My eldest son starts ‘Big School’ for the first time this week. I am taking this in my stride. Yet I look around me (both physically and in the blogosphere) and wonder what’s going on in the lives of others. I read about tears shed at preschool graduations and a sense of loss that cuts so deep with the advent of ‘real’ school days that tears are literally splashing into chai lattes as I write. I, on the other hand, laugh in the face of enforced separation. My four (going on five) year old is not my best friend. We have not spent many happy hours crafting fairy castles out of cardboard boxes or reading adorable picture books about mischievous bunnies (goodbye Thomas, I hope you get locked up in Tidmouth Sheds never to be seen again!); we have not spent many happy hours baking misshapen cupcakes; I have not sipped a hot coffee whilst watching him happily colouring cute stick figure scenes.
When JJ first started to notice that there was a world outside his cot I was quick to flick through all the ‘baby safety’ catalogues and source the tallest, most secure stair gate I could find to put across his bedroom door. Of course this is mainly for his own protection as his doorway drops down a step and faces out over a steep staircase which itself cannot be gated due to the non-symmetrical pattern of the banisters.. But no-one’s complaining that we have also benefited from the peace and quiet afforded by our child’s inability to run into the living room at 9.30pm demanding a banana. Or refuse to go to bed and stay there. Or re-appear 200 times to have a good old whinge about CBeebies axing Topsy and Tim.