I just dropped Ebony off for her last day of nursery. She ran through the doors for the last time, failed at hanging her coat up for the last time and waited impatiently to speak to her teacher for the last time. Next time she sets foot in that building, she’ll be walking into reception on her first day of school.
It really doesn’t feel that long ago since she tried on her nursery uniform for the first time and we realised how huge it was. The sleeves of the jumper more than covered her little hands and the trousers gathered on the floor. Now, all of that uniform fits her. In fact, she’s outgrown the trousers in the past few weeks. She looks so much older than she did at the start of the school year. Her chubby cheeks are gone, her hair has grown down to her shoulders (at long last) and she has grown taller.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been waiting with baited breath for the meltdowns about finishing nursery. I was expecting her to regress a little, to start getting upset and to generally seem a little frustrated. But she hasn’t. I asked her, the other day if she was sad about leaving nursery. She looked genuinely confused, “Why would I be sad? It’s summer and the baby will be here and then I’ll start school!”
She has loved nursery. I’ve never had to deal with tears at the door or dragging her out of bed, in fact, she’s run most of the way there pretty much every day. She can’t wait to get inside and play with her friends. She spends hours playing mummies and daddies, mummies and dogs (?) and ice cream shops. She loves riding round the outside area on the two-person trikes. She loves the teachers and spending time learning skills like reading and writing with them.
Since September, she has learned the basics of writing, reading and maths. She has learned conflict resolution skills, how to stand up for herself and how to get what she wants. She has made new friends, learned new games and tried new things. And she has loved every minute of it. With her being in the morning session, we have still had our afternoons together and that has been really important to me. It’s allowed us to see friends, go to Manchester and go on adventures. Admittedly, it has also allowed us to have a lot of ‘movie afternoons’ but I’m pretty sure that’s ok when you’re pregnant.
When I pick Ebony up in two hours, it will be the official start to our summer holidays. It’s raining, of course. Being 38 weeks pregnant, I am slightly worried that Ebony won’t be having the best holidays with me. I definitely don’t feel like adventuring far from home. I predict we’ll spend most of our time at home, waiting for the baby to arrive. But then, when it does, Laurie will have a month off work and we’ll be able to spend some quality time together as a family of four.
And by the time Laurie heads back to work, it will be time for Ebony to start school. In some ways, it doesn’t feel that huge a deal because she’s been so happy at the nursery and is already so excited about reception. I’ve managed to sort out a vegan school dinner menu with the catering company so I’m not worried about her feeling left out at lunchtimes. Her uniform is sitting upstairs waiting to be worn. And she’s ready for school. But I know I’ll miss her so much. I know the days will be long without her there to chat to at lunchtime. I know she’ll be tired by the time she gets home and that I’ll miss the quality time I’ve taken for granted these past four years.
I know she’s growing up, but she still feels so little to me. I wish I could stretch out these early years and make them last just a little bit longer. I’m not ready to have a little girl in school, not just yet.