Miss5 is about to commence her second year of school - Pre Primary - her first year of full time schooling. It goes without saying that I am beside myself at the prospect, and on countdown now that we are a mere 3 days from commencement. But not in an emotional "oh my poor baby" way - in a "hurry up and get to school because I'm sick of losing every argument" kind of way.
I am looking forward to this full time schooling for a few reasons:
1. The noise reduction. Miss5 is usually the instigator of all things noise related. Squealing, screaming, tantrums caused by snatching, smacking, slapping and all other actions beginning with "s" that invoke noise.
2. More brain functionality for me. Miss5 is like any 5 yr old who asks all the tough universal questions, like "why does Dora (the Explorer) only have 4 fingers (on each hand)?" - Firstly, how do you answer that? And either way, Miss5 tells me I'm wrong with whatever answer I do come up with. Even though she doesn't know the answer herself, she is just positive that I'm wrong. Or lying. Or both. With her at school, I'll have more blissful hours to simply think NOTHING. I am really sick of losing every single discussion/disagreement/argument with a FIVE YEAR OLD. And what's worst of all, is the fact that I continue to persevere with these discussions/disagreements/arguments - even though I do know it's futile, and there is no way you will ever win against 5yr old logic. Ever.
3. 1/3 less arguments. This is purely statistical, based on the fact that I have 3 kids, and therefore Miss5 instigates at least 1/3 of the sibling arguments. At least 1/3 - because she is older and craftier than the twins, and therefore knows exactly how to incite a riot by a well placed sneaky elbow in the side, or pushing a toy an extra inch closer to her and away from her sibling, or colour discriminating the crayons and playdoh so she has every colour and they only have black and white. With her "out of the picture" each day, I will only have the feral twosome to contend with - and it's much easier to rule with fear and intimidation (and maternal love and soothing calmness, of course) with 2yr olds who do actually still hold some belief that they have to listen to you. To some degree.
4. Most importantly of all - Less guilt. I spend so much time running around after the twins removing things from power points and electrical equipment (often their fingers or tongues), that I don't really get a lot of time to focus on Miss5. A shining example of this is how - in the previous 2 week school holiday break - she learnt how to operate the DVD player, the Cable TV control, the VCR (I know, totally old school, right?!), and knows by heart every single cartoon channel on regular TV and their schedule - and can deftly switch between each device like a seasoned pro. I often exhale after a twin-related incident, and look over to find Miss5 looking bored, quietly sitting on the lounge, or alternatively painting a piece of furniture/the wall/the blinds. I feel like the worst Mother in the world for the lack of time I have to focus directly on her with the set of 2yr old whirlwinds I have to contend with. So full time schooling means more time with friends, peers, being educated and challenged, being forced to eat the healthy lunch I pack her as opposed to helping herself to the pantry when I'm segued by the twins, and generally a happier Miss5.
On the flipside....
I have a good friend with twin boys who also commence full time schooling this year. She is one of those parents who is perfect at the whole parenting thing, and actually enjoys it 24/7. Every. Single. Day. If I'm not sure how to handle my kids, I just do what she would do. She is my parenting role model. She is quite fretful about her boys going to school full time, because she will miss them. I have very generously and selflessly offered up the twins to fill her empty nest while her boys are at school.
And to anyone else suffering in the same way my friend is - the dread, the maternal emptiness of sending your kids off to full-time schooling for the first time - I am starting up a roster for the twins. Please feel free to sign up. In the spirit of my overwhelming generosity, I am prepared to extend the roster to weekends, should the demand be so HUGE that the school days fill up quickly.
What can I say, I'm a giver.