Last night Lulu sat in her bed weeping, begging me not to send her to school in the morning because she hated everything about it, and more specifically because she was lonely at school. Lonely? How could my gorgeous, kind, vivacious baby even know the existence of such a word let alone have a concept of what it means? and so there, sat on her bed holding her hand and wiping away her tears my heart fell out of my chest and shattered all over the floor. Which is where it remains.
I have written previously about Lulu’s difficulties settling into school, but I genuinely felt that things had improved. She doesn’t dawdle in the morning and scoots happily off to her class room, other children say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to her each day, when I drop her at her class room she goes off with out a backward glance to do her drawings at the communal table. She has never been sent home from school, apart from the time she had laryngitis. On Sunday night she indicated she didn’t want to go to school the next day because she had no friends and no one who she asks will play with her, that the only people she speaks to are teachers, that people play rough in the playground and she sometimes gets pushed. I have already spoken twice with her class teacher about my concerns but she assured me that Lu does have friends, does play with others and is never sad at school. I believe her so what to do?
I like Lulus school, it is academically good, the staff are nice, the parents and children are nice, the headmistress is lovely, the ethos is brilliant but not all children will fit into all schools and visa versa, neither of these things are necessarily anyones fault. Square peg, round hole. And this is the conclusion I am coming to regarding Lulu. There are 60 children in her reception class, split into four groups but at anyone time, including the children from nursery who come into play, there can be 80 plus small children in one room doing any number of activities that they choose, drawing, writing, craft, art etc. It is a vibrant place to be but I can see that it can also be potentially overwhelming. Lulu’s concept of having’friends’ may be different to the actual reality of it but she started full time nursery at 10 months and didn’t seem to have these issues. She isn’t a ‘I have one best friend’ type of child, she plays with lots of different children but is finding it hard when she asks someone to play and they say no. She doesn’t seem to grasp that it isn’t because they don’t like her but they that want to do something else.
I hung out in Lulus classroom this morning for an hour or so, just watching what was going on, parents are allowed to stay as long as they want, it isn’t sormething I have done before as I don’t think it is helpful for Lulu as it could prove to be a distraction but I needed to see what was going on. It was as I expected, a classroom of happy, loud, busy children. Playing in one area then moving on to other things as they wished, Lulu did the same.
The only conclusion I have come to is that the school may just ‘too much’ for her, that she may fit better in a smaller class, a smaller school but its not as if we can magic these things out of nowhere. I am a single parent with no family, save my mum, I can’t afford school fees for a private school, I could consider one of the small local village schools but how do I get her there and home. I work full time in London and my mum can’t drive. So what to do? I’ve decided to sit with it a while, and see how the next few months go, but I worry that she will feel I have ignored her fears, that I don’t care when she says she is unhappy, that I increase her sense of loneliness. I just want Lulu to be happy, that’s all, she is only four. That’s not too much to hope for is it?