I remember the day: April 8th 2008. It was the day I'd been dreading as it was the day my maternity leave finished and I had to go back to work after having my daughter. I remembered looking round the nursery just before Christmas in 2007 and seeing the big sign welcoming children aged between 3 months and 5 years. At that point, 5 years old seemed like a lifetime away. Five year olds are proper human beings, my little girl was still a bundle who I wrapped up in my arms.
Now however, I've been thinking about all those precious moments that I've acknowledged but still feel as though I've let pass me by. I've seen a lot of my friends pack their children off to school for the first time this week, and I've seen so many new faces in my own job as the new Year 7s have arrived (incidentally, when did 11 year olds get so confident?! It appears that the days of having timid young faces looking at you for a few weeks as they enter the world of big school are long gone!) that I've gone all nostalgic. Suddenly I'm trying to stop time as September 2011, when my eldest child starts school suddenly seems so close, and while I love seeing her grow in confidence every day and certainly don't want to wrap her up in cotton wool, I also want the present to go on forever!
I know I've got a lot of decisions to make about schools and despite working in the education system the whole thing seems so daunting. How do you decide where to send your child? The right decision can set them up for life. We are only in catchment for one school but we already know that it is 60% subscribed for next year from siblings, and several people we know who live nearer the school haven't got in. Do you go for a church school even though we don't go to church? Do we opt for the one with the best Ofsted report but the worst reputation? Is a supporting environment at home enough once your child starts school?
I know in a couple of months when it really matters, my professional head will kick in and help but it's such an important step and one that your heart really has to help with too. I'm going to be a blubbering wreck on the school gates on her first day I'm sure, despite the fact that I still haven't forgiven my own mother for being one on my first day 26 years ago!