So I’m sitting here waiting for Wonderboy as he enters the world of pre school gymnastics and, frankly, I don’t think I like it. I’m passionate about little ones expanding their horizons, heck, it was me who looked into activities for him! Nevertheless, I’m not enjoying this whole ‘dropping them off’ malarkey.
Starting pre school this year was culture shock enough for this mummy but now we’ve entered the 3-5 years age bracket, all activity groups seem to require you to drop them at the door and let them get on with it. (This includes swimming classes even though they can’t swim – is it me or does that sound borderline dangerous? Wonderboy can’t even stand in the pool!)
How am I meant to know how he’s got on? Was he confident, apprehensive or even scared when he tried to jump off the platform I saw set up? Did he manage and, most importantly, did he enjoy it? While he’s a sociable wee thing who will happily chatter his way round a supermarket, he absolutely will not be drawn on what he’s done at pre school and neither is he a fan of talking about his day come bedtime so the chances of any feedback from the boy himself are slim to none! His poor Daddy comes home after work and asks what he’s been up to, only to be told, ‘No speaking Daddy’. Right then, glad we had this chat!
For 3 years I’ve been used to being with him all day, every day. This means I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of knowing exactly what he’s doing all the time, what he likes and dislikes and who he’s playing with. I’ve been able to see first hand how he’s behaved, whether he’s enjoying something and whether he looks comfortable or not. Taking a step back is a huge, though I admit absolutely necessary, change to make. There’s a difficult balance to strike between being involved and holding them back.
As I closed the gym door behind me tonight I was met with a mixture of emotions – pride as my social butterfly of a child bounded over to the teacher, eager to get started, but also a pang of sadness as I recognised that even at the grand old age of three he’s starting to make his own way in the world.
Turns out he enjoyed himself hugely and I was met with a smile when I collected him. I’m going to have to let go … even just a little and most importantly, learn to be ok with it. He’s a wonderful, bright and confident child excited by the world around him and I realise my reticence is absolutely about me, not him. Man, this parenting gig is tough.
This pre schooler stage is a new experience for both of us and while Wonderboy goes from strength to strength with a mischievous grin on his face, I’m less sure of my place. Though there are many, many things I love about this age, this is one of the things I find most challenging – he might still be my baby, but he’s not a baby anymore. Time is going far too fast. Sniff!
I can’t say my state of mind was helped any when we walked back to the car and I went to kiss him only to hear a little voice say, ‘Sorry Mummy, I can’t. I’m too busy’. It might just be me, but I swear I can hear that clock ticking ….