From what I can gather, when your youngest child is starting school, you’re supposed to feel a bit emotional. Is that right?
The whole empty nest thing and all that.
So I’m guessing when your youngest child is also a twin, and starting school, that means you’re supposed to feel doubly emotional?
Because we ALL know (and have said to us on a weekly if not daily basis all the ‘double’ bollocks. Double trouble, double the love, blah blah blah. Bit like all the annoying things people say to women expecting twins too)
My twins have just started school, and as much as I was counting down the days before they went (isn’t the summer holiday LONG?), deep down, I was a little bit worried I’d feel sad when it actually happened.
But clearly I have no heart. As that is not what happened at all.
Not even on the first day. There is obviously something wrong with me, yes?
My boys fight over anything and everything
For those who don’t know me, I have three boys. The eldest is six, and then four year old twins.
They fight. A lot. In fact during the (LONG) summer holiday, they fought pretty much 75 percent of the time. And it is exhausting. Like, REALLY BLOODY exhausting.
They fight over anything and everything. To the point where I’m actually thinking of writing a blogpost about all the ridiculous and pointless things they end up in a scrap over.
It’s usually Twin One and the six year old ganging up on poor Twin Two. Which is not nice to watch. Although it does mean I feel sorry for him, and he is now totally my favourite. Because we’re allowed favourites, so long as we don’t admit to it, right?
Anyway, I digress. So after seven weeks of holidays with no pre-school or nursery. No regular days at their awesome grandparents‘ as Grandad was waiting for a heart op which kept getting cancelled. No two weeks abroad sunning myself whilst I shoved the boys in a kids’ club. Nope, just seven weeks at home with a 5 day camping trip thrown in at the end. I was kind of at the end of my tether.
It also meant that I was absolutely ready for the twins to start school. More than ready in fact. I had none of this ‘my last child is starting school and I’m distraught’ malarkey. More like I was bloody cock-a-hoop.
I was happy that my youngest child(ren) were starting school
The other reason I was ready was a more selfish one. But I’m standing by it anyway.
I have been at home with my children since my eldest was born more than six years ago. As many of you know, I took voluntary redundancy from my newspaper journalist job at the end of my maternity to be a stay at home mum.
Then slightly problematically, twins came along. I think I *may have mentioned over the years that this was certainly not the plan. And paying for three children in childcare at the same time was never going to happen. Unless I robbed a bank (thought better of that) or won the lottery (still waiting on that one). So I stayed home a bit more.
Some people will say I’m in a privileged position to be able to do that, and I agree. I am. Most days I felt lucky to be ABLE to be a stay at home mum to my three boys. I could take them to baby groups, to National Trust days out, to parks with friends, to local farms. I could do all of that, and I did.
But on other days I would have done literally ANYTHING to have been able to drop them off at a nursery and head into a workplace where I could dress nicely without snot or dribble on me. Where I could have a proper adult conversation without having to swear under my breath (although nobody swears under their breath in a newspaper newsroom – being a journalist taught me everything I know in that department). And yes, where I could have a hot cup of coffee without it being microwaved three times or in a travel mug. Oh and a wee on my own!
It’s all very stereotypical stuff isn’t it? And that’s not particularly my thing, but actually it’s all pretty true. There’s no right or wrong situation to be in when it comes to staying at home or going out to work. But for at least a proportion of that time the grass is definitely always greener on the other side. Or is that just me?
My boys were ready to start school
The other thing is that THEY were ready. Especially after all the lockdowns and being at home. I knew it was going to do them good to be back in a setting where they could socialise and learn with other children. They loved their two days at pre-school and it did them good to be away from me, like it did their brother two years ago.
And during all that ‘stay at home mumming’ time, I set up my own lovely space on the internet which luckily has grown into something that makes an income. Still waiting on the lottery win, though. It’s even bagged me three national awards – I think I may have mentioned those once or twice too.
So now it is time for me to focus on that more to make it into a ‘proper’ business. Many people have suggested I will now be putting my feet up as a lady of leisure. Which I suppose I can if I want and not earn any money. But I’m enjoying being able to work during the day and not have to be on my laptop until 1am like I was regularly during the holidays to meet deadlines on paid stuff. I might actually get more than 5 hours’ sleep! Although, as we all know those 6 hours of school basically feel like an hour and a half before you have to pick them up again, don’t they?
You may or may not know that we decided to separate the twins into different classes as they were starting school.
And okay, it’s only been four weeks so far, but it’s going well. Especially if you ignore the bit where Twin Two threw up all over the classroom, was sent home, and not allowed back for the rest of the week.
If I was nervous about anything beforehand, it was the fact the twins were going to be in different classes. And how they’d react to and cope with that.
I was particularly anxious about sending them in through different classroom doors, especially if one got upset and set the other one off. But luckily that hasn’t happened. I mean, Twin Two HAS been upset once but Twin One didn’t seem to give a shit about that, and happily wandered in without a backward look at his poor, wailing brother. Harsh.
Part of the decision making process about deciding whether to separate twins at school or not for us was that the two classes spend a lot of time mixing. So the boys could go and find each other and play together for about 80 percent of the day. If they wanted to.
The twins don’t seem bothered about being separated starting school
Turns out they don’t want to! From what I can gather they hardly play with each other at all. I mean, this is obviously all coming from that little bit of blood from a stone info I get after school. But when they tell me who they’ve played with that day (because this is the ONLY thing I ever seem to ask them), they reel off other names and not each other’s.
Or Twin Two tells me he’s played with nobody – which is a whole different ball game for us parents, isn’t it? I mean THAT pulls on the strings of even the hardest of hearts like mine. I’m hoping it’s a load of crap and he’s just making that one up. You know, him being my (current) favourite and all…
Has separating the twins in school made them like each other more at home? This is what I was tentatively hoping would happen before they started. That they’d miss each other so much during the day they’d be running into each other’s arms the second they were let out. And play nicely and affectionately together at home, with kind words and kind hands and blah blah blah. So has it? Has it?
HAS. IT. FUCK.
They still fight like cat and dog, exactly as they did before.
All it’s meant is that I have to queue up for double the amount of time at the start and end of the day, and deal with two different teachers.
I mean obviously we’re still completely happy we made the right decision, and I’m sure as time goes on, all those other reasons for choosing to separate them into different classes will play out. The fact they’re not playing together is brilliant as far as I’m concerned. We wanted them to be independent as they grew, and that’s already happening. So I’m already over the moon.
Having three boys at school can be hectic
It’s quite full on having three kids at school though, as lots of you will know. There’s already not enough time in the day to get the reading, spelling, and maths practice done with the six year old, and they’ve not even set the actual ‘homework’ yet. Then the twins have been given books for us to read, and writing practice to do too with some of the new letters they’re learning. It came with a big “THIS IS NOT HOMEWORK’ note on it and we don’t HAVE to do it. But obviously I don’t want to be the only mum who happily ignores this, so I’m feeling the pressure. And if I don’t do it, I’ll feel all the mum guilt instead.
I can’t find a time in those few hours after school where they’ll leave each other alone long enough for me to do the work with them. They have to be practically sitting on each other’s heads, or kicking each other in the goolies whilst they try to draw the letter ‘p’. Such fun!
No doubt I will find my groove. Hopefully before they all hit bottom of the class. Or fail their GCSEs.
And in the meantime maybe I’ll just put my feet up and become a lady of leisure for 6 hours a day….
Is your youngest child starting school?
How did I do?
Did you enjoy this post? If your child has just started school you’ll find this one funny – 10 Things I’ve Learnt In The First Term As A School Mum, or if they’re not just yet why don’t you have a read of what’s to come with Getting Your Four Year Old Ready To Start School. Or How To Do The School Run With Babies In Tow – Without Needing A Lie Down.
If you want to have a giggle at more of my parent ramblings, and tongue-in-cheek (possibly a bit sweary) posts, head to the Mum Life section. And if you need some travel and days out inspiration check out my Travel Section.
If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.
And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here or at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you.