I've just come back from no 4's leaver's assembly. Finally, after nine years of having children attending the infant's school, my servitude is over. What is more, I'm only going to have two schools to deal with next year, yay!
When no 1 started there, no 4 wasn't even thought of, so it does feel quite emotional saying goodbye. My early years at the school are a blur of fraughtness, double buggies, assemblies with babies on laps and toddlers on the floor and a generally bad tempered mindset. No 1 had a pretty disastrous start as her teacher went off on permanent sick leave halfway through the year (was it something she said?) and they had a host of supply teachers. At the time I wasn't much impressed with the way the school dealt with the situation and the lack of communication which was then forthcoming. For a long time, I wasn't all that impressed with the school fullstop but since no4 got there, it's been steadily on the up, and she has had a great run of it. Particularly this year, when she's had a really enthusiastic teacher, who together with the other Year 2 teacher has organised a great night walk on the common, a fabulous school trip which included pond dipping (luckily the lively boys in my group didn't get dipped), two brilliant school shows, and last Friday a Punch & Judy show (which I had to mainly miss as no 1 had her piano exam at the same time).
Hilariously, though no 4 is the noisiest of my children, the school keep telling me she is quiet, well behaved and looks after everyone else. So for those reasons, today, she was awarded a certificate for the girl in the class who had made the most impact, an honour never before given to one of my children. I had been prepared to blub at hearing One More Step Along the World I Go (I have NO idea how teachers can manage ever to get through that song in one piece), but I utterly disgraced myself for no 4's moment of glory instead.
The thing is, I am an inconsistent old cow. When nos 1&2 were in infants, especially, the daily grind was so bloody hard, I couldn't wait for it all to be over. And yet, now I'm finally here, of course I don't want it to end. Greedily, I want to keep hold of those fleeting moments of their childhood, as they run through my hands like so many particles of sand. Where, oh where have my babies gone? And why didn't I enjoy them more, while I had the time?
Like I said. Completely inconsistent.
If that's not bad enough, tomorrow I have to go through it all again for no 2. Who, having been totally sanguine about going on to secondary school, has spent the last year having a succession of "Year 6" moments, and is highly likely to lose the plot tomorrow, just as her big sister did two years ago. And to make it worse for her mother, I met two of her contemporaries in utero, in ante natal classes eleven years ago. No more babies, indeed...
Best take a big pack of hankies, I think...