New preps from Fitzgerald State School Gemma Petith and Dundula State School Nate Batchelor. Picture: Tony Martin
New preps from Fitzgerald State School Gemma Petith and Dundula State School Nate Batchelor. Picture: Tony Martin

‘I’m not yet ready to have a child in prep’

My baby girl is off to prep today, or what Gemma calls her 'big girl school'.

She is my eldest and a day off turning five but I still battle a pang of resistance at giving her over to the primary school five days a week.

For, as a stay-at-home parent, I have been the chief custodian of her emotional and intellectual growth from the day I knew I was pregnant.

I have collected the bits and bobs like books to teach Gemma her ABCs; "A is for Apple; B is for Ball" anyone?

I have gone to playgroups so I can watch her roll around on the floor almost entirely disinterested from the other babies, telling myself she was building important social skills.

And I have often had to feign enthusiasm for banalities, as my child asked, and continues to ask, questions about anything you could and could not imagine they would ask.

I am sure readers will agree with me on this point. But even so, I take great pride in her engaged and curious little mind.

But now, it is time to entrust another adult, albeit an entirely capable and qualified teacher, to continue my daughter's educational journey for I returned to full-time work as of yesterday.

The past five years I have relished having my children by my side, waking up and doing what we please as we bid farewell to their dad as he went off to work.

And so, I am not yet ready to be hurled into the life of having a child in prep, another in kindergarten and two working parents and all the madness that goes with it.

But alas, the time is nigh.

Besides, Gemma does not seem to mind, not even a little bit.

She said to me just last week, "Next year me and Harvey (Mister 2) will be apart.

"He'll be at kindy and I'll be at prep and you'll have no one.

"You'll just go to work and have no one."

She gave a brief cheeky chuckle before adding, "Nah, you'll have friends".


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