So, of course, it had to be too good to be true! Day 2 was meltdown for Jake…and for me! Poor Jake was incredibly distraught at being left in this new school, that was so different to everything he knew before, with no friends and understanding almost nothing. After an hour of trying to calm Jake down and reason with him that it was just a few hours, that it was ok to miss us, that it didn’t matter if he didn’t understand everything, that the other boys and girls were new too and didn’t know anyone…all the while he was beside himself and telling me he didn’t want me to leave, it all became too much for me too.
Meanwhile, Dougie had been to drop off Josh at pre-school, who went happily off, and was waiting for me in the car. Queue problem number 1: As Mum (me) and son (Jake) both walk bawling their eyes out to the front door of the school – Jake in the hope that I was taking him home (I wasn’t) and me in the hope of finding Dougie to stay with Jake while I regained my composure (!) I get stopped at the front door by a woman I had never seen before, but had a very stern ‘I am not to be messed with’ face, and flanked by the school caretaker, to be told I cannot take my son out of the school…it is the law! I wanted to walk 3 metres out of the school gate to where the car was parked to get my husband I explained in my best possible Italian, through the sniffles and the complete loss of any sense of perspective…but she wasn’t having it! After trying to explain my position and a lot more crying, and quite frankly getting nowhere, I was told if I insisted on leaving with my child I would need to fill in the necessary paperwork (oh yes, welcome to bureaucratic Italy). “Fine,” I say. “Get me the paperwork I will sign anything you want, although it does seem ridiculous as we will be back in in 30 seconds!”
Queue problem number 2: “Oh no,” she says. “Once you have signed all the paperwork to take your child out of school, he cannot come back in again!” “But I only want to get my husband,” I say. “All my sons things are still in the classroom.” (More bawling and emotional outburst…from me!!) It was at this very moment I wondered what on earth we had done coming here.
Queue knightess in shining armour: The very friendly, lovely lady from reception came to see what was going on. Seeing both Jake and I so distraught, and reiterating that it is the law a child can not leave the school without the copious form filling, but could she go and see if my husband was there? Si, si, si, per favore, grazie, (I love you I would have cried if I hadn’t been…well…crying!) of course you can.
In comes Dougie, takes one look at me and Jake and says “I knew it was bad when you still weren’t out after an hour!” So, being the calm and composed one, Dougie took Jake back off to the classroom while I took some time out to get myself together. Then we spend the next hour and a half inside and then outside of the classroom door, slowly trying to make our presence less obvious, but nevertheless still noticeable until Jake is reassured enough for us to leave him. Both of us emotionally exhausted and preoccupied as to whether our son was going to be ok, we sat in the coffee shop next to the school trying and failing to take our minds off things.
Jake’s comment when I went back to pick him up from school and I asked how it was: “Great…no, it wasn’t great, it was brilliant!”