the school series : counting down

In less than three weeks Che starts school. He is excitedly breaking in his school shoes every day whilst I am nervously ticking things off the list.

Yesterday he tried on his uniform, his sandy beach hair squashed by his enormous hat. He wore it proudly, stood tall in his new shoes and asked me, once again, how many more days till school.

It’s such an enormous transition for the whole family and I’ve been doing my best to consciously prepare (myself more than anyone). I’ve sought the advice and wisdom of some of the mums and dads I admire most and I’ll be sharing their thoughts here over the next week or so. I also have a fabulous back-to-school giveaway organised and I’m collecting some yummy ideas for lunchbox treats.

For now, I’ll continue to make this summer-before-school-starts Che’s best yet. Earlier this week I took him out for sushi, we spent time in the bookstore and then we bought socks and cotton singlets (because a cotton singlet is like a hug, in my opinion). He’s been to the theatre with Mama and today he’s going on the ferry with Ommi. Every second day we’ve been at the beach and every afternoon has been quiet – reading, baking, resting.

Whilst we make a memorable summer I am overwhelmed by the emotional tug of my first-born heading off to school. It’s so very strong. Do youย haveย a child starting school this year?

photos taken by luisa on our daytrip to Brooklyn.ย 

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Showing 41 comments
  • Claire @ Scissors Paper Rock

    My first born heads off to Prep this year too. I am an emotional mess over it.
    I actually wrote about it yesterday and emailed it off to one of my publishers last night for an upcoming online publication.
    Fulltime school already?! Seriously, weren't they just born??? Where has the time gone? ๐Ÿ™
    Claire x

  • Holli Roberts

    My first born heads to kinder this year. Five days a fortnight. I have the toddler twins to keep me busy but it seems to be happening all very fast!

  • Sarah

    My daughter is heading off to school this year too. We already have a son at school (yr 2) but it is every bit as emotional as it was when we sent him off to Kindergarten. Such a milestone and possibly even a bit sadder this time around as I know how independent and grown up she is about to become!! They change SO much in that first year of school. Enjoy every minute, it is quite beautiful to watch.

  • jensen taylor

    They are adorable!
    I don't have kids of my own, but it is amazing to see just how fast they grow up. So happy to hear you're making this the best summer yet ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Katie

    Mom son (first-born) started kindergarten this past year. It was huge – monumental- and your recent posts take me right back to how I felt leading up to that first day. Now we're half-way through his first year and he seems so much older. Sniff. Hugs to you, Mama!

  • ashley

    I don't have one starting school, but teaching early childhood, every year I have a new group of excited children and apprehensive children! Most of the time all settle in to the routine after a few mornings:) So much to accept when little people stop being so little- independence is a blessing and the scariest thing our darlings can show us. Che will be amazing. Especially with a supermama and papa backing him up. xxx ashley

  • Jess @ Caffeine and Tutus

    My little girl Ella starts school this year too.. I can't quite believe it, and some days I feel myself on the verge of tears! x

  • hello milky

    I feel the emotional tug already about Gus going off to school… he's only 15 months! xx

  • bron @ baby space

    yes, max is off in a couple of weeks too and rose started daycare today. honestly I am excited for him more than anything — he is so ready. I think he's going to love it. He's tried on his uniform, got his shiny school shoes from the shoe store, and in the true 2013 way I have been pinning lunchbox ideas on pinterest ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Jodi

      Oh I'm definitely excited too. I loved school so I'm delighted that he's about to start what was, for me, a fabulous childhood experience. It's the sudden leap to 5 days away from home that seems most daunting (and the tiredness that will naturally follow!) x

  • Greer

    I do, my Lola starts in a couple of weeks. I think I'm as excited as she is. xx

  • Catherine

    Jodi it is such an emotional time having your first born go off to school, there must be so many feelings running through your mind at the moment. It is hard to say goodbye but at the same time it is wonderful to see them grow and become their own person too. I have to keep telling myself that it's time for them to have some independence from me but I still struggle and my two daughters are entering year 9 and year 4 this year, the time has just flown by so fast:( Enjoy your summer days together, it sounds like your making them a memorable one for all of you. Hugs Catherine. xx

  • hakea

    The most difficult was seeing my youngest off to school. For the first time in 10 years the house was quiet. I didn't have my lttle buddy with me to smile sweetly at shopkeepers. It was a very strange feeling.

    Life gets a whole lot busier when your kids go to school. They are no longer in your world. They gain a few extra layers socially and emotionally and that creates some dilemmas. And although they become physically less dependent on you they need you MORE emotionally.

    Healthy lunches are good, but make them easy to eat. Kids don't want to linger over a long lunch. They want to scoff it so they can spend as much time playing as possible.

    They will come home dog tired, flop for a while, and then go into a play frenzy because "we don't get to play much any more".

    And the best way to find out about their day – reflective listening.

    Best Wishes

    • Jodi

      such a beautiful comment and very wise words. Thank you. Many mums I have spoken to have said that sending their youngest off the school was hardest. I can't even imagine the quiet! x

  • Amanda

    I can understand all the emotions you're feeling and will look forward to the advice you will be sharing in coming posts. My big girl will start kindergarten this year (part time here in WA) but seeing as she's been with me every day of the week pretty much since she was born, it's a big step for us both. In saying that, she's definitely ready for it and so I am embracing the change as best I can with open arms and an open heart x

  • Rachael Brown Photography

    I do. And I still struggle with finding the words for it everyday. Time is slipping by faster than I ever thought it would. And I am filled with so many what ifs. Which have struck me quite hard. As before I had her I was a new entrants teacher for 12 years. I was a good, kind and compassionate teacher. But I am quite sure. Very sure. If I went back to teach again I would be infinitely more compassionate now. With the experience of being a Mum in my heart.

  • Reply

    My little will be starting kindergarten in the Fall–after considering homeschool we put her in a lovely Pre-Kindergarten this year and she lived it. She's a social butterfly & wants friends all day every day. I'm excited & nervous of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Pockets

    I feel the same about cotton singlets Jodi and still put them on the boys even though its summer, although I as the weather gets warmer I have been leaving them off occasionally. There is something so comforting to me about singlets on children.

    One of my biggest struggles with the kindy year starting is healthy food for lunch boxes that will actually be eaten. We basically take a wholefood approach to food, ie real food that is homemade, but I find it quite challenging to keep the food interesting, tasty and nutritious as well as dealing with the usual aversion of textures, colours, etc that many children seem to have. I dread the day when the lunchbox comparisons start! I look forward to new lunch box ideas. Xo

    • Soph

      We have a similar food philosophy in our house. I take it back to the kids and ask them what they want in their lunch boxes. We talk about healthy choices and variety and I provide a list of options that I am happy with and they pick from there. If they have been part of making the choice then they are usually far happier to eat it and they are more equipped to reflect any 'lunchbox comparisons'. (I laugh at myself writing this as growing up I yearned to find a fried who knew what tahini and tamari were :))

  • :perennial:

    My youngest starts in two weeks and the emotions are flying around here, mostly in my heart. It has surprised me just how much it is impacting on me. I am not one to bonsai my kids, I love to see and celebrate the milestones of their growing up but this one? This one is hard.
    Wishing you and Che lots of luck – it is such an exciting time.

  • Jenny M

    Even though my 2 children are now in their 20's, the memories of their first day at school are still strong. Their Dad delayed going to work to see them off, my MIL stayed overnight with us, so she too could see them go to school and many photos were taken. Sometimes I think the children handled the new experience better than the parents! Good luck with the change the school year will bring to your family.

  • Nic

    You're going to have so many proud mama moments with Che shining at big school Jodi… on his first day, take tissues ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Jodi

      I'm going to take a box ๐Ÿ˜‰ x

  • Mother Down Under

    I was so emotional this week as Toddler C graduated from the baby room to the toddler room at child care…I can't imagine how I will be feeling when he is actually off to real school!

  • Soph

    My big boy starts school this year also. I have found my emotional roller coaster over him starting school really interesting to reflect on. Having been a kindy teacher for 6 years before having my own babies, I know that this can be a really beautiful right of passage for children a special year. In the right environment it can be one of the most memorable years of their lives. But is my big grown up boy really big enough to handle the pull of social emotional exploration between kids in kindy, all wanting to find their place in the new group? Will he manage the social/ work expectations? Sometimes I think my inside knowledge into the kidy classroom as a hindrance not a help! I adore the kindergarten year when teachers do a good job at it ๐Ÿ™‚ I am excited with him but I share his quiet nervous anticipation also…. It's a big leap, I look forward to holding his hand and then letting go, trusting that I have provided a foundation strong enough for him to land in a good place.

  • Mama Shara

    Hmmm, My firstborn is supposed to start this year too. But I havent had the courage to enrol him yet….. I feel like this has been the biggest decision of my life, and I can't quite get there yet….

  • Ann

    My daughter is only one but, thinking of her going to school makes me an emotional wreck!

  • Bianca (ivylovesjack)

    Oh Jodi, I'm a wreck over kinder. Our world will change this year. Ivy is so excited but I just hope that she copes well with the three five hour days that it will bring. She's never known anything like it. I keep trying to remember the magic that kinder was for me and hope with all of my heart that people are kind to her and that she will be happy. Thanks again Jodi for bringing together the community that you have, with daycare from a young age so popular in my circle it is reassuring to know that there are lots of other mums out there who feel like me about sending their children off to kinder and school.

  • Brenda @ Mira Narnie

    Jodi, being in emotional upheaval is totally understandable and really, completely normal! You have nurtured and cared for this boy day in day out for the last 5 and bit years and now….he'll grow with independence as he ventures off to learn at school. My first born son started school last year…and he was excited (like Che sounds) and it eased my mind somewhat that he was "prepared" but I, probably was not so. Ride the emotional wave. Whatever you experience, let it come, accept it, enjoy it, love it, live it and welcome this new change in your life! As for your giveaway, it sounds amazing. I'd love to be apart of one of you many wonderful giveaways one day Jodi…I have a new inspiration print in the pipelines…I might just drop you an email. Have a lovely weekend x

  • Victoria

    Yes I do & I feel the same as you do.
    We have spent the days swimming, playing at the park & reading endless books.
    I am going to miss my buddy, oh so much.

  • Steph @ this brown wren

    Your tender care has prepared this little man for his next life adventure more than you know!Simple day to day goings on at home not far from Mumma and Papa's wings provides such a powerful scaffold for formal learning. He will step into his "new shoes" and shine. Bijou is off to Kindy this year and I am a tangled mix of excitement for her…and heartbreak for me. I'm going to miss that chattebox! Here's to beautiful babies ๐Ÿ™‚ x x

  • PittiFours

    Hi Jodi,
    first: my english is not the best. So please be indulgent. i hope I can find the right words to tell what I feel.
    my oldest daughter will start school in August – in Germany they start at this month, not at the begining of the year.
    She – Ellenor – is so excited, so proud and thats good because itยดs time for her. She needs this new part of her life after 4 years in kindergarten. Iยดm also proud, shure, but at all it makes me sad and whistful. My little girl is getting a big girl. It feels like she moves away from me, doesn`t need me so much than before… Often, I sit there and watch her playing and than remember so many situations in our life with her. I feel so much, how much I love her and be so glad to have her – and her little sister of course. It makes me thankful, that we have the chance to see her grow up. This sweet little baby becames a big girl… and in fact, I can see so much of me in her and I wish her as many beautiful memoires as I have.
    Lets see what may come… after all, its hard to let her go.
    Thank you for your minds.

  • Lou Archell

    Oh Jodi – I know so very well how this feels. My heart broke once Rufus went off to school last September. I made summer so wonderful for him and Charlie, I didn't want to let them go! I am sorry to say I cried for the first week, I felt such a loss. But now I see that Rufus and Charlie have made great friends, and are blooming from their experiences at school. Loving life. It's all a balance. As long as school and home are enjoyable and happy environments, then it's all good. Plus as a mummy and person I feel I am stronger and happier person as I have time for me and my projects and then seeing them again at the end of the day makes it all the sweeter. Enjoy your summer… Che will love school. x

  • this little mum

    it sounds like you're having an amazing summer.

    i have the day of my daughter starting nursery and me returning to work {hopefully part time} fast approaching and it is filling me with all kinds of anguish. i can only imagine what it will be like when i send her off to school one day! *sob!*

  • Jo

    You are such a good mama. And, it can never be said enough, just how beautiful your family is.

    My best,
    Jo Farmer

  • Lottie Storey

    I find it really difficult to articulate but I found my oldest going to school made me ache for now. I was nostalgic for the present. I wanted to hit pause. 18 months on and he's so happy at school, even prefers it to the holidays I think ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Beetlebirdhare

    I can only imagine how hard it must be(for the mama!) take a huge box of tissues and I'm sure Che will absolutely love it : ) We've not gone through the same thing because we home ed at the moment (many, many allergies and asthma have taken us down a different path) Lovely photos as always!

  • Maxabella

    My Lottie is starting. She grows smaller by the day. x

  • evie dear

    my Evie will be 5 in April, but starts school in a week!! She is ready and excited, I'm a bit sad about the whole thing! I know it's time, but I will miss her alot and won't be there to guide and protect her in the 'real world'.

  • anothermotherblog

    My daughter had her first day at school on Friday. She too was counting down the days since the end of last year. It is so lovely when they are looking forward to something so much rather than feeling worried or hesitant about it. I too and very excited about this next step for her.

  • Ashley Smith

    Where do you buy your little girls clothes? I love that top!

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