Today is the last day of Jacob’s first full week since starting school. Last week on his first week, he started later and finished early so he only did a few hours a day. He was tired then so I knew this week was really going to affect him with regards to mood and tiredness. Needless to say, he has been sleeping for almost 12 hours a night, when previously he was lucky to get nine!
He was excited yet a little bit dubious going into his class on his first day, but since then he has been absolutely fine and ran in every morning, almost without even saying goodbye! He’s been coming home at the end of the day telling us about what he’s been doing, who he’s been playing with, what he’s had for his lunch. I thought he had settled in really well.
That is, until today. You see, we live in a tiny village 3 miles away from school, which is in the next main village. With no public transport, me still learning to drive, and his Daddy is at work when he goes to school. So, he has to get the school bus; this services both the primary school in that village and the senior school in the next main village. There is only one other child in our village who uses the bus – I will call him A. Though he is a couple of years older than Jacob, they seem to get on okay.
Before he started school, I was really anxious about him having to get the bus on his own. I was worried he wouldn’t know what to do when he got off, I was worried about the older kids; I used to be one, I know what they can be like! So on his first day going on the bus, I got on with him so I could show him the routine; I managed to get a lift home with another parent from the village. Since then he has been fine and he was really excited about getting the bus; so much so that a couple of days ago he got quite upset because his Daddy was off work so we took him in the car instead. He soon calmed down though when we promised the park and going through the car wash when we collected him!
Until today, when over breakfast, he said to me, “Mummy, I want to go to school and come home in the car because I’m scared of the bus”. I asked him why, and he told me, “The big ones came at me and told me to get off the bus”. (The big ones being around 10 years old older than him). His bottom lip was quivering. I was feeling anxious again, but I managed to hide it and told him he would be okay as he could sit next to A like he usually does. It was obviously impossible for me to take him in the car so he said he wanted me to go on the bus with him. I tried to reassure him that he would be okay with A but he wasn’t really having any of it.
We talked about it all the way to the bus, A came and and I tried to encourage Jacob on with him when it arrived. But he was clinging to me like a limpet, and became hysterical saying he was scared and didn’t want to get on without me. It was so hard trying to keep my cool, and some may say I should have just put him on and left him, but I couldn’t. It’s easy to say those things when you’re not in that situation, and when I have (sometimes high) anxiety issues anyway, it’s incredibly hard for me to just leave him to it.
I actually started crying as well; I know I shouldn’t have as it will make him think it’s a bad thing getting the bus in future. I was actually really embarrassed too. But when my 4.5 year old son, who has just started this new routine and is a very emotional child anyway, is clinging onto my waist and is in absolute hysterics, I just could not leave him.
He was sat sobbing all the way to school which was heartbreaking. He did eventually calm down and even had a little smile on his face when we got to his classroom. As I said earlier, he has been absolutely fine at school and wasn’t bothered about me leaving him previously when I have managed to take him. But he really didn’t want me to leave today, and he was in hysterics again. It killed me leaving him after the start to our morning, but I knew I had to. I knew his teacher would take care of him though.
I had to call a taxi to get home; now I just need to wait the rest of the day out and try and keep busy. I’m counting down the hours until I can hug my brave boy again and have a fun weekend with him. That is, before we begin what may turn out to be another stressful week of school.
Have you and your child had an emotional start to school? How do you deal with it?