When you enrol your first child in school, you attend the information sessions, negotiate the mystery of the school uniform shop (do I buy the big bag or the small one? How many pairs of trousers?) and just generally feel stressed and confused.
However, here's what I think you actually need when your child starts school:
1. A big box of envelopes and a big bag of change. Every second day there is a note that needs handing in usually with a small amount of money included.
2. An electronic organiser of some kind which beeps to tell you what day Library/Sport/Folk Dancing/Animal Husbandry is on and what equipment your child (LOL - my apologies - that would actually be you, since you're the one who gets into trouble when they don't bring the right stuff) needs to take.
3. Ten hats - they lose one about once a week. Remember: 'No hat, No play' actually means sitting in a shed, in the shade, feeling like a social outcast at lunch and then your child will of course blame you at the end of the day for the lost hat, so this a preventative measure for your own sanity.
4. Ten jumpers - they will lose one every day - usually about recess when they run around.
5. The book titled "How I survived the infants' school playground: For grown-ups" by Mum Popular (soon to be released).
6. A shoe-box - there will always be a project for the parents (sorry, the child) in Kindy involving a shoe-box.
7. A VERY big crate of nit solution - if you've managed to escape lice through the early years, they are part of the 'joyous' initiation into this next stage of education (this may be a uniquely Sydney joy - humidity etc?). On a side note, I am thinking of buying shares in one of these companies.
8. Box of tissues. Many tears will be shed. And they won't be the tears you shed as you farewell your little chickadee off for their first day. It will be their tears as they throw a tantrum on the way home about you saying no to a playdate (they will ask for one every afternoon) or just because you innocently rocked up to school pick up and said 'hello' to them or because they don't want to do the homework (which is fair enough because the teacher only gave out homework to appease the strange 'we love homework' crowd of parents).
9. A bucket load of patience for those very painful first readers. Exciting for about two weeks and then it j u s t k e e p s o n g o i n g. BTW here's a tip: say, just in theory of course, you find yourself screaming at your child, "It says 'the', it says 'the', it's in every sentence" - it might be time for Daddy to take over.
10. A satellite-linked spycam set-up incorporated into your child's school hat so you can know for sure what, "I had no-one to play with at lunch and I hate school" actually means. Is it "I was on my own for 10 seconds when my friend was in the toilet" or "I lost my friends because they said they were going to the library, and I don't know where the library is" or "I truly do not have a friend and you really should talk to my teacher".
Happy start to school everyone!