The girls have finished their 1st week at their new school.
Their 1st day, Tuesday, went smoothly, they talked about who they’d played with and they all said they didn’t know any of their classmates names yet, we talked about how they should remember they always had each other if ever they felt alone. They struggled to sleep, over anxious I expect.
The second day went even smoother it seemed, they told me they played together for morning break and lunch time and for the afternoon baby girl decided to play with her friends leaving middle girl and big girl to play together. Their behavior at home that day told me they were struggling. They’re tired, irritable, and emotional which is a bit of a vicious circle because they’ve then been so wired they’ve not been able to sleep resulting in the same for the following day. Middle girl and Big girl self harm when they get anxious and baby girl’s controlling behaviors around food heighten.
Thursday morning before school, after a rough nights sleep I sat them down and asked them to tell me the truth. Were they really having a lovely time or were they finding it difficult and just telling me what they thought I wanted to hear.
After lots of Um’s and err’s………….
Big girl: sometimes I don’t have anyone to play with so I just run about.
Middle girl: I wanted to have lots of friends but I only have 1 or 2 or maybe 4.
Baby girl: I miss you sometimes mummy.
I reassured them that they’d only been there 2 days, it was going to take some time to make some friends and get used to a new school. (it sounded a lot more therapeutic when i said it)
We went to school.
I called the head teacher aside after the girls had gone in and explained that they were struggling and asked if she could help them with friendships. ‘I’ve been keeping an eye on them she said, they’ve been doing fine’. After a quick chat about how they were experts at looking ‘fine’, and details about how their anxiety was effecting them at home she said she’d see what she could do.
I went home.
When I collected them at the end of day 3 they actually seemed less anxious. We talked about how their days had gone and Middle girl and big girl told me about all of these friends that had asked them to play and how much fun they’d had with them all. (gold star to the head teacher for that!!). Baby girl also seemed much happier, with her sisters occupied, she’d been free to play with her class mates all day and I guess that had given her the space from her sisters anxieties, so she’d been able to relax and have fun herself.
Day 4, it was raining! I hate rain!
But still, they had a great day again. When we arrived at school big girl was greeted by various girls from her class, some called her name and waved, some ran towards her to say hello, it was the same at home time too. Baby girl got lots of smiles from the girls in her class as we stood waiting for her sisters to come out.
They all came home with newsletters of school trips, after school clubs and important dates for the rest of the term.
I’ve been so worried all summer, I’ve doubted my decision over and over.
But now big girl will have the opportunity to learn french and will be going swimming every week, opportunities she didn’t have before and she’s already made friends quicker than she did at the last school, time will tell how these friendships will develop, but for now, she’s off to a flying start!
Middle girl is eager to join an afterschool club and whilst I know it will take her longer to make friends because of her language difficulties, I can already see that she’s beginning to settle, she’s been playing with her peers and not just running around the playground with the noisy shouty boys like she used to.
Its also early days for baby girl, and she’s always found it easier to socialise with her peers but she hasnt come out of school looked bedraggled, her hair band hasn’t been sat on, lost or broken like it was in her 1st week at her last school. She hasn’t already scuffed all her shoes, she hasn’t come home covered in pen or paint or dinner. she hasn’t come out having forgotten most of her belongings and being desperate for the toilet. She’s calmer.
I’ve noticed something too, the playground at home time, whilst all the parents are waiting for the children, is noisy, there’s chatter and laughter. There’s no huddling in to groups and whispering, there doesn’t seem to be any cliques and gatherings, it seems like a really friendly community of parents and grandparents.
I have a good feeling about it, I think were off to a flying start!