03/09/2014 13:00 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Starting Primary School Worries (Mine Not My Child's)

Starting school fears (mine not my child's)

Change is afoot. I'm steeling myself for a huge transition. In just a few weeks' time, Ava will go from preschooler to school child. This is big, so many things will change, there will be so many challenges to overcome. And I do, of course, mean challenges for me...

Will I have to learn to sew?

I have known for a long time that sewing is a thing that some mothers do, but I'm just not sure I have it in me. I don't think I own any needles.

A quick internet search reassured me that I won't have to sew in name labels, because someone invented iron on ones, but what about her actual uniform?

Hardly a day goes by when I don't discover an item of clothing that has ripped or worn through. What do other people do? Do you buy several sets of uniform? Or do you actually sew stuff up?

How will I avoid mothers I dislike?

At nursery/preschool it's easy to avoid the mother you'd rather not speak to. You just do the pick up a little earlier or a little later. But that's not possible with the school run is it?

If there is a mother I don't like (how likely is this to happen? Fairly likely?), I can't hide in the bushes until she's gone, leaving my daughter kicking about the playground by herself. I'm thinking fake phone calls will be the way to go.

How will I get out of homework?

I'm assuming it will be just a matter of time before Ava asks me to help her with something and I don't know how to do it.


Just the word 'homework' gives me palpitations. So do the words 'school project'.


How much will birthday parties cost?

When it comes to birthdays, will we have to invite everyone in her class? Is that the done thing? Would it be mean not to? We have always stuck to a manageable 10 or so up until this point.

Oh crumbs, how much will it cost (and I don't only mean the cash, I mean in terms of my sanity) to host 30 or so children all at once?!

And how many birthday parties will we have to go to?

30 children and 365 days of the year means that there will be a birthday, on average, every 12.16 days. Oh my god.

What about school holidays?

We have always avoided soft play centres like the plague at weekends, but I do remember once accidentally taking the girls to soft play during half term week. It scared the bejeezus out of me. But this is the future of out-of-school activities now, isn't it?

If we want to go anywhere, we have to go at the weekend, or during the holidays, when everyone else's crazy and enormous children will be there too. I think I'm having a panic attack...

Will I be judged on packed lunches?

Ava is a bit of a fussy eater. I'm pretty certain, when it comes to packed lunches, there is only one combination of things she will definitely eat – namely a ham sandwich, an apple and a yogurt.

How long can you send a child to school with the exact same packed lunch before the teacher sends home a letter?

Is there a way to avoid terrible hair days?

I have seen some school children with pretty severe haircuts, and I think it's now dawning on me why that is so. Ava's hair is long – every morning, we brush it and I do her a neat plait or a ponytail.

Every afternoon when I pick her up, the hairband has disappeared and her hair looks like that of Iggy Pop, on a bad day, circa 1975.

Given that children with long hair are requested to have it neatly tied back at all times, how long will it be before I receive a another letter, and then feel tempted by a traumatic trip to the hairdressers?

If she asks for a drum kit...?!

When Ava asks me if she can have a real drum kit (which I just feel certain is going to happen at some point in the very near future, because I have seen her new school's music room), do I say yes? Or no? Or can I just pretend I didn't hear her and leave the room?

I could say something like: "You know, drums are very loud and if we get a drum kit, you'll never be able to have a penguin should one become available..." which might put her off, because she has always really wanted a penguin.

What happens when she cracks the spelling code?

I realise it is a good thing that Ava will be taught how to spell words correctly, but with some particular words, this could cause us a problem. I mean, what am I going to do regarding secret coded words (like B I R T H D A Y) when Ava knows how to spell them? Will we have to just wait, and have those conversations once she has gone to bed?!

This could be a problem, because once the children are sleeping, we prefer to not talk and just drink wine and watch box sets. Ah! We'll spell them backwards.

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