I always find the start of the new school year really perplexing. It’s like everything I knew about their classmates, routines, PE and swimming days and library sessions has suddenly become obsolete, and must be pieced back together again like a giant, 3D puzzle.
It’s as though there’s a software update for the hard-drive in my head, and downloading the update not only mysteriously erases useful data like pick-up times, early finish time and the teacher’s name, but also makes the desktop in my brain look different. Nothing is intuitive anymore. Do I click here for homework? What days do I send PE kit in? Or does he wear it to school? Which class is my car pool mum’s child in now? And where the hell is the new classroom anyway?
It doesn’t help that we’ve got two schools following different curriculums on the go, so it all feels a bit bi-polar, and I haven’t had time to study all the emails and newsletters coming out of both schools in detail.
Then there’s the mixed-up emotional side – and this one has really hit me this year. I used to be one of those women who, on the first day back, would skip down the supermarket aisle celebrating my freedom. Now, to my amazement, I’ve turned into someone who wishes it could be summer f-o-r-e-v-e-r, and is even at risk of shedding tears at the school gate. Although which camp I’m in depends on the day.
My DH tells me I’m no good at change, but I’d correct that to say transitions. I’m fine once I get into the new routine, but that unsettled period before it’s established bothers me, and the worry comes out in odd ways. At the grocery store the other day, I couldn’t find the pâté. They’d either moved it again, or it hadn’t arrived on the boat this week. I was talking to the nice man in the pork section, who showed me where it was. “Why isn’t it where it always is,” I asked. He shot me a sympathetic, pitiful look. I think he knew I wasn’t talking about the pâté.