I have this KitKat. I’ve had it since August 2020. I’ve refused to eat it but can’t quite bring myself to part with it. It’s been in my bedroom, on my dressing table for almost two years now. And every time I look at it, I wonder when I’ll feel I’m ‘done’ with it. You see… this KitKat was a gift. It was part of a little bag of goodies that were kindly presented to Jim and I on Pickle’s last day of Nursery before he left for his first day of school. The bag contained a sachet of coffee, a packet of tissues and a two finger KitKat, and it was tied with some ribbon and a little poem. It read something like this:

A LITTLE GIFT FROM US TO YOU

Your child is very special, today they’re off to school,
to begin an exciting journey, and to learn things that are cool.
But we know it will be tearful, as you let your little one go.
Please trust the school to look after them,
They’ll help them play and grow.
So dry your tears and make a drink, enjoy a little treat,
because before you know it, you’ll be rushed back off your feet!

I popped the gift somewhere safe, and looked forward to sitting down and having a cup of tea in the peace and quiet on Pickle’s first day of school. His first day. That terminology is important.

So… it’s almost two years later – why haven’t I eaten it?

Pickle’s First Day at School?

Because Pickle hasn’t had a first day at school yet. He hasn’t been to school for a whole day ever. After those first three transition mornings, we were met by the School SENCo at the school gates to say she didn’t think he would cope with the full day that was planned for the fourth day. That he needed a bit more time to settle and get used to the school environment.

At the time, this temporary measure seemed a good idea – yes, it would be a bit tricky logistically to figure it out but we’d just spent the first lockdown working from home and juggling childcare so this didn’t seem much different. It wasn’t worth trying to arrange alternative childcare as we couldn’t be sure how long the arrangement would last. Probably not long. A week maybe? Two? Even if it was until the first half term, we could handle that.

Oh, how na├»ve we were! How optimistic! I couldn’t have fathomed we’d still be in the same position some five school terms later. BUT, it is what it is, and we’ve spent that time trying to figure out how we can all best help him and ensure he gets the support he needs to succeed and develop in his own way.

The KitKat haunts me

It seems silly to say but this god damn KitKit haunts me. It sits there as a reminder of what we’ve not yet been able to achieve. It’s both a reminder of how challenging the last two years have been and a taunt for all the flashback memories to come flooding back of how differently we’d imagined school would go. It sits on my bedside table as a challenge. I have yet to unlock that achievement: my child’s first day of school, and I’m determined we’ll get there. And we’re finally, hopefully, a little bit closer…

The Next Chapter…

After discussions and suggestions of what might work, what kind of environment might tick the boxes, we’ve come to a conclusion. We’ve got all the paperwork we need, we’ve got approvals, agreements, assessments and reports coming out of our ears and a whole heap of emotions along with them, but we’ve got a new plan. There’s a fresh start on the horizon, and I hope we’re all now a little bit more prepared to help ensure this next attempt at school goes a bit more smoothly.

Pickle and Mommy sitting together on the grass overlooking the views of Malvern from North Hill, the Malvern Hills

I still don’t have a date, and we might not know a date for a while… it’s important not to rush, and we need to get this right, but, with any luck, soon Pickle will be able to stay at school for a whole day and I can soon open that two fingered KitKat, see just how mouldy it’s gone in two years (I’m not quite sure what the shelf life of the average KitKat is?), and happily throw it away, basking in that final piece of closure. Achievement unlocked. Milestone reached. Completed.

If everything goes smoothly. Please, keep your fingers crossed for us. I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous or anxious about anything in my life, and it feels like a lot is riding on this next chapter. I’m not expecting our seas will suddenly be calm and tranquil after two years of battling storms, and we’re undoubtedly going to hit rough patches but… I have this tiny glimmer of hope. And I’m clutching it tightly with both hands.