Triplets go to school
Is it just me or have the past five years of my life just flashed by and all of a sudden D day, or should I say S day is upon us. That eternity of sleepless nights, feeding three tiny screaming babies, the ‘it’s a knock out’ style trips to the shops with a triple buggy trying to avoid obstacles such as gaping grannies and those desperate to find out every last detail about how my triplets came into the world, how I fed and looked after them, and whether I was planning more! Those days passed, gone!
Now here I am, looking agog at my three little girls wondering how this time has elapsed without my knowledge and how am I going to cope as a ‘childless’ parent while they spend the best part of the day in primary education. Yes you have guessed it, my girls are starting school.
Images of dirty, cheeky children being rude to the elderly and writing graffiti on bus shelters come flashing to the fore. Friends with children of staggered ages whom also happen to have a child starting school are envious of my potential freedom. But I’m beginning to realise the emotional stirrings from the severance of apron strings is experienced in treble fold where higher multiples are concerned.
Spookily, the girls have been very quiet over the summer regarding the big day. Despite being asked almost every day by family, friends, neighbours, local shop keepers etc all whom share my amazement that this day is rapidly approaching. Even when asked, the girls refuse to garner any excitement and give no signal as to how they feel about this big change in their lives. I know the pre-school nursery has fully prepared them by introducing the teacher, visits to the school, and setting up a buddy system with an older child in the school. I’m not sure how to take this cool approach from them, and try not to read too much into it as friends rave about how their children the love school.
The night before the big day, I spend a bit of time planning how our new routine will take form. Getting the uniforms all within easy reach of the girls for self dressing, packing up shiny new schoolbags, making sure the camera is charged and ready for use, and pocket pack of tissues available for personal use in my bag. As the girls are getting ready for bed Gracie suddenly becomes very upset, sobbing hysterically. I feel as though my heart has broken in two as she explains she does not want to go to school. She does not want to grow up and be a big girl, and would rather stay at nursery. Even when her sisters, Keira and Erin comfort her and say how much they are looking forward to school, we have difficulty getting her to settle down to sleep.
Gracie’s reaction was a big shock to me as she has always been confident, sociable, fiercely independent, and the first to rise to a challenge. As I yet again agonise whether the girls are ready for school, bearing in mind they will be amongst the youngest in the year and their prematurity of 9 weeks. We console ourselves that we made the decision to keep the girls together in the same class.
The morning of the big day does not start off any better. Gracie wakes up and immediately kicks off from where she left the night before. As I’m wondering how we will manage to get her into the school uniform and drag her kicking and screaming into the classroom. Keira and Erin are beginning to demonstrate great levels of excitement which even make me giddy.
The girls look beautiful in their school uniforms and I can’t help feeling an immense pride when I look at them. My babies have grown up and it is a great, positive step. I feel a sense of achievement that we have reached yet another milestone.
We decide to walk to the school as this is the pattern I want to set from the start. Gracie has been voicing objections all the way along the walk and my stomach is in knots with apprehension of how things will play out. As we approach the playground the girls see some of the other children they were in nursery with. Gracie instantly initiates a game with her sisters and the other children, and then turns to me grinning ‘I didn’t know all my friends would be starting school. I want to go to school now.’ I feel such an immense sense of relief wash over me I no longer need to worry about being the devastated mother sobbing in the playground. As the children line up and walk into their classroom I’m bursting with pride my three girls are beginning a new chapter in their lives.
As for ‘all this time on my hands’ believe it or not I’m kept so busy and it goes in so fast, I’m beginning to wonder how on earth I ever had the time to bring up three children!