what to do. Whatever I do tackle, I do slowly and inefficiently, getting one fifth of the things done that I plan to each day. I do the grocery shopping and forget the milk. I plan to go to the gym and end up hunting down my baby niece for a cuddle. My time has been so child-directed for so long that I don’t remember h how to knuckle down by myself. For surely spending the six hours a day I have without my children, planning what to make for their lunches tomorrow is not a balanced or healthy way to use my brain. Did anyone else experience this when their kids started school? How do I get past this?

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