We’re going to have a walk round of Mac’s primary school on Friday 4 July. Mac is very excited and can’t wait for September to become a “big boy”. I’m wavering between elation that a) he got a place in the school we wanted and b) he’s finally able to leave the nursery that announces, a la PlaySchool, “ooh, children, look, this crayon is YE-LL-OWWW” and despair because my baby is growing up and he won’t need me soon. I’m sure every mother goes through this but I’m finding it particularly hard because I can remember my nursery and reception class days and my mum isn’t here to wallow with me.
On my first day at Consort Road Nursery (it’s now a clinic) I spent the first ten minutes hiding behind my mum, ignoring her suggestions that I go and “play with that little girl over there”. I was distraught when she left and, unbeknown to me at the time, she spent the entire morning sitting on the wall opposite the nursery. Crying. When she picked me up I said something along the lines of “I’m not going again mummy” and cried a fresh round of tears when she told me that I was. Obviously I grew to love it in time: overly diluted orange squash and a rich tea biscuit for break time, those little chairs that seemed so heavy and cumbersome to a four year old and that strange odour that can’t be explained but is mimicked in every teaching establishment in the country.
My primary school is now a housing development and they’ve attached a hideous yellow and steel thing next to it as a replacement. It’s not the same. I remember coveting and cherishing my own coat peg, casually announcing to family members that I’d had Numbers today in a weary voice (in pretty much the same way that I used to announce I had double maths followed by double history ten years later), moaning when the milk was warm instead of icy cold, colouring inside the lines of a picture and being given a gold star - girly swot that I was. 1977 was Jubilee Year and the school threw a party. I was dressed in a very flash (now classed as hideous) red, white and blue dress and, with the rest of my classmates, learned the words to God Save The Queen. Quite hard when you’re struggling with the three times table and “i before e, except after c”. We had a very enthusiastic band of Class Helpers: Mrs Norman, Mrs Coleman and Mrs Spencer. These angels kept the Reception class ticking over, wiped up tears, dabbed at cut knees and launched a full scale panic in the playground if it started raining. Watch this from Peter Kay (ignoring the obviously non-school setting) to explain why!
David has declared this a “rite of passage” and has booked the day off to come with us. This has rendered me tearful because he has acknowledged this monumental event in the life of our pride and joy. Although, as I heard him telling Auntie Ivy last night, “I’m not going so much for Mac but for Joanna – if only to carry the tissues”. He knows me so well!