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The First Rule of the Best Start Interview is Don’t Talk About the Best Start Interview


I was hoping the test hadn’t started yet.

May Blossom has just been for her pre-starting-school chat with a kindy teacher, which is called the Best Start Interview. I presume the point of this is to help decide which class to put the kids into, based on how smart they are and how high they can count, but we didn’t want to admit that to her so we told May Blossom it was so they didn’t put all the shy boys or all the kids called Gavin or all the redheads into the same class and create factions that could later become radicalised.

She insisted on wearing her full school uniform, which wasn’t required, but she felt there was no point in half-arsing it. You’ve got to dress for the class you want to be in, not the class you’re in, or something.

Last night we ran into some neighbours whose son had done the interview yesterday afternoon. He happily blabbed to her all the questions he had been asked, which meant we could bone up a bit on counting to thirty and drawing hedgehogs. Although we did worry that the teachers might be onto this and give May Blossom a different drawing task, and would twig to the cheating when she drew a hedgehog anyway. Luckily the assignment was the same today so she got to draw the hedgehog. Phew.

H and I sat outside the classroom and eavesdropped during her interview, cheering along silently as we heard her count to ten and beyond. We held our breaths and crossed our fingers as she approached the high twenties, then gently lay our heads down on the table as we heard her confidently reach ‘twenty ten’ and roar off beyond into a land of numbers that don’t exist.

Apparently the next task was to sign the Official Secrets Act because she won’t tell us anything else they asked her to do, but she came out smiling and seems raring to head back there on Monday morning.

I’m so excited for her. I remember my first day of school very clearly, if not very fondly. My school staggered the starting days of the kindy kids and I learned on arrival that my best mate, Josh, had already been there for two days. This was, in my humble four and three quarter year old opinion, a Fucking Outrage. I had never encountered anything as unjust as that, and honestly, it’s still pretty high up there on the list of ‘Wrongs Done Unto Me’, which is one of my favourite lists. He already knew where everything was and how it all worked, and had come to terms with the toilet cubicles without doors, and I felt very much behind the eight ball, until about morning tea-time when I had it all figured out. Fortunately, all the kids start on the same day at our local school, so that won’t be a problem for May Blossom.

She has all her school supplies ready, finally, as does Garnet, who doesn’t actually need any but who is also big on fairness. He had his first day of preschool last Monday, and went off without a second glance at us. No tears for him. Not when there was painting to be done.

His day went well, though after I picked him up in the afternoon, he did say, in a small wobbly voice, ‘I’m really sorry, Mummy. I didn’t make any friends today.’ I realised I may have made quite a big deal in the leadup about how many nice friends he would make. He felt he’d let me down. Poor little bloke.

I hope he is as happy to head off for his second day, on Monday, because that day the only one who is going to be crying and carrying on like a big baby is going to be me. I have to make some plans for the day so I don’t go sit outside the school forlornly with my nose pressed up against the fence like a dog outside the butcher’s shop. Because if there’s one thing that’s going to stop kids making friends with my kids it’s going to be me doing things like that.

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