Thursday morning was continuing along its regular routine when out of the blue the telephone rang heralding in an exciting yet saddening change to our weekly routines. Our Lollipop is officially starting her school career with her first three hour afternoon at preschool. I am bracing myself for a myriad of conflicting and confusing emotions because even though our Lollipop is ready for "school" the prospect of leaving my "baby" girl in the company of untamed smelly masses of small people controlled by just a few strangers is daunting.
We have spent the last four days talking happily and excitedly to the Lollipop about "Kindy" and all she has to look forward to. The Butterfly has been fabulous, having been at the same "Kindy" she has first-hand knowledge of what goes on there, coupled with some good memories her excitement for her sister is genuine. The Mauritian and I have been making all the right noises about how much fun she'll have and all the friends she'll make, we even took her up the hill to show her where she will be going. We "Skyped" her Grandparents so she could tell them the news and also made her tell everyone we crossed paths with over the weekend. So the Lollipop is nothing if not prepared for her walk up the hill and her three hours away from her home, Mum and routine. The Lollipop's sister is very excited for her, so much so that this morning without prompting she tiptoed about the house and whispered that we need to be quiet so her sister can get to sleep in because she has a big day today. The Mauritian has been mercifully distracted from the impending excitement and emotional uncertainty by the need to be at work on time. Which leaves me and my confusion!
Lollipop is ready for "Kindy" she needs the stimulation, I am no longer able to keep up with her growing brains need for continuous stimulation leaving her bored and often up to a level of mischief that has me reeling in disbelief. She needs to learn to socialise and to interact with other "grown-ups" without the use of her mother's legs to hide behind or shoulder in which to bury her face. There is much she needs to learn that she won't learn at home. I am looking so forward to the few hours when the silence means alone time and not that something illegal is afoot. She needs room to grow and I need to get away with only having to make the beds once a day. But sending her off to "Kindy" means she's no longer my baby girl that she will no longer need her Mum as much, her toddlerhood is over and her childhood begins. No matter how necessary it is, no matter how inevitable it becomes letting go is immeasurably difficult and so foolishly heart breaking. I know intellectually that everything is moving along correctly and at the right pace, Lollipop is growing and learning as she should and "Kindy" is the next correct step in the right direction. But emotionally she is growing up to fast, learning too quickly and leaving me and my silliness behind, I don't blame her I am a mess of sentiment and emotion.
For the past four days I have been like a pendulum, swinging from excitement through practicality to emotional distress! A real soap operatic drama queen in the flesh! Man it is frustrating, really wish I could pick a state of mind and stick with it. There I was jumping about with Oscar winning excitement and anticipation, trying desperately to infect a Lollipop with an excitement I wasn't sure I actually felt. Then there was the sudden realisation that the backpack needed a dusting and packed with a change of outfit or two. Back we swing to excitement as the Lollipop assists with the cleaning and packing, then the contemplation about how to co-ordinate being at home for when the Butterfly arrives home from school and leaving on time to collect a Lollipop from "Kindy." Then I'm sitting on the passage floor all sad and down thinking how quickly she has grown up as she models her backpack up and down! Then all is excitement again when the Butterfly arrives home to hear the news and reacts with the perfect balance of excitement and coolness, perhaps I should take lessons. Then off into the practical as the Butterfly and I discuss how we are going to co-ordinate the after school arrangements only to plummet to the depths of despair when the Mauritian comes home and asks how I'm going to cope if she starts screaming and doesn't want to stay. That was just Thursday, the next three days it was much the same thing!
Monday dawned and I was grateful for the distraction of the routine of weekday mornings and the intense cold that greeted us with the alarm. It's amazing how quickly those distractions get used up in times of need and drama! The Mauritian left home with no thought of the impending emotional drama about to unfold, the Butterfly tiptoed around the house so as not to wake her "Kindy" going sister and blowing her a kiss for luck before she too left to begin her day. Leaving me with no laundry to sort or dishes to wash and hours to go before our very first walk up the hill and the uncertainty of how either of us will react to this new chapter in a Lollipop's life.
With all chores completed and the Lollipop wanting nothing to do with this insanely clingy maternal parent, I realised that I had to find some kind of intellectual distraction or the hours before the start of "Kindy" were going to pass by like nails across a chalk board. What better way to distract myself then to write, but my muse was hidden under a mountain of blankets refusing to emerge into the winter cold. So I resorted to making a list of things I can do for the two hours I am childless, which was just as well because I suddenly realised how much there was to organise for the Butterfly's birthday in five days. But that's a whole other dramatically emotional blog all by itself.
So it was that the frigid cold Monday morning warmed in to a sunny blue skied winter afternoon when I was able to say to the Lollipop "Let's go!" and we headed up the hill to begin her new adventure. Of course by the time we had gotten to the school I had worked myself up all over again, concerned that despite all the "preparation" we had done, she would scream and not want to stay. I know I could not handle that! I want her to be as easy as the Butterfly was but I know she won't be. I'm convinced she'll be shy and clingy and difficult, I'll want to leave but want to stay and the whole thing will be a disaster. I really am such a drama queen! Reality is never quite as dramatic as ones imagination, and even though she was gripping my hand very tightly the Lollipop walked into the school with confidence and greeted the head teacher with a smile and a very quiet "Hello!" Most of the teachers from the Butterfly's time have left there now except for one who greeted Lollipop like a long lost friend which sent Lollipop behind my legs and my anxiety levels soring. But then she spotted the "play dough" table and all resistance crumbled. Leaving her there the introductions were finished and any questions were asked and answered, with that done it was time for me to leave. I found her exploring the painting area looking, to me, a little dazed and confused. Time to suck it up and get out of there so I told her I was going to which she said a cheerful goodbye with the obligatory kiss and hug cut short by the fact that she's found the way outside to the swings. As I passed by the fence on my way to town I crossed the street and looked the other way, seeing her then whether she seemed happy or not would not have been a good idea.
So, apart from spending time while shopping alone, looking for a child that wasn't there and almost forgetting to collect said child from Kindy, this mother has successfully moved into a new phase of motherhood with a minimum of emotion and drama.