We have been in the new house for two months. We’ve been in our new routine for two months. You wouldn’t know anything had changed. The kids all settled remarkably quickly. Not one mention of the old house. Our daughter has her own room, which she seems not to bat an eyelid at. The boys have a much larger room, where they actually have room to play, when they want to. We all have a much larger living room for the kids to play in. A garden, perhaps twice the size of the old one, which allows us to see where the kids are at all times, while we’re in the kitchen. In my wildest dreams, I did not imagine the move and all the changes that go with it, could have gone so smoothly. In fact, the only ones that had an issue were the two cats, and that only lasted a week.
Admittedly, the 5.30 starts, three times a week, to get H to nursery are taking it out of me. But it’s only for another month or so. They’re also taking it out of him. Although he’s always already up, getting ready and leaving the house at 7, and for him, getting back at 2 ish, is a struggle. The more tired he becomes, the more his traits become evident. The arm flapping increases. The frequency of the meltdowns go up. The babbling is heard more and more.
Aside from this, H continues to grow. His vocabulary is increasing. Not just words, but phrases. Answers, questions, statements, back chat, sarcasm. If I had to, I would say he’s still a year behind, developmentally. And that brings us on to the next, huge milestone. School.
We had, thankfully, no issue getting him in to the school we wanted. They have a wonderful reputation for their reception classes, it’s no more than a 10 minute walk from the house, and most importantly, the structure of the days are very similar to H’s nursery. All of this is hugely comforting.
My wife and I attended a parents welcome meeting at the school last week. The headteacher, obviously vastly experienced, addressed everyone’s biggest question, first. “What it is the most important thing we can do to prepare our child for school?”. The answer? Make sure they can dress themselves and are dry. Ah. Dressing himself. Well, he helps out already, and I’m sure with a little bit of pushing, we can ensure that H can pretty much dress himself, come September. The issue though, is that of the toilet.
H still insists on wearing a nappy. He will not tolerate the idea of pants. We know this, and we do not know how to get round it. Both my wife and H’s nursery are attempting to get him on the loo. He has sat on it. Begrudgingly. He has even done a tiny wee. It upset him hugely. Is 3 months going to be long enough to get a child with a seeming fear of the toilet to use it willingly? Doubtful.
This is occurring against the backdrop of H’s little brother, 14 months younger, growing up rapidly. His speech is coming on. His behaviour is improving. He has a willingness to use the potty, and no accident puts him off. I knew there was a good chance of it happening, but to see H being caught, and soon enough to be overtaken, by his younger brother, is truly heartbreaking.
But back to the school situation. We have discussed, between us, keeping H out of school until January, or even until next September. We want our son to grow up and develop, but we want him to do it at his rate, not the rate that society, with its judgemental attitudes, dictates. We have a meeting with a member of the school staff, at our house, in a few weeks. My wife will relay our questions, fears and hopes for H and seek the advice of the professional.
My heart says to keep him back. To allow him to start school when he is ready, not just because he’s old enough. To protect him from possible ridicule from other kids. Kids can be so cruel. My head, however, says to let him start. He has surprised us all, time and time again. The counter argument, in my head, is that being one of the youngest, up until this year, he would have been expected to start in January 2016, rather than the coming September. I was one of the youngest too, and I started in Easter 1986, rather than September ’85. It didn’t hurt me. Plenty of other things might of, but that didn’t.
For now, we wait, until the meeting with the teacher. We’ll make no choice until then, but one thing is for sure, whenever H starts school, we all have to be ready.