It’s a big week for Leo this week. On Friday he will have his final day at nursery before he has the summer off in preparation for big school. He’s totally ready for it, because, as he keeps telling me, he can count to 23, wipe his own bum and write L-E-O, what else does he possibly need to know?
I’m not ready though. I feel panicked that time is running out. How is he already four and going to school? When did that happen? I feel like I blinked and he went from being a gargling, bouncing baby to a mass of long limbs and attitude. My baby boy is no more. He went for a trial day at school last week and buggered off without even waving bye. I went back to school to have my dinner with him (actual school dinner, on a plastic tray, with a ball of mashed potato and pudding with custard) and he sat with his new-found friends, came and told me he’d finished and once again, buggered off. I felt like screaming ‘WHY DON’T YOU FUCKING NEED ME ANY MORE?!?!’ and crumpling into a weeping heap on the floor, but I didn’t think it was appropriate in a school hall full of under 11s.
Leo has gone to nursery since he was nine months old. When I first took him I had to take baby milk and he didn’t even wear shoes. He still had two naps a day and two teeth. Now, when I pick him up, he’s usually racing around the garden on a bike or a scooter, giggling and covered in whatever he’s eaten that day (do nurseries just feed them orange stuff that stains?)
Come September I’ll be dropping him off at school each morning and we can’t even be late (we are ALWAYS late for nursery). Leo is adamant that we must be there ‘at the dot’. He’s so excited and I’m excited for him, but at the same time I want to hang onto my baby boy forever.
I recently asked Leo his thoughts on going to big school as part of a magazine feature.
Here it is:
What are you most excited about?
When I get to go in the big garden where the older children are because there is a balance beam. I am looking forward to wearing my uniform because I think it might be cool.
What do you think you’ll do in your classroom?
I’m going to do the register, which is when you make sure everyone’s here, like at nursery. After register we have to go and play. I will play mums and dads and Paw Patrol. I will be a boy Skye off Paw Patrol, with wings. In mums and dads I am the dog. I’m always the dog. We will do history which is what happened in the olden days and we’ll learn about Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom.
What else will you learn about?
I will learn everything. My favourite thing to learn about is dinosaurs and ears.
What will you have for your lunch?
Mashed potato and nothing else. I don’t like mashed potato.
Is there anything you’re not looking forward to?
Nothing. I am looking forward to everything at school because there is nothing to be afraid about.
And there we have it. I’ll blink again and he’ll be a stroppy teenager. The joy.