My baby boy, the youngest Childbeast, will be 4 next week. With this realisation comes a whole avalanche of emotions; most based around the fact that in a few short months my little lad will be starting school. My mini-man, who has a blanket with a lions head on it called Noonie in bed with him, who gets his head stuck in the sleeve of his t-shirt and panics, who still battles with the urge to poke a finger in the cats bottoms, will be joining the big boys and girls on his journey through the education system. I'm scared mainly; that he'll get upset because he won't get to 'schzum' cars all day, that his constant demands of "Watch this!" to the teacher will result in a telling off and then tears, that when he comes out of the tiny school toilets with his trousers round his ankles and his trinklements poking over the top of his 'Fireman Sam' pants, his exclamation of "Me peen's sticking out!" won't elicit the laughter he has come to expect.
The Daughter was more than ready to start school and I had no concerns about how she would settle in. But The Boy is so different in so many ways. I'm to attend a meeting with his new teacher, in which I have to answer questions about his abilities, skills, personality etc, with the aim of them knowing what sort of level he is at. I remember with The Daughter I was asked whether she could eat with a knife and fork, if she could dress/undress herself, could she write her name, count up to 20, what her interests were and so on. I have to prepare the Reception class teachers for a boy who would happily eat all his meals with his fingers, even beans - like a monkey picking peanuts out of poo. He can dress himself, if they're happy with him wearing his clothes backwards and inside out (rather like a tiny member of Kriss Kross - remember them?). And his interests are schzumming cars and showing you his bum, things I hope he will grow out of before he needs to start compiling his CV.
For selfish reasons too, I don't want him to grow up. He's (probably) the last of my babies, and still a real sweetie. He's affectionate, and innocent, and as soon as they start school the eye-rolling, attitude and answering back starts. I want to keep him as my little dude forever; to have him sit on my knee and suck his thumb when he's tired. But I know he has to grow up, just as I know I have to let him. And if in time I start to get broody and my womb starts to skip a beat at the sight of newborn babies, I'll just let The Husband know that it's time for another....cat!!