Thursday, 28 August 2014

Beginning 'Big School' and Remembering

"I don't need to try them on, I know the aged 9 one will fit...It's FINE!"

We're shopping for school uniform. It's busy, I'm hot and bothered about our two toddlers, Rosie and Alice are stomping around. Emily, aged 11, about to embark upon Year 7 of her new secondary school, is moaning about not wanting to try her skirts on.

"I don't LIKE socks with patterns on. Why aren't they just PLAIN?"

I sigh and grab Rosie as she tried to pull the entire contents of the knickers rail down upon herself. "Emily...they are just the stitches, it's no big deal. You just need grey socks..." but before I can finish my sentence she has cut me off, complaining.


I chase after Alice who has grabbed a Peppa Pig rucksack off the shelf and is running away with it. Warren grabs a giggling Rosie and holds her still.

When I return with a grumbling Alice, Emily - head down and totally 'not bovvered' about uniforms is still moaning.

"The school has STUPID rules. Why should I wear what they say anyway? I don't even like...."

And on. And on. And. On.

I take a deep breath and just pick the clothes that fit her. We manage to wrestle the babies to the till between us, and, ignoring Emily's face like thunder, pay and leave.

Hard part over.

A bit later I thought actually how difficult buying the uniform was. It was fairly painless really in the scheme of things. A bit of moaning, but all what was to be expected of a Minecraft-obsessed tween, not a baby but nowhere near a woman. On the cusp of being a teen.

Later that night, glass of red wine in hand, I sit back and think about my own time at secondary school.

On my first day, some of the girls laughed at the bag that I had. It was just a back-pack, nothing special. They laughed.

My hair was all wrong; frizzy and old fashioned. They laughed. My skirt seemed long compared to theirs, my coat plain, my tie slightly straighter than theirs. They laughed.

It could be cripplingly embarrassing, like the time you were playing netball in PE and Louise shouted across the playground, in front of everyone, pointing at you "Look at her legs - they're dead fat!"

It could be terribly cruel like the time Beth told her sisters to threaten to batter you every morning and you went into school terrified for two weeks, watching your back.

It could be funny, like time you and Rachael laughed because Lyndsey read out 'impotent' instead of 'impertinent' at the front of the class in English.

It could be painful, like the time you told Carrie you fancied Neil and Carrie told Neil and then Neil told all his mates and they all laughed and pointed at you in front of your friends and he said "Ewww as if I would ever go out with you."

I put my wine glass down and choose not to dwell on those times. Because secondary school is difficult. It is such a challenging and emotional time, at a point in your life where you are not sure who you are, or who other people are. How you will grow, or change who you like or dislike or what you truly feel about anything. It is all a learning curve, life's lessons are all there in front of you like hurdles; and sometimes you fall, but you learn. You move on. You grow up.

Picking out the uniform was the easy part. Emily has all of the rest in front of her. And so, when she is worried about the patterns on her socks, or entirely 'not bovvered' about any of the uniform, or the timetable, or her PE kit or anything to do with the 'stupid school.' I resolve to be more patient, and to try to understand. To try and remember that at her age, I too wasn't interested in the school uniform; there were far too many other concerns at that time.

I will try and give Emily space, and room to grow and find herself, to learn her own life lessons in school and out.

She knows I am right here if she needs me.






15 comments:

  1. Oh, secondary school was tough at times! My eldest is about to start reception class so still a long way off for us.

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    1. Aww reception is a big step too. Hope all goes well :) x

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  2. Oh God, it's so hard, isn't it? Hope all goes well for her. It's such a big step.
    My son starting secondary school two years ago brought back memories of bullying. I was so determined it wouldn't happen to him. So I bought him a cool bag (a Superdry one, not for chilling his lunch!). So far, so good. He's a bit geeky, but not weird enough to attract the bullies.

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    1. It's so weird what you have to do to try and not stand out. And who cares if you stand out anyway but clearly to kids it matters and I suppose as parents it's our job to be there for them as best we can. :) x

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  3. Totally hated Yr 7! Got bullied so badly because my dad was a policeman, that I had to move school! Where we live they don't go to proper Big School until they're 13 and I prefer this...gives them a bit more time to grow up and learn a bit more about themselves. I'm sure she'll be fine and as you said, she knows where you are if she needs you and thats the most important thing xx

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    1. 13 is probably a better age for them to go in I reckon. Just the difference in size is probably daunting for them, poor dots x

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  4. Wow, it's a biggy isn't it? I have to say I hated secondary school but one bit of advice got me through it and I'll be passing it on when the time comes; 'be your own woman'. It's so tricky to stay true to yourself when you're working out who you want to be but impossible to be happy if you don't. Good luck to your girl, she's got a lovely mummy behind her, that always helps xxx

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    1. Thanks lovely. That is some sound advice right there x

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  5. Oh bab! Hope she has a good time. Least you are there to pick up the pieces. I met a friend I was at school with who I hadn't seen since I left school 18 (vom) years ago. She told me all sorts of stories I didn't remember. It made me laugh how we always think different things about school. But through the heartache and horror and the hot lad getting off with everyone bar me (who is now gay by the way) secondary school is kinda fun xxx

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    1. Ha h, this made me laugh. 18 years ago? Bloody hell I hadn't even thought how long ago it was - 1998 I left. Time flies doesn't it xxx

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  6. This made me quite sad. Same school, same year, different paths. xxxxx

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  7. Aww it is so hard. My teen is going into year 11 and it's been a tough roller coaster. I'm not looking forward to the next year either!! God I sound doom and gloom!! Lots of kids flourish and do well in high school, your

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  8. Oops pressed publish too fast lol!! Good luck to your little girl hopefully she will love it xx

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    1. Thanks a lot lovely. I don't suppose it gets any easier but as long as we are there for them, then we will have done our bit xxx

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