The first day at “big school”
We all know what an important day the first day at “big school” is. Long before it arrives, we start mentally preparing: The night before, we lay out the requisite clothing, and we prepare the bags and shoes. In the morning, we wake with that familiar nervous feeling.
And that’s just the mums.
Because, seriously, the first day at a new school is actually more about the mums than it is the children. The kids – they know the drill – most of them have been in nursery since the year dot. Let loose in a bright classroom full of exciting new toys, they don’t look back.
The mums, on the other hand, they instinctively do that thing where they decide, in a 10-second sweep of the classroom, with whom they’re going to be friends for the next 15 years. They decide towards whom they’re going to push their children for play dates so the mums can enjoy shopping dates, holidays, barbecues and gin nights (or is that just me?).
But I’m not exaggerating. I saw it for myself this morning.
Between the coaxes of “Darling, why don’t you make me something in the play-kitchen?” I saw the other mums sweeping the room from under their eyelash extensions. Who looks nice? Who’s trying too hard? Who’s too cheap? Who looks genuine? Is she yummy mummy or manufactured mummy? With whom am I going to get on?
Within seconds of entering the classroom, the judgements were made.
“She chose to wear that? On the first day of term?” (Cripes, don’t they own a mirror? Did she get dressed in the dark?)
“I wonder where she gets her hair done.”
“Oh my life. Was a diamond-fringed abaya really necessary?”
And “Yes, dear, nice Gucci bag – genuine – but I’d rather you didn’t whack me in the head with it when turning to grab your son.”
They say that people make decisions about each other in the first three seconds. But, seriously, in the classroom, I’d give it 10 because you’re not only checking out the mum, but the offspring too. Is he/she good enough for my child? Is he/she well-behaved? Do they look like they live near us? Is the mum overdone? Trying too hard? Can I imagine sharing a bottle of Sauvignon with her at 5pm?
Honestly? I’m glad that’s over for another two years. Oh, hold on – I’ve got to do it all again with DD’s new class tomorrow.