Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Growing wings

On Monday, it was the last meeting this term of our German playgroup and six of the children are off to pastures new and will be starting school in August. Cubling was one of them, and the eldest at that. For a few weeks now, she had lost a bit of interest in going to the Kinderclub, she was getting bored, so it was really the right timing.

The mums of the 4-5 year olds had met one evening to make the must have for any German school starter, a Schultüte. This is a cone shaped container, nicely decorated, which bears sweets and items for school, and which children take along on their first day at school. I have no idea where this comes from, but it is such a quintessential starting school thing that it has a lot of meaning to me, and I would assume, most German mums. More meaning than the British equivalent, the graduation ceremony (which we had at the forest kindergarten and also at the pre-school). Cubling has known for a while now, at least a year, that as a German\Scottish child she would get a Schultüte, and the prospect has had a definite effect on her wanting to be German (whereas before she was just English or Scottish).

She didn't know though that she would get it early, namely at the last day of Kinderclub because I can't really send her to school with the Schultüte, that would totally single her out, possibly in a negative way or in a way that would make her too aware of being different rather than special.

We had been busy making it, decorating it, and finally filling it. I had gone through hoops trying to buy the contents without her noticing it. And finally, the big moment was there. The look in her eyes as she realised what was about to happen was priceless. Utter excitement, delight and pride all in one. She wouldn't let go of the Schultüte. And when I explained that she'd have to wait until daddy was home to open it, she sat on the stairs watching the clock for 3 hours, keeping herself busy with this and that, so that she wouldn't miss the time that daddy comes home, which she knows is 7pm.

With daddy eventually home, she proceeded to unpack her bag, and suddenly I saw a pre-schooler turn into a school girl. There was something so grown up in how she had waited without a moan, how she unpacked the bag and went through every item in good time, how she shared the chocolate equally with us, and how she made plans of how to use each item that made me rather emotional. Pens, have been used, as have all kinds of rulers, and she is now doing "work" and copying words, and even writing them from memory.

For a moment I could see her wings. It won't be long now until she takes off into the world and will move further and further away from us. I can only hope that we've given her enough grounding to support her on her flight, and that she'll be able to find her way back here to refuel whenever she needs to.

So this is it, a few weeks of summer and then she'll be at school 5 days a week. What a horrible and wonderful thought. She needs a new challenge, and yet I already mourn that she'll spend more time with her friends and teacher than with me. She of course takes it all in her stride. "what will you miss most when you go to school?" "Playing with my old friends" "What are you looking forward to at school?" "Playing with my new friends".

Oh man, how she has grown up.


Baby Hampers said...

ah bless. Our boy started school here in the Uk last Sept. he still misses his nursery friends and has a little cry every now and then. he says he is doing 'work' now. So grown up! Would have loved to have seen the Schultüte.

Anonymous said...

I remember those transition days well. Very bitter-sweet. My oldest is going into year 4 and i just cannot believe it. What an adorable custom! I had never heard of that before!



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