A letter to Medium’s teacher

Dear Reception Teacher

RT (do you mind if I call you that?), there are some things that you need to know. I realise you’ve been doing this job for donkey’s years. There’s not much that you don’t know about children. You’ve encountered all sorts of personalities and brought the most unruly into line. I know that. I respect that. But this little fuzzy haired blonde in the line? She’s mine.

I know that all children are special. I know that every mum standing in line with their child will be giving you the same doleful, anxious eyes as they hand their child over to begin their school career. I know you don’t want to see our tears or take on board our anxiety. And you’re right: We’re adults and your concern is educating our babies.

But that’s just it. These are our babies. Medium has only just turned four. She’s the youngest in the year. You don’t care if she can write her name (she can’t), but you’d like her to be able to dress herself and wipe her own bottom. She tries, I promise, but it’s hit or miss. She is only just four. I don’t always see the capable little girl that she’s growing into. Sometimes I still see the big blue eyes staring out of her baby blanket and remember the first day that beautiful face broke into a smile.

That face smiles a lot. She’s a cheerful soul. She’s the kindest child I’ve ever known, always first to pick up her sisters if they’ve fallen, ready with a kind word if her brother is crying and happily approaches other children to join in her games. She’s great at sharing and she makes friends easily.

Her imagination is incredible. Her role-play is legendary, with her often staying in character for weeks. And when she’s in character, so is everyone else. It can be exhausting.

She sounds a dream, right? Not always. She’s complicated. Medium feels things so deeply and she’s easily hurt. A slight from you will take her weeks to get over. If a friend says a harsh word, it wounds her. She doesn’t retaliate. She doesn’t fight back. She just takes her hurt and stores it away. So, please… Please don’t let her get hurt.

She worries; she really worries. She’s worried about starting school, and change unsettles her. She’s a homebody at heart; her favourite times are when she has her family around her in her own home. She’s going to find starting school tough. I won’t be there and, as far as she’s concerned, a few minutes on Mummy’s Lap can end wars. Mummy’s Lap won’t be there, and that makes a the knot in my tummy twist.

You need to know that she still sleeps with her cuddly Horse, now somewhat loved a bit too much. She’ll shout for him if she’s hurt herself. Is it okay to pop him in her backpack or is that too ‘baby’? Remember, she is my baby after all.

I know you’re great and I know how well you took care of Big, but I look at my newly four-year-old Medium and she just seems so young to be joining the playground throng so soon.

So RT, I give you my Medium and I beg you to remember that Big School is a big deal – not just for Medium, but for me too. I beg you not to change her. She’s awesome as she is.

Love

Second-time Reception Mum x

 

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A letter to Medium’s teacher

Fear of forgetting

Today I submitted our school application for the Big One. She’ll be five next September and my tiny baby will be plucked from my arms and into the world of school. I’m not ready. She’s not ready. Even my mum’s not ready. NO ONE IS READY.

I have no idea where the time has gone. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting on my sofa with my six NCT friends, bemoaning our first experiences of piles, reflux and stroking our enormous bumps. Lulled into a false sense of security by our four birthing classes in which we were promised that our partner massaging our feet would make it a beautiful, slightly ‘uncomfortable’ experience and that breastfeeding was easy and completely painless. Gullible twits that we were. The reality is that it bloody hurt and who knew that nipples could actually bleed?

But I digress. As usual.

I’m scared I’ll forget. I worry that I won’t remember what it feels like to see Big’s beautiful face light up in the best smile when she sees me at Pre-school pick up. That she’ll get the swagger of a schoolgirl and Mummy becomes Mum and totally uncool. I worry that she won’t ask to do craft any more and that the endless cry of, ‘What are you doing, Mummy? Can I do it too?’ will cease. I worry that my shadow will disappear.

I fear forgetting the tickle of Medium’s fuzzy hair in the middle of the night when she’s joined me in bed without me knowing and the way she smiles, just showing her bottom teeth. Sometimes I forget she even has top teeth. I fear her lovely, chunky toddler legs will disappear too soon and she’ll no longer climb on my lap and let me stroke them.

And then there’s Little. Will I remember how she snuggles into me as if she wants to get back inside my skin if I make a move to get out of bed? How much I love just lying in the dark with her in my arms and sniffing that intoxicating baby smell on the top of her head? The feeling I had when I first saw her smile and the tears at her first laugh.

I feel like I need to back up my brain, like I do the photos on my phone but I’m not convinced Dropbox stores memories. Perhaps they could work on that. In the meantime, if time could just slow down a little bit – just a little bit – so I can stop and smell the children, that would be great.

Fear of forgetting