Today my little baby girl, my first born, started her educational career. Dressed proudly in her school cardigan, white collared t-shirt, grey pinafore dress and smart black shoes, she had her first session at nursery school. My baby girl is growing up… SO. DAMN. FAST.
As if that wasn’t a big enough deal on it’s own, she also started the day by proudly throwing her bottles into the bin and declaring that she doesn’t need them because she’s a big girl, not a baby anymore.
She really isn’t a baby anymore.
We set off for school and she marched ahead, leading the way with long, excited strides, her Spiderman backpack bobbing away on her back and a huge grin on her face. I imagined an emotional goodbye where I forcably held myself together as we exchanged a last cuddle before I was no longer her full time care giver, then waving to one another through the windows as I walked away before finally letting out the sobs once I was out of sight.
The little madam was first in, barging past all the other children, and before I had hung her coat up on her peg she had vanished from sight into the classroom without even a glance over her shoulder. Nothing. Not even a goodbye.
I hovered, thrown by the distinct lack of significant farewell, until the kindly teacher advised me it was okay to leave and held the door open. So I did. I left my baby girl confidently taking in her surroundings and deciding what to conquer first and was taken out for lunch by my mother who, observing how much harder I was founding the entire process than my child, fed me burger and chips followed by a chocolate brownie and ice cream.
I neurotically checked my phone, making sure I had no phonecall advising me of a crisis in which Miss Rose needed me and only me (no such luck) and soon was told by my brother that he bet me a fiver that she’d make someone else cry before anyone made her cry. My fragile, delicate flower baby has something of reputation for being more of a tough cookie and potential thug than one might imagine of a three year old girl.
When we picked her up she happily came out then dropped to her knees to open her Spiderman bag and pull out the drawings she had done, then gave me a huge hug. She was happy. The teacher gave me a thumbs up when I shot her an anxious look and Miss Rose was all smiles. It was fine!
Getting her home was a challenge… her legs were like jelly and she was too tired to speak properly or move. And she’s heavy. Between my mother and I we were eventually able to manouver her home, at one point me carrying her body whilst mum carried her legs, and collapsed her onto the sofa where she watched TV like a wounded invalid, occasionally grunting and wafting her arms in the air.
My big girl is a school girl. She survived, I survived.
Then the challenge of big girl bedtime… going to bed and to sleep with no bottle of milk to settle her.
Ten minutes, half a reading of The Lion King, and lots of cuddles from her toy diplodocus Jeffrey and the child was snoring contentedly. I shall write later about what I credit the calm transition from bottle to no bottle on, but for now suffice to say I am damn proud. I’m proud of her for turning into such a confident and lovely little girl who copes with what life throws at her so admirably. I’m proud of me. I’m proud of me for raising her to be the girl she is and I’m proud of me for not having an emotional break down about losing her to the educational system I so loathed when I was growing up.
All in all? Stuff feels positive right now.
She is on her path towards adulthood. Now we just have school, puberty, and all that jazz to look forward to… That emotional breakdown may still arrive yet…
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!