Rory started pre-school yesterday and I was so cool about it. He gets a raw deal on here usually as I like to write about him in all his mayhem causing glory, but the truth is that he's actually a cheerful, confident, well adjusted sort who's always super polite and has only had about two half hearted tantrums since the age of around 14 months. I mean, yeah, he's an evil genius when it comes to thinking up mischief to torture me with, but he's a lovely boy who takes things in his stride, so I knew he'd be fine at pre-school.
He ran all the way there yesterday morning, and went in with a cheery wave. I was so relaxed about it all that I practically skipped off with glee at the thought of so much uninterrupted time stretching before me. As I'd expected, I was given a glowing report when I picked him up later on. Completely painless for both of us.
"Did they have any good cars to play with?"
"And did you like playing with the sand?"
"Yes. It was splendid." (splendid = Rory's current favourite adjective of choice)
"And did you remember to ask to go to the toilet when you needed to?"
"Yes. I did a wee-wee."
Excuse me, you did a what?
Wee-wee is not a word that Rory is familiar with. I've always made a big deal of talking to him like I would talk to an adult (but with much less swearing). I mean, he doesn't go around saying "Mother, Father, I wish to defecate", nor does he bellow "I NEED A SHIT", but a simple "wee" or "poo" will suffice. It's not that I particularly mind people using "wee-wee", I just can't bear to say it myself as I don't have an ounce of cute in my body. I'd feel ridiculous. So hearing my son come out with this alien word gave me that punched in the stomach feeling - the sort of feeling I might get if someone I thought was my soul mate gave me a teddy as a gift. Why the hell would I want a teddy? I even used to throw them out of my cot when I was a baby, such was my disdain for them. This household just does not do cutesy.
I felt weird for the rest of the evening and I still do now (the fact that I've eaten my way through most of the contents of the fridge is a clue that my mind is unsettled). My boy isn't going to be my boy any more. For the first time, outsiders are having an influence on him and I don't like it. It's nothing against the staff of his pre-school (who seem brilliant, incidentally), it's just horrible knowing that someone can change his vocabulary in the space of 6 hours. What else will they change about him? What's going to happen to my confident, cheery, polite little boy? What about the other kids he'll meet there? Is he suddenly going to emerge from the pre-school doors wanting to play with guns and fight with other children? I'm almost scared to pick him up at 3pm today because it feels as though every day a tiny part of him is going to be taken away from me and replaced with a child that I don't recognise. Not so cool now, am I?