Your child has just started reception. She is having a great time. She is making new friends and becoming more independent.
And, as the year progresses, there are some things that will DEFINITELY happen…to YOU.
1. Phonics. Your child will come home speaking a different language of phonemes and graphemes and digraphs and tricky words. It’s not as terrifying as it sounds I promise. ‘Phonics’ basically teaches your child to sound out the alphabet and you will attempt to help them at home by trying to remember what sound an I makes and answering questions like “should I use the split digraph A Mummy?”
2. You will be introduced to the Oxford Reading Tree or, more specifically, the inane adventures of Biff, Chip, Kipper, sometimes Floppy the dog and sometimes a few of their mates like Wilf, Wilma and Aneena. Mum and Dad play a token role, as does their teacher Mrs May. They go on adventures to completely random places like the Victorian era or Roman Britain or, one of my personal favourites, The Willow Pattern Adventure where they go into the traditional story of a blue willow pattern plate in ancient China. Which obviously the kids can totally relate to. Don’t be fooled into thinking these books will compliment the seemingly foreign language of phonics either – words in some of the early books include such decodable gems as ‘spaceman’ and ‘television’ whilst your child has still only learnt sounds that allow them to read sat, pat and mat.
Also, Biff, Chip and Kipper are really bloody annoying.
3. Pictures of your child in school uniform. Back to school week or National pictures-of-kids-in-school-uniform-standing-in-front-of-the-house/fireplace Week is a rite of passage, especially if your child is just starting school. You WILL take a photo of them in their uniform because you; can’t believe they are going to school; are really proud; think they look cute; all of the above. Even if you resist the temptation to Instagram the shiz out of it or upload it to Facebook where National pictures-of-kids-in-school-uniform-standing-in-front-of-the-house/fireplace Week really comes into its own, you WILL take photos. You WILL send it to grandparents, aunties, uncles, your best friend, the next door neighbours dog, anyone who slightly enquiries how s/he’s getting on. You WILL sit in the car in the car park at work that week looking at the picture and sobbing*
*this may just be me
4. Your womb will ache a bit when you watch the Nativity (if you’re a man then your womb probably won’t ache – if it does, see a doctor). You will video and photograph your little one singing Away in a Manger dressed in grey chinos and plastic fairy wings and you will watch it back, all misty-eyed and wonder if you can convince your other half to have another child. If I’m any kind of benchmark, you will probably still be watching that video back in August, though a few epic toddler tantrums over such disasters as ‘there are bubbles in my smoothie’ and ‘I can’t find my feet’ may have reminded you that two children is your limit.
5. Comedy spellings. Linked closely to phonics. Early spelling is a special kind of entertainment. A friend of mine who is also an outstandingly good teacher, very much enjoyed a phonics lesson a few years back where a child wrote ‘the penis in the bag’ instead of ‘the pen is in the bag’. The child’s parents enjoyed the photocopy of that one. Other classics include shopping lists of ‘caruts and pis’, ‘feck you’ instead of ‘thank you’ and the ultimate spelling mishap of a child trying to spell couldn’t but missing out the o, l and d.
6. A trillion million seemingly never-ending stream of children’s parties. Some you’ll not mind sitting in. Some will make you want to chop your own arm off just so you have an excuse to leave. And musical statues and pass the parcel and not good enough these days. Oh no. Last year we attended three soft play parties, one go-kart party, one magic party, one bowling party, two gymnastics parties, one pirate party, one superheroes and princesses party, one dance party, one party with hundreds of inflatables and one where Moana rocked up. I may have even missed a few off that list. It’s basically a lot.
7. You will spend hundreds of pounds on shoes. It’s not enough that you have to get a ticket and wait like you’re at a deli in a very busy throng of A LOT of other people’s children at Clarks, but to pop some icing on the cake, they like to help you spend your entire child benefit on a pair of shoes which will fit for approximately two months before you have to re-mortgage to buy another pair.
8. Ditto uniform which comes home looking like your child joined the SAS for a day. Like why is there mud on the collar of his t-shirt and why are there tomatoes on his shoes?
9. You will say things repeatedly like “I can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas/Easter/the Summer holidays!” “This term/year has gone so fast!” “I can’t believe how much he’s changed and grown.” You’ll basically live in a permanent state of surprise.
But actually it’s true! Enjoy the nativity and the comedy spellings and helping them with their phonics (but not the shoes cos that bit sucks) because it really does go soooooo fast.
Even though it doesn’t feel like it when you’re halfway through yet another Biff, Chip and Kipper book.