New Year, new city. We’ve moved. The biggest piece of the jigsaw has been moving Noo from a school where he was happy and settled to a new school.
On his last day of school he was ill, so I went to collect his things and say goodbye to his teacher. Having said goodbye to many of my friends I’d avoided tears, once by actually running away, but I hadn’t cried. However, saying goodbye at school was different. I felt hugely emotional as I struggled to thank his teacher and teaching assistant. They handed me a card the children had made and big tears rolled unashamed down my burning cheeks. I *may* of inappropriately hugged his teaching assistant.
There’s a high demand for school places here and competition for preferred schools is strong. We had less choice that we’d hoped. Mr Noo visited Noo’s new school before Christmas, while I was ill, and liked it. As the Christmas term ended we organised a New Year start.
On the first day of his new term we walk to his new school. It feels very unknown. I walk with a uncharacteristically silent boy. I’m not sure how much of my attempt to chat hides my own nerves.
We are shown to his classroom by the Head Teacher. The class is like most reception classes; a constantly moving collection of children. After a chat with the teacher, Noo and I sit and fiddle with play doh. Other children make conversation with me rather than him.
After an hour the teacher indicates that maybe it’s time for me to go. We move to the corridor outside the class room to say goodbye. The teacher, Noo and me and a couple of staring children. Noo hooks his fingers first into my hand and then to my coat. He’s sobs and begs me not to go. Between the teacher and me we unpick his fingers and I slip away. Heart in mouth. The Headmistress stops me and asks how he did and tears prick my eyes.
I spend most of the day clock watching. Is it time to collect him yet? At pick up, I arrive early and stand in the middle of playground. A group of mums stand chatting in a huddle near the door. I am old enough to be their mother. I miss the familiar faces of friends waiting for their children. I feel ‘at sea’ and worry for Noo.
At last the teacher opens the door and in we shuffle in to collect our children. Noo has a huge smile. I think I might cry. He tells me he has made 6 friends. He is beaming with pride. As he skips across the playground “Mummy I found a black slug and picked it up”. This appears to have given him the approval of his peers. “Did you wash your hands afterwards?” I ask but don’t really care. He is happy.
As the days have gone on the friendship quota has grown, he is settled. The teacher said he’s been “amazing”. No more tears. The boost to his confidence has been enormous. He has successfully shifted from red school uniform to navy blue. One new piece of the puzzle fits.