It wasn't until last night that I actually understood that Angharad, from today, would spend more of her waking hours, Monday to Friday, in school than with us at home. As children grow, and from a very early age, children are much more influenced by their peer group than their parents. (That's not an assertion but an established fact of education and psychology.) I guess today is the first day in that process of Angharad's gradual distancing from parents, identifying with her peers, and becoming a self-actualising little madam in her own right. In which case I gotta get me some lines that go beyond "because I say so"!
Letting go, pah! Necessary yes. But missed her like mad this afternoon!
Still, far from Angharad sleeping when she came out of school at 1525 she was delighted to see us and full of words and excitement. She'd had a lovely day and the three staff in her class all smiled at us and said she took to it like a duck to water and "had a whale of a time". We met the other little girl in her class and two of the boys, which I think accounts for one shy of half the class. The kids in the Special Resource Base (as the class is formally entitled) all have a Statement detailing a special need of some sort and range in age from 4 to 7. The class follows the normal Foundation stage and subsequent levels but the kids are brought along at their own pace. With three staff to no more than 10 kids this is something that can be done easily enough. The children can thus work ahead or behind their real-life age level as their development proceeds. The kids can and do move between this class and the mainstream Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 classes. The facilities and 'kit' in the class are also very well provided for.
When we got to school this morning, unlike for the Nursery kids, we had to enter the big playground, which was full of kids up to age 11 (because the play area is shared between the Infants and Junior schools. the old Edwardian buildings surround a playground, which is rectangular and bounded on three sides by the schools' buildings and on the fourth by a high wall to the road. All-in-all it is secure and not unattractive in a red-bricked kind of way. But there were lots of children milling about and Ace stood with her mouth open in awe. Not fear, just awe. We had to remind her to shut her mouth!
We'd had a phone call from the Head-teacher at lunchtime telling us that Angharad had been sick but was now fine and that school policy dictated that she stay home for 48 hours. We reminded her that in our letter this morning to the school we'd written: "Reflux. Angharad is on anti-reflux drugs, which are administered at home. When reflux affects her it is usually after, or sometimes during, a meal and she will vomit up what she has most recently eaten. No single food or food-group seems more likely than any other to set her off (though she heartily dislikes fish). Two years ago this was a daily occurrence. Now it is limited to a couple of times a fortnight. Once the vomit is over she is fine. We would not anticipate your calling us at home on these occasions, should they arise, and you have our complete authority to act as her needs dictate. We shall include in her bag each day a change of clothes." The Head had not seen the letter yet, as it was still with the class teacher. More to the point the catering staff supporting the kids were unaware of it. As Nikki explained - 'if we take Angharad home every time her reflux kicks in she wont get any schooling!'. It's not something that she can avoid or control. Her medication can only ease the effects of the reflux, reducing the consequences of acid bile on her. But it is done and dusted very quickly; sickness followed by change of clothes and even carrying on eating. It's simply a shame that she happens to have started school coinciding with a sporadic reflux relapse. Anyways, once this was all-chatted-through the Head was fine and dandy.
When we collected Ace she was bubbly and stayed that way through teatime (including another reflux-vom) and sitting-down-on-dad's-lap-time until about 1740, when she crashed. In bed sleeping by 1825! It was lovely to see her have such a good day. We've done something right and that feels damn good.