Thursday, 6 October 2011

new era

I left off with the last post about the time we started to look for a new house, a move which has taken until now, almost two years, to fully accomplish.

Today a letter arrived which finally made legal the work we did on the house when we moved in over a year ago. The letter caused the Engineer to hurrah with relief on the phone.

My hurrah happened earlier today when I dropped Mr Snooks off at the preschool where he started four weeks ago and for the first time I did not have to cajole, con or coerce him into going through the door without me.

It has been a long hard road but I think - dare I say this? - we may have turned a corner.

For the Engineer and I it has been a hassle, a bit stressful, rather tiring, a lot of boring letters and some inconvenience when the builders were here.

But for Snooks, his world has changed overnight, twice.

First came the house move, which he appeared to take in his (two year old) stride until about the time the removal vans left.

Then began the daily and more importantly nightly discussions about the whereabouts of our old home, the neighbours whom Snooks had come to know, the Wedgewood blue walls in his old bedroom and even, god help us, the Green Man.

Not his new big boy bed, nor the lovely bright bedroom with the wide open sky view, nor the garden with space to scoot and play football…not even the novelty stable door in the kitchen were a match for our old cramped place.

By night he was visited by a new terror - the Racing Man – and by day he missed his old friend who no longer lived walking distance away. A few times he reproachfully announced that he was going back to live in his old house.

As the money flooded out, the rain poured in where two Polish builders worked flat out to replace the dingy bathroom and build a dining room with a vista of the 100ft garden for which we had bought the property.

But Snooks was not convinced. The snowman we made together in the garden terrified him peering under my Dad’s hat through the new patio doors from the darkness outside.

Even real fireplace access for Father Christmas, which ticked all my boxes for the M&S style festive family scene, was just another source of angst and had to be barricaded up with a giant Mickey Mouse for safety.

By his third birthday in March, as the bulbs a friend had bought as a house-warming present started to shoot, and his big sister had come to stay in the Racing Man’s room, Snooks started to see some potential in the place and requested his party be held there.

And by summer when the garden filled with roses, scarlet geraniums and lavender; when he was allowed to ‘lawn the lawn’ with Daddy and paint the fence with water; when he could sit at breakfast and observe the squirrels, cats, birds, frog, heron and fox who all visit our garden he announced he liked it here.

And then school started.

When he was born, I said I would stay at home with him for as long as was needed. I wanted him to spend his early years with his mother. I could see no point in buying a fabulous Ferrari and paying someone else to drive it, apart from any benefit he might accrue from the deal.

I did not attend nursery. Nor did anyone I know. My oldest brother did not start school full time until he was six – not because Lancashire in the 1960s was ahead of its time and had adopted the Scandinavian compulsory school age of seven, but because my mother said he was not ready.

When Snooks was six months old, I secured a place for him at a local private nursery as an insurance policy in case I became so unhinged by motherhood (which a friend had described to me as ‘solitary confinement with hard labour’) that I was no longer the best person to care for him. But that day never arrived.

So here we are. At three-and-a-half, he is expected by society to know his please and thank yous, to leave the table only with permission, to wipe his own nose and bum, to tidy up after himself, to play with his peers but not touch them uninvited and to eat, sleep and talk when told to.

And to leave his mum’s arms for the limited attention of three unknown adults and the company of 25 little strangers also wanting that attention, without a fight.

It could make you weep, couldn’t it? And believe me, it has.

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