The beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Youngest has just had his last day at nursery. His last day. Last. No more driving him to nursery before heading off to work, no more racing back there to pick him up and find out what toys he’s been playing with. No more chasing him back to the car – he’s FAST!

Come September he starts in Reception and we’ll be walking down to school in a pack, me, him and his brothers. Come September he’ll have his first day at school – and that’ll be the last first day at school! No more younger siblings to follow in his footsteps.

Now, as Status Quo asked, is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

As youngest, he’s in a privileged position – there’s pretty much nothing he can do that one of his brothers or his sister hasn’t done before. They’re going to make the mistakes so that he can (hopefully) learn from them and avoid them. Granted, there are some mistakes you’ve got to make for yourself – that hangover, just how bad can it be? for one – but the majority of pitfalls will be covered. But that’s assuming he pays any attention to what they’ve done before him.

For me, though, it’s a time of mixed blessings. Until Thing5 there has always been a younger one further down the line to focus on, to spend more time with when one of them went up to school. Don’t have that any more. I find I’m missing the strangest of things – things like the permanent state of borderline insanity brought on by baby-induced sleep deprivation.

The time has come to grow up with them all. Things will still move at the speed of the youngest, but that youngest is growing up. Pretty soon I won’t have a clue what’s replaced the Octonauts, what the latest Julia Donaldson book is. I’ve enjoyed having an extended childhood, revisiting some of the best bits of mine, but now it’s time to explore new frontiers.

Thing2 starts senior school in September. This isn’t a first for the family, his sister begins her GCSE studies at the same time. She’s the one trail-blazing for them all. She gets to do everything first (when she’s not being a stroppy teenager, that is). Those are new beginnings. Thing2 will never go to junior school again, unless it’s on a visit. Weird how I don’t remember noticing details like that when it was happening to me.

I’m the eldest of my lot, my wife’s the eldest of hers. We’ve precious little experience between of us doing things second.  Not a lot of advice to give!  Still, as a parent, things slip on 2nd and subsequent children.  First child, everything’s got to be perfect. Everything has to be sterilized, protected, moved out of harm’s way. Second child’s lucky if you blow the dust off the bottle! (I’m joking, mostly!).  You also get more relaxed – escorting the first child everywhere, kicking the rest off to the park once they reach the same age.

Anyway, we’ve got a list of “Things you might like to do over the summer” from Thing2’s school. I could kiss their IT teacher! “You might like your child to create a web page, or learn some Python…” So. One Raspberry Pi, one CamJam Edu Kit, much fun to be had!

I’ll leave you with some music…

Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?  Bit of A, bit of B, I think…  You?

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