My association with new beginnings has always been January, the first month of the year. With a school-age child, September is now our start of a new year. A time of change and a chance for do-overs.
I tend to be a bit of a commitment-phobe when it comes to calendar fixtures. I’m much more ‘see what our mood is at the start of that week’’ than ‘make set plans way in advance’. But our sudden leap from routineless summer to scheduled school day has reminded me that a daily-life shake up can be a good thing.
After five years of going to neighbouring, more gentrified towns in search of those classic new parent amenities that we don’t have here – coffee, food, playgroups and preschool – I guess joining a local school is the first chance I’ve had to feel part of a community where I actually live.
Down to the simplistic details, like the act of walking to school, local life is a really nice feeling. I am loving the ten minute walk. I used to walk loads back in the days when I had one child in a buggy, but now that I have children on foot, it’s not quite the same experience, and you certainly can’t cover as much ground.
To and from school, we set quite a good pace with Arlo on his scooter and Rory (protesting) in the buggy. It adds up to 40 minutes per day, and that’s the most amount of regular exercise I’ve been able to seamlessly fit into our daily routine for a good while.
The easy life over the summer well and truly spoilt me. Looming in the background was September and it’s various anxieties – how Arlo would cope with the start of school, and how much I would be tested by a very busy few months for Sam – The calendar was full of back-to-back work trips and a lot of time away from home, but over summer it felt like an age away.
Between school, preschool, playgroup on a wednesday and swimming on thursdays, our weeks fill up effortlessly. Normally, that sense of time hurtling past would unnerve me, but at the moment, it’s a good effect. Especially during the times when Sam is away. Those days used to pass painfully slowly. Not so much any more. Time is ticking along nicely.
Giving grandma the all-important lowdown after the first day of school
I have been bracing myself for the usual distress and trauma that comes with a new routine and new rules. It’s early days yet, but Arlo’s first few weeks tell me that he’s finding his own ways to deal with anything that would typically ruffle his feathers. Every day at pick up, I’ve been expecting tears, but every day he’s come out beaming.
I am so proud of him for handling such a massive change in the way he has. And for his out-of-his-comfort zone attempt to put into practice my ideas for conversation starters. Although in typical Arlo style, he has interpreted this in his own way, so “What’s your name?” and “What’s your favourite toy?” has morphed into an instructional lecture on the process of how to make friends. But it’s an enthusiastic start.
His eagerness for school is so lovely to see. We’ve not had a wobble about going in yet. He is so excited about everything to do with school. It seems I’m not the only one who’s been invigorated by the start of a new chapter.