Like many mothers and fathers everywhere, I will shortly be saying goodbye to my babies, sorry, children as I drop them off for their first day at Montessori. With dread, I have been counting down the years, months and now weeks until they will leave my care to attend the local pre-school. I honestly can’t understand why I am finding this particular milestone so irritatingly difficult. In their short lives of 3 and half years, my twin boy and girl have achieved many milestones, big and small (admittedly this is one of the biggies). And I can remember so many occasions where I fantasized about a break from the little darlings, for someone else to take the reins, change nappies, or buy groceries so that I could enjoy a hot cup of tea as opposed to stone cold, or make a casual visit to the hairdressers rather than a military style operation planned weeks in advance.
Sometimes it’s hard to find a moment’s peace. A simple trip to the bathroom involves a small audience with numerous questions and observations ‘mummies have boobs, daddies don’t have boobs’. Even now, I am deflecting a small artist covered in gloopy glue and sparkles (glitter to you and me) away from my laptop here on the kitchen table. And then there are times when it’s just plain stressful, like the day we were about to leave for a developmental health check and Dylan got his leg stuck in the septic tank. Or earlier today I looked up to see them both perched on my car roof. ‘We’re just having a bit of fun’ explained Eva nonchalantly. And as I tried to coerce them down, my neighbour drove by and waved at us looking slightly perplexed at the sight of us.
Soon I will have the freedom and head space I have craved, at least until 12.15 in the afternoon, yet secretly and confusingly I don’t think I want it anymore! Perhaps it’s because I have twins and I’m experiencing these emotions in full double-whammy effect. Or maybe it’s because I gave up work amongst other freedoms to devote myself entirely to them. Is it the feeling that no one other than me understands their tantrums or their special twin dynamic, or simply that this confirms they are definitely and absolutely not babies anymore? Most of all I fear feeling redundant, which could well be confounded when they dash off on their first day without so much as a ‘see ya’.
I have scoffed at my mother and my mother-in-law’s musings ‘oh you won’t know what to do with yourself, it’ll be lovely’ and ‘you’ll have a little cry on their first day’. Nonsense I rebutted. I can’t wait I thought. I’ll go running every morning and even do a little yoga, then settle down in a quiet house with a strong coffee to pursue my postgrad , which, might I add, has been waiting in the doldrums since around the time the pregnancy test read positive. So what is the solution? Have another baby perhaps? Don’t even go there.
Despite my intentions to busy and distract myself while they’re at Montessori, I remain slightly apprehensive about the whole thing. After all I can’t fall apart at the school gates in front of small and anxious children. Can I? No. I’ll have to keep that bottom lip in check and save the tears until I get home and settled with my new text book and a lovely strong cup of coffee. I’m going to miss my little monkeys.
By Olivier Fitzgerald