After having moved into our new house and getting the boys settled, the next step was school. Getting a school place for Jake had not been straight forward. I also felt that the fact of him going to school had seemed very abstract, although we had very much linked our move to Sheffield with him starting at ‘big school’ and this, for him, was part of the excitement of our moving.
One thing that I was expecting was that I’d get emotional when I first saw him in his school uniform. I wasn’t wrong. He looked so proud and grown up wearing it; and he was very excited. It was also good that his grandparents were there too as we were able to mark the event in a more traditional German way, which involves giving him a package (in the shape of a cone) full of sweets and things that might be useful to him at school (not to be left out Sam got one too for starting his new nursery). I like this tradition because it says that going to school is an important stage in life, and I think it also shows that we place a value on learning.
When we got to school Jake seemed very confident and not phased at all by his surroundings (he has been there once the week before for an hour) and seemed to settle relatively quickly. We were very relieved that he seemed ok, especially as some children seemed quite upset about being there, and had no worries about leaving him there. We felt that we had prepared the ground for him well, but most of all it was Jake who had shown such confidence in going there, and when we picked him up he was very keen to go again the next day. Jake has now been at school for three weeks and he is loving it. He has noticeably grown in confidence and seems to be considerably older than he was just a few weeks ago. He seems more motivated to go that he ever was with nursery.
The same is the case with Sam who has also had to go through this big change. But for him it was much more unexpected because, since he’s only 2, we weren’t really able to prepare him for the changes that were coming. He didn’t know that he’d be staying with his grandparents while we flew back, didn’t know that we were moving house, and didn’t know that he’d be going to a new nursery: a nursery that his brother wouldn’t be attending like before. I think it’s fair to say that Sam has been a little bit more insecure than before, needing reassurance that Karen and/ or I are in the house, but he has generally coped very well and, like Jake, now seems to be well settled in his new environment and growing in confidence.
I have been amazed by the resilience of Jake and Sam. Despite going through a series of very big changes, none of which were really under their control, they have found the resources not only to cope but to thrive. I would like to think that this was partly down to the fact the Karen and I provide them with certain constants in their lives but whatever it is they seem to flourish in their new surroundings and I really have a sense of us settling down to our new life as a family, ready to embrace that next round of changes that come our way, whatever they may be.