Life Update: Sobbing, Sneaking and The First Day At School

life update ruth crilly

Angelica starts school tomorrow, but I tell you what feels most weird about today, which is officially known as First Day Of School Eve: the fact that I’m not writing my monthly update in a panic at ten minutes to midnight! Yes that’s right, my friends, I’m actually writing this in daylight – everyone is up and about and bustling around the house, the doorbell keeps ringing and the dog keeps barking and in the distance I can hear a lorry trying to drive beneath a tunnel of low-hanging tree branches. Crunchhhhh-crackkkk-bang. Gets them every time!

I have to write this now because later on this evening I am back to the unending trauma of launching an app and all of the complicated administrative issues that it throws up. I now know things about servers and databases and cname records that I had no intention of ever knowing; I was quite happy being completely oblivious to the workings of a Virtual Private Server, I was content with my naivety regarding the screenshot upload requirements for submitting an app to the App Store. I didn’t ever picture myself researching content management systems for nine hours straight, or having to sit on Live Chat with a tech “helper” (not helping) for forty-five minutes at a time.

life update ruth crilly

Silver lining: the app stuff has occupied me so thoroughly, I’ve not really had much of a chance to mope around about the school thing. The truth is, Angelica is well ready for school – I can almost sense the boredom, sometimes, when I suggest that we play shops or pretend to be hotel keepers. (I don’t know where these role-play themes came from, but I’m brilliant as both a hotelier and a shop-keeper, if I may be so bold as to blow my own proverbial trumpet. Never has a hotel manager been quite so thorough in their checking-in procedure and never has one been so quick-witted when it comes to accommodating odd requests. Cages for eighteen dragons? A room for a wizard who likes to sleep in the same bed as his brother and only wears socks to bed? I don’t even blink, me. I should have been a royal butler.)

So she’s getting bored at home, sometimes, and I think that school will be just the most exciting thing that’s ever happened. And if she’s excited then I am too. When I really think about the whole starting school situation, the part that makes me uncomfortable can be mostly written off as pure nostalgia and sentimentality – “my baby! Oh, my baby!” I can hear myself wail, in a parallel universe blog post that’s written after half a bottle of red wine. My Baby Leaves Me;  Is This The End Of The Era?; Why I’m Terrified Of Letting Her Go. All of those titles perfectly summarise how I’m feeling about the school days – I am terrified of the whole growing up, growing apart thing, and it is the end of the baby era – but those are my issues and I haven’t had the time to dwell on them, which I personally think is quite fortunate.

If Angelica had her own worries (we’ve talked about school a lot) then that would be a different matter and I would have devoted my energies towards making her happy and confident, but in truth (and this is slightly painful, in a “I’m not needed” kind of way) she’s absolutely raring to go. Tiny shoes and pinafore dress and all. The fact that the dress came with a matching grey scrunchie made her almost apoplectic with joy, even though she still doesn’t really have enough hair to put into one.

life update ruth crilly

Both babies have baby hair. Actually, as I type this, they are downstairs being prepared for the visit to the hair salon – Angelica’s third visit, Ted’s first ever! Ted looks like a crazed old man who has been living on a mountain for eighty years, wispy mullet at the back and hair so long on top that he looks as though he’s trying to mimic a combover. Angelica’s hair is much more in-shape, but I thought it would be nice – and special – to have a day-before-school trim and style.

I did intend to make this a massively sentimental, gushing piece about how time flies and you have to appreciate each moment as it comes, but halfway through drafting out my (vaguely annoying) stream of consciousness I realised that I already appreciate each moment. It doesn’t stop time flying. And anyway, what a privilege for time to fly and to witness your child growing bigger and stronger. It’s a privilege denied to many and I thought for many years that it would never be my privilege, yet here I am, holding a pair of patent black shoes and showing a (just) four year old how to put a pinafore dress on without runkling up the shirt beneath. (Hand up the skirt, pull on the hem of the top – how long is it since you’ve had to do that manoeuvre?)

Then Ted starts nursery next week, just for a few hours, so that’s another milestone. No uniform, though, which is partly what tugs the old heart strings when it comes to the school thing, isn’t it? They suddenly look like miniature pretend adults.

life update ruth crilly

I had loads of other things to tell you this month, but I think that the school-starting subject trumps all else, don’t you? I was going to tell you an entire short story about Ted and Angelica’s “sneaking” game, which basically consists of them really badly sneaking up on people and the people being sneaked upon having to pretend to be surprised. (See top photo.) I could write about Ted’s weird performance art dance moves that he’s started doing (he pulls abstract shapes and then holds them for seconds at a time, with a really serious look on his face) or I could tell you about Angelica’s new-found ability to do a forward roll, but school really overshadows any other development this month.

I’m being all blasé and flippant about it, I know, and I can guarantee you I’ll be the one uncontrollably sobbing at the gates tomorrow. I’ll update you. I mean I cry quite easily – it’s as though my tear ducts were connected the wrong way around or something – so tomorrow is bound to be a weep fest.

Weep Fest! Now that’s an idea for a lucrative summer event. £140 per weekend camping ticket, doesn’t matter if it rains because you’ll be depressed anyway. And soaked.

Does anyone else have school starters? How are you feeling? How are they feeling?

life update ruth crilly

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  1. Claire N
    September 7, 2019 / 2:22 am

    My daughter started school in Scotland 2 weeks ago at age 5, she wasn’t ready last year so we deferred a year. She’s loving it, first day she scraped and bruised both knees so she was properly christened! She was excited to start school, she met her buddy before the summer
    so it’s really helped her settle in, hopefully Angelica is the same! Do let us know how it went!

  2. Anne Penniston Gray
    September 6, 2019 / 8:11 pm

    My now 38 year old son is on the eve of becoming a dad as my beautiful daughter-in-law is 39 weeks one day pregnant with my granddaughter. Luckily for me they eloped as I could not have contained the tears. I cried when he went to kindergarten and when he went a half a country away (and Canada is a big country) to university I managed to contain my tears especially since he essentially shoved me out of his car at the airport. However a couple of days later when I bought groceries I sobbed as the bill came to only $40 because he was gone. I used to cry at the airport when I saw him off after breaks but eventually there was a situation that put it all in perspective and I was grateful that I had such an accomplished young man who was confident enough to leave home to follow his career path. Alas my as yet unborn granddaughter (and her parents of course) will be an 8 hour drive away but we will go, as often as we can to visit the future.

    • September 6, 2019 / 10:09 pm

      Oh Anne, this was heartbreaking!! x

      • Anne Penniston Gray
        September 9, 2019 / 12:40 am

        My daughter-in-law is being induced today so wish them all well. I am so excited to become a glamma!

  3. Melissa Austin
    September 6, 2019 / 5:42 am

    My daughter starts on Tuesday in school nursery. She’s only just turned three at the end of August! She’s raring to go too – she’s been asking to go for months!
    Don’t worry about the fact that Angelica isn’t bothered about leaving you, it’s a really great sign. Children are happy to go off on their own when they have a secure attachment (see attachment theory) to their caregiver so it shows that you’ve done a great job and given her everything she needs.

  4. Khadija
    September 5, 2019 / 4:01 pm

    My little sister’s first day of school was a few weeks ago and she was so ready for it! I was barely holding it together emotionally (we have an age gap of 20 years so she’s like a baby to me) and she literally just walked into the room with a quick hug and an even quicker bye haha. I saw some other poor lady struggling with her daughter who refused to let go of her legs, it was like she was superglued on to them and the teacher was taking it all in stride like “yeah, this happens every year”.

    When I went to pick her up later with my mom, she was so excited and she hugged us both for such a long time! I think seeing her after the separation and having such a sweet moment then was better than if she had made a bigger fuss when leaving in the first place. She’s still excited every time she goes to school and barely says goodbye, but she’s also just as excited when she sees us picking her up and gives us the best hugs.

    As a side note, it’s also made me appreciate how hard it must have been for my parents when I was younger and I think I can see why they always say embarrassing things like how I’m still their baby even though I’m 25 and very much an adult in another city at this point. It’s probably even more different when you actually have a child yourself, it must affect people’s relationships with their parents in such a positive way (if they had good parents, of course, it’s probably the opposite if they were neglectful).

  5. September 5, 2019 / 2:48 pm

    Mine is 1 year old, will start studying, because I have no one to leave him. The child gets better and a lot of their communication when they start studying is a lot of information.

  6. Karen
    September 5, 2019 / 1:46 pm

    I live on a small island in Hong Kong so everyone knows my twins. So as well as me getting tearful (going to kindergarten half day every day) I’ve had people coming up to me saying ‘aaw! Saw your 2 in their little uniforms!!’

    • September 5, 2019 / 3:00 pm

      Oh my God nooooo!!!!!!!! I bet they look so cute though! xx

  7. September 5, 2019 / 11:53 am

    School in Germany starts at age six, but my daughter has been in kindergarten for two years now and my boy is starting next week, and I am all: Where did time go? Yes, it is a privilege, but sometimes I just want to freeze a moment or two.

    Anne from “Doctor Anne” (former Linda, Libra, Loca)

  8. Hannah
    September 5, 2019 / 8:15 am

    Non-parent here, but this month I was struck by the difference in attitudes to starting school between my friends who work, and my sister who doesn’t. A massive heart-wrenching thing for my sister, but for my working friends just “Hey ho, so I’ll drop them off at school instead of daycare today.”

  9. Gillian Pidler
    September 4, 2019 / 12:56 pm

    My three are all now grown. Lollie is 28 and married, Grant is 26 and living with his gorgeous gf and Nina is 19 and about to start a uni course, which luckily she can do at her local college, where she’s been for the last 3 years. If she were going away to uni I’d be a wreck! And while it’s so amazing to have watched them all grow into fully functioning and independent adults I do secretly miss those school runs. Wrapping up in winter and standing outside in the rain waiting to see their little faces emerge from the bustling crowd of small people. Having their little pjs warming ready at home for when we get in and snuggles when we get there and get changed out of the soggy clothes. Enjoy the school years Ruth, they also fly by but there are many stages and each one is special in it’s own way. Good luck to both of your little beauties in their newest adventures.

  10. Becky Parsons
    September 4, 2019 / 10:37 am

    First day of school was yesterday, I cried, he cried – all of the other mums were giving me sympathetic looks,unfortunately I didn’t ess anyone else crying so felt like a bit silly. Had to take the morning off work to recover and ate 4 chocolate bars!

    Picked him up at 3.30pm, he bounced out of school and said he loved it and proudly showed me a sticker on his jumper which read ” I fell over and bumped my head at lunchtime, please keep an eye on me for 24 hours” yep tht’s definitley my boy!

    Today’s drop off was easier, he skipped in to school, he still had a little cry when I left but he was so happy when I picked him up yesterday it just felt a little easier t leave today.

    Unfortunately all myths about them being tired and in bed early didn’t hold true for us, he finally went to bed at 8.30pm!

    Good luck to you both x

    • September 4, 2019 / 11:31 am

      Haha, the sticker!! “OK, so that’s not worrying; you’re basically saying he’s concussed?”

      • Sofi
        February 12, 2020 / 8:48 pm

        Hi Ruth. I did read this post when it first went live but I found myself looking for it again because I have been dealing with some mixed emotions about my son (11 days younger than ted) starting nursery.

        I was hoping you can do an in depth post about how ted was starting nursery, how long it took him to settle, and any advice you can offer. My son is due to start in April. After a failed attempt to get him settled in January he repeatedly tells me ‘I don’t want to go to nursery’ and it is giving us both anxiety, so would appreciate your view x

  11. Nancy Stark
    September 4, 2019 / 7:38 am

    Jump forward a few years to them starting university in a far away city!!…….. Then to the Piece de Resistance- their wedding days!!!! Don’t think I’ve ever really gotten over my two daughters getting married!!!! The journey of motherhood indeed ! X

  12. Mary Kai
    September 4, 2019 / 3:25 am

    The first day of school is my favorite holiday. I’ve been thrilled for school to start for, well, I think it’s been 10 years. Parenting, ie, entertaining, teaching, disciplining, littles does NOT come naturally for me. I love, believe it or not, when they are older and can have a reasonably coherent conversation about real things. My oldest is High Functioning Autism. I was so happy when he started school you’d thought I’d become a millionaire.
    And, you’re right, time flies even if we are savoring every moment or not. Being thankful and savoring every moment does nothing to slow it down.

  13. T
    September 3, 2019 / 11:03 pm

    How lovely, you’re so patient to play for all those hours and I love hearing your stories about how your little ones are changing and growing up. Mine are nearly 3 and then 3 months so it’s great to hear what’s ahead! Hope it all goes well for their next set of firsts xx

    • September 4, 2019 / 9:47 am

      I am quite honestly the least patient person on earth, I think, but thank you!! : )

  14. Susanamantha
    September 3, 2019 / 10:22 pm

    I drove my 4 year old to preschool in total control of my tear ducts. Escorted her to her room, kissed her goodbye, and started bawling once I was safe in my car. What really made me cry all the more was my 2 1/2 year old patting my shoulder and telling me, “Don’t worry, Mommy, she’ll be fine.” She was, I was.

    • September 4, 2019 / 9:48 am

      Ah, the little one comforting you!!

  15. Jo.C.
    September 3, 2019 / 10:06 pm

    It doesn’t get any easier the older they get. My daughter is starting secondary school tomorrow. I think she’s ready for it but not so much me. I have to take her to the school gates and try not to cry whilst she walks off with her friend, and I’ll be on tenterhooks all day until she gets home (looks like my house will be getting a good clean tomorrow… lol). It will be her first time catching a bus home by herself too so lots of ‘firsts’ tomorrow.

  16. September 3, 2019 / 9:30 pm

    Well… we have two starting obstetric three and THAT feels really weird, let me tell you. Luca is working with Mi before heading to Nepal for 10 weeks doing charity work… it’s a different, terrifying level of grown up…

    And and… having all boys I never had the chance to buy patent shoes!!

    • September 3, 2019 / 10:19 pm

      Haha! I’m sure you could get one of them some patent t-bars and bribe them Moni!

  17. Emma
    September 3, 2019 / 9:29 pm

    It’s my eldest’s last first day of primary this week and I have generally been very unsentimental about her starting school etc. but for some reason this week I have had a proper aaaargh moment as she just seems so grown up all of a sudden. Her uniform hanging on her door seems to be proper sized now rather than teeny tiny (I am 5 ft 2 on a good day and our children have been petite until recently) and yr 6 seems like such a big step. She also takes her 11+ shortly and it’s the first time everything feels completely out of our control..I hope Angelica really enjoys her first week at school and Ted settles in well to nursery x x

    • September 3, 2019 / 10:20 pm

      Yes, that is quite a moment. What a strange thing this motherhood thing is!! x

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