Grade One Mum

So it seems I may be writing again, no promises! This is my ‘therapy’ I guess- a place to get out some of what I feel…

Who would have thought that this tough cookie would have such a rough time with sending Hamzah off to school…definitely not me!

In my experience, sending my first son Isa to school was vastly different to sending the second.  At the time Isa was about to start grade one, we had a lot going on. I had given birth to our daughter one week prior to school starting.  I had ensured all aspects of school readiness were done before I went off to hospital. I was excited, this was a huge step, a new milestone that was achieved, and I looked forward to the year.  I had my parents and younger sister here on his first day of school- so he was left at his classroom by an entourage.  I remember still being in pain from my caesarean section, but making sure I went to school that morning.  My sister sat holding my six day old baby girl in the car while I walked, slightly hunched over, from the car park to his class.  I stayed for a bit and took a few pictures.  I recall a lump in my throat, but there were no actual tears- why would there be?? We were about to start a new adventure!

My blog has been inspired greatly by Hamzah’s antics as a toddler- he was and still is my most independent, entertaining, spontaneous and unpredictable child.  Hamzah started playschool at two and half years old. Yeah, very early I know!  He was an alert child who I unfortunately could not keep up with in terms of need for stimulation.  He also begged us daily to go school, as he was already speaking fairly fluently at that time.  I remember leaving him at school on his first day, there were no tears from either of us. He walked straight in and onto the playground without any hesitation, and said to the children, “Hello, my name is Hamzah.”  I recall his teacher telling me that she had never seen a child settle in so easily and Hamzah grew to have  a very close bond with her as he was the ‘baby’ in his class.  On his first outing (a game drive) he curled up on her lap and fell asleep safely in her arms on the drive back to school.  I will always be grateful that he had received such love from her.  Since his very first day, Hamzah had always loved going to school.

I began to notice last year that for some reason I was finding difficult to acknowledge Hamzah’s true age – I am not entirely sure why, but over the last few days I have given it much thought. You see, I have an idea in my mind regarding the type of mother I think I am, and clingy  isn’t an attribute I would add to that mental image. So why was sending him off to grade one so different to sending Isa??  I mean my whole plan is to grow these boys to be independent, mindful individuals who confidently make meaningful contributions to their world in some form or another.  Well let’s just say I’m starting to rethink the whole ‘independent’ part of my growth plan.

Last year on Hamzah’s sixth birthday I found myself in tears being comforted by his teacher – this of course raised warning bells in my head… this was a joyous occasion, and crying on a birthday was completely foreign to me, but there I was, all ‘snot en trane’ (snots and tears) and I wondered what was going on.  Being busy and always having something or the other to attend to- I brushed the incident aside and blamed my hormones for betraying me…

A few weeks later, there was an incident at school that resulted in me being called in at pick time for a quick chat with Hamzah’s teacher- I will have to blog that incident later!

It was then relayed to me that my child had possibly gained knowledge of the ‘birds and the bees’ and that perhaps I should talk to him about it.  I sat there in complete horror! Well I was standing in horror, and then requested a chair as I needed to sit down to absorb what I was being told.

I was assured that this is completely normal and it was not a big thing, ( err WHAT??!!)  Naturally, being the mother I am, I said to his teacher that I’m sure she was mistaken, as Hamzah has no knowledge on this topic. She explained to me the incident that had occurred and I stopped for a few moments to consider it, but still disagreed with her, insisting that it did not relate directly to him having this type of information.  My reasoning being, that he was only six! And that he had only just turned six a few weeks ago, so technically he was still five, and my five year old most definitely had no knowledge of any of this.  The teacher giggled, and fortunately knows me very well, so she seemed to over look the absurdity of my explanation, placed her hand on mine, and said, “He knows.”  She then went on to say she fully understands that being conservative in this regard, (in the sense that I haven’t openly explained the reproductive system to either of my boys) makes this a little difficult for me to acknowledge.  A little?!  She hugged me and rubbed my back and sent me (still in shock) on my way…

Being full time at school for the last term of 2016 meant that I didn’t have much time to digest that Hamzah was going off to grade one.  I purchased uniforms quite robotically and did not fit them on.  Perhaps it was my fear of the feelings I would feel seeing him in his little bush uniform, in any case it was way too busy to during the holidays for me to bother about that.  We did a fitting a few days before school started and I was absolutely fine. We had had a wonderful and busy holiday leaving little or no time to talk about the fact that my baby boy was going off to big school.  I spent the last two days before school labeling both boys stationery and making sure their bags and boxes were ready.

The day before school started I had a strange feeling; I went in to school to drop off his stationery box and other required items so as to make the first day of school a little easier for all of us. And began to feel waves of emotion walking in.  I bumped into Hamzah’s Grade One teacher and as she asked if we were all ready, I mentioned that I wasn’t finding this very easy, or rather, I was finding the whole Hamzah goes to school thing surprisingly difficult!  I humorously asked if there was a possibility of keeping a child for another year in Grade R due to his mother not being ready to let him go…

That evening, as I lay out both boys school uniforms many tears were shed.  The following morning, Hamzah and Isa were full of smiles; we took pictures and got on our way.  But as I reached to take his little school bag out of the car, it all hit me once again. I shared this on my facebook page:

This morning was a surprisingly difficult one, one I didn’t expect to have. Everyone was OK until we got to the car park and that’s when it began. The sad face, teary eyes which turned to crying, the hanging on, tightly gripped hands, dragging of feet, edging reluctantly to the classroom… And then, heartbreakingly, and grinning as he did since he’s woken up, he wriggled his tiny hand out of my tight grip, peeled himself off from my hanging on, and walked in happily. I kneeled down and wiped away My tears that had been falling from the car park, I hugged him until HE let go first, he was smiling confidently, my heart sank, it was time, I continued to drag my feet as I’d done from the car, still edging, reluctantly to the classroom door, with knots in my tummy, it’s time for me to…. Let go… #mumsfirstdayofgrade1

first-day-grade-one

These were my babies- and Hamzah was my baby-baby for the longest time- and perhaps – like most mothers reading this- my heart and mind simply have not caught up with reality just yet.

Love,

~BiBi~

Ps. For quick, random updates remember to like my facebook page :  https://www.facebook.com/iusedtobefunowimamum/

The SAHM goes to work @ Southern Cross Schools

Well it has been a while since I’ve posted anything and I must say that I am extremely excited to be back! I have been exploding with thoughts and ideas that I have been wanting to post, so much so that I have even had sleepless nights- and this time I can’t blame the kids! It’s just that like a lot of people, my brain comes alive at the oddest times, and the only solution to this is to get all of it out of my head and onto my pc 🙂

The reason that I have not been posting recently is because I was fortunate enough to receive a substitute teaching post at possibly one of the most amazing schools in South Africa; Southern Cross Schools. My husband was quite firm about me getting the job, while I danced around indecisively. Somehow he could see further than me and past my insecurities, technically he ‘made’ me do it. What an Ogre- right?!

I have been teaching there for the last 4 months filling for a wonderful woman who was blessed with her first baby. I taught grade 5, 6 and 7 English and I actually coached the under 11 Netball Team (yeah I know…who would have thought? Definitely not me! And so you could say I was on a ‘journey’ as I discovered many new things about myself and had the opportunity to grow. I must add that I have a newfound respect for all mothers that work, single or not. I have learnt just how difficult it is to ‘have it all’, not impossible no, but there definitely are challenges I had never really considered. After 4 months of teaching full time, I can’t say that I’m sad to return to my ‘stay at home’ status, but having said that, I know that teaching is something I hope to be doing for a very long time.

scs post me

I’d like to tell you a little about this school though… this is no ordinary school. Southern Cross Schools is currently the ONLY nature based school in South Africa. It is situated on a Wildlife Estate in our town of Hoedspruit. It combines traditional education with environmental education, ensuring that the children develop respect and love for the Earth that they inhabit. The area that we live in is very rich in flora and fauna and this makes it the perfect environment for my children to be educated and develop an environmental conscience. Classes are small and more personal with the number of children varying from 14 to 24 per class, and just one class per grade. There are various types of animals which happily roam the school property; giraffe, warthogs, impala, nyala and many more. The children have an additional subject integrated into the curriculum called ‘Bush Lore’. It is during these lessons that they go out into the bush environment to learn more about insects, plants, pollution, erosion and anything related to nature.
The Enviro Club also go on regular outings and recently were afforded the opportunity to watch a rhino being darted, while the local ‘vet’ cared for an injury it incurred. This was quite a thrilling expedition and had the kids bubbling with excitement. Every Wednesday the children engage in some type of cultural activity. There are many options available (Chess, Photography, Bush Rangers, Drumming etc.) I was in charge of the Junior Drumming Squad and let me just say- it definitely is not as easy as the children make it look! It was a wonderful learning experience. To say that the school is unique is possibly the least effective way of describing it. If you’d like more information please visit http://www.southerncrossschool.co.za you can also view the SCS drummers in action on YouTube.

aerial view scs

scs nyala

On my very first day at SCS, we were asked to be ‘vigilant’ as a leopard had been spotted on the premises the previous day! (Yes! Quite the welcome!) Fortunately, I did not pick up my bag and make a run for it and I have to say that this was an absolutely amazing experience. I noticed that it was common to find strange animals including snakes in the staffroom. This was simply a part of their/our lives. I realised that the sooner I overcame my fears, the better I’d deal with the ‘incidents’ like children handling snakes outside the classroom. They tried to convince me it was harmless, but I took my pictures and kept my distance. The staff at SCS are more like a family than colleagues. I was welcomed and shown the ropes by so many people who have become wonderful friends. I am truly privileged to be able to have these men and women teaching my children.

scs staffroom

Scs snake

scs roll rhino

scs rhino

Before I began teaching, I wondered how the staff might react to my headscarf/hijab. I think I am more aware of it than anyone else, but once they were comfortable with me, I happily explained and answered questions regarding it. It seems that the most common misconception regarding the headscarf is that my husband has requested me to wear it (forcibly or not). I was happy to tell them that this was actually my choice, and explain the reasons why.

My darling husband (known as DH hence forth) did not take this kindly though. He was rather offended that people saw him as this ogre who ‘made’ me do things against my will. He also said that this was probably what people who didn’t know us thought of him, as he innocently walks along side me in Pick n Pay. Now, if you know, or have happened to meet my husband, you would know why I had a good chuckle about this.

This ‘ogre’ is the very same man who asks ME to watch the snake in the house and make sure it does not go anywhere, while HE gets help! This is the very same man, who see’s to dinner when I simply cannot manage and I’m being a grouch; who watches the same cartoons repeatedly because his boys want him to; who reads “What to do Blue?” (with intonation and expression I might add) at bedtime; who supported me through this entire juggling act, making sure the ball was never dropped at home or at school (even when I forgot to arrange for my boys to be fetched from school). I am very fortunate to have someone that does not hold me back, and gently nudges me on throughout my self-doubt, even though I know there are times when I think he’d like to nudge me down the stairs.

Ogre… not so much 😉

~BiBi~