This is Sebastian on his first day of school back at the start of the year.
Happy, excited and ready to take on the world.
Compared to when the girls started school it has been slightly better than a nightmare perhaps? And, whilst I am fully aware that I shouldn’t be comparing my boy with my girls, the differences have been so marked but that I don’t think they are all gender related.
I have experienced a fair bit of Mummaguilt because I am not there every single morning and afternoon to drop him at his classroom. That said he loves his three mornings and two afternoons at OSHC. I also feel bad that he is the one our move seems to have affected the most.
I’ve tried writing about it several times but ended with a jumbled bunch of emotionally charged words on the page, not the way I want to portray him and his first year at school. I want to celebrate the good stuff not get bogged down in the bad.
He ended his kindy year a happy, confident little guy. School ready.
Then we moved and he spent eight weeks holed up with his sisters. He missed his best mate and I don’t think he would have cared if he never saw another girl again. Ever.
Cue, the new school year. The school the kids go to is entirely made up of composite classes which placed Sebastian in a Reception/Year One class, with only one other new boy and the majority of boys in the class at least a year older than him. By all reports he is his cheerful self in class, all that blue eyed, grinning charisma has his teacher and every other girl in the somewhat wrapped around his finger. I’ve seen it when I drop him off in the mornings, they flock to him and he is lovely to them. He just doesn’t want to play with them, or marry one. Ever.
The happy, smiling boy unfortunately had not been coming home that way each day after school. He claimed that he hated school, would refuse to get dressed, yell and cry. He didn’t play with anyone from his class at lunchtime, thankfully his older sisters have been awesome at looking after him and accommodating towards him in the school yard.
Tears, tantrums, aggression. The whole kit and caboodle day in day out. For the first few weeks he had trouble switching off and sleeping, I suspect it is still a problem for him but he is dealing with it better. He’s tired of course, that happens to all new school kids, and he misses his Dad the days that he’s away onsite plus he still misses his mates desperately.
I contemplated asking for him to be moved to a different class with more boys his age but the answer was a resounding no when I put my feelers out. I really do like his teacher and so does he.
Things are improving little by little.
Rather than switching and changing seats everyday Sebastian now sits next to the same boy every day. He’s the same boy that started school at the beginning of the year with him. They have forged a good friendship. His friend is coming for a ‘playover’ after school today and both boys have been counting the sleeps and discussing how many more each morning all week. It makes me smile.
Unlike the big girls the boy has not had an instant affinity for reading. Reading his reader is not his favourite thing in the world so if he’s fighting it we don’t do it. We choose books and read to him instead. More and more he is picking out words and reading along with us. His one to one correspondence has improved significantly and he is finally starting to get some consistent sight word knowledge.
AUSLAN is the school’s second language and interestingly it is something Sebastian has picked this up at an amazing rate. He can probably sign as many words as he can read, if not more, and it is something he does with huge confidence. I suspect that he is a highly kinaesthetic learner and have started doing more literacy activities with him at home that are nice and touchy feely.
He loves to write and draw. That’s been a consistent love. He was able to write his own name with nothing to copy by the end of last term and his letter knowledge and formation has really improved. His imagination is wonderful.
He is excited by what he is learning in maths. We enjoyed a game of Monopoly on Tuesday night where he demonstrated his counting and counting on skills with every roll of the dice.
He still declares he doesn't like school because it's hard, I tell him 'that's life buddy, you have to work hard for the good stuff'.
He still misses his best mate. He tells me every few days how much he misses him.
We are getting there one day at a time, I'm getting better at finding solutions to each afternoons' drama and being able to pre-empt his reactions to different situations. With lots of love, cuddles, kindness, routine and support we will find our happy little guy buried in there amongst all the angst.