Morning arrived and the boys could avoid it no more- the first day of Italian school.
When Max first started school it was in America and he was bursting to go. We then changed schools for him every year (spread over three countries) of his first 4 years of schooling life; every single time he’d put his backpack on, accept kisses and hugs inside the house and then with his head held high, walk to his new school. As you can see he has had a lot of practice at starting new schools but this morning was the first time I had really seen him nervous and that pierced a hole straight through my heart. Alex wasn’t as cheery as usual but he wasn’t looking too bad either so I thought we were doing OK.
School starts at 8.30am so at 8.15am they put on their grembuili (the lovely blue overcoats Italian kids wear for school) and I nabbed a photo before the fear set in…I thought they looked pretty relaxed?
It is literally a 3 minute walk to the school as it is at the end of our street, however, when the time came I think we were all wishing for a few more minutes of walking! First day back at school is always a little crazy where ever you are. New kids, old friends, parents all trying to make themselves comfortable and ready for the day. We weren’t quite sure how the whole ‘start of the day’ worked and pretty much followed the crowd. Thankfully we knew where Alex’s class was so we started there first. I hadn’t really looked at the kids when we hit the school as I was trying to figure out how I’d work in with the crowd, it wasn’t until the crowd swept Nic and Alex up in the flow that I saw the look of pure terror on Alex’s face. He was out of touch, I did have a fleeting moment of me turning into hysterical mum and doing a few commando moves to get past the crowd but thought better of it. I plucked up all the courage I had and gave him a big smile and wave and let him go.
Max was standing next to me and I held his hand, it was accepted and I think we both just stood there for a few seconds trying to wrap our heads around it all. Nic joined us moments later and we forged through the tight and crowded corridor to deliver Max. Our only bit of information on his teacher was “look for a tall, slim woman with blonde hair”……..yeah, that could of been numerous ladies before us. I guess we were looking a bit lost when this beautiful, tall, slim woman smiled at Max and said “Maximilian??…….Ciao!” She was lovely, kind and very friendly, however, Max and I still held hands in the comfort of the crowded room (so his integrity was still intact). Nic spoke with her in Italian, I followed a few words and then with a squeeze of my hand he stepped forward into the new classroom without looking back.
Nic returned to work and I walked home by myself trying to hold back the lump in my throat that wanted to burst forward and cry for the pressure and stress we had just put our kids under…..that three minute walk felt like an eternity, plus I had to whip out a few buongiornos to the parents I passed by. I couldn’t sit at home and whimper for them so I Skyped my sister for a chat, did the ironing, washing, cleaning (domestic goddess I know!) and then before I knew it, it was time to pick the boys up…..actually that is not quite true, I may have done a ‘walk by’ the school to do a rubbish dump just to ensure they weren’t screaming bloody murder from the roof tops- amazingly the school was silent.
Is that a little head I recognise in the middle of the crowd?
He made it!! Although that is a little grin on Alex’s face now it did not last very long. The stress of the day kind of got to him and he crumpled in my arms. I was proud of him, he didn’t cry but held it together and just hugged me as I whispered into his ear “It’s ok, you made it through your first day, that is all you needed to do” with that he nodded and just hugged, he was going to be fine.
Max on the other hand was the complete opposite! He managed to meander his way through the crowd before I had a chance to catch him.
I was just about to ask him how his day went when Nic and I heard “Ciao Max” and we looked over to a pretty girl from his class waving goodbye. The first thing Nic said was “Oh he’s fine, the sly fox!” and fine he was. He had nothing but positive things to say about his class, teacher and the school.
“It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be” he said, “Everyone wanted to speak English to me” and then “Italian kids are really loud but friendly”.
Max bounced home with a grin on his face and I have to say it pulled his brother out of the dark cloud he was under. By the time we got home stories of the day were flowing and Alex started remembering good things that happened in his day so maybe, just maybe it was the best decision we could of made.