Today saw my little ones, with brand new lunchboxes packed, venture forth on their first adventure in the big, wide world without their parents.
They are beginning Preschool and for children who have, during their, exactly, three and a half years on the planet (today also happens to be their half birthday!), only ever been looked after by either their parents or their grandparents it will be a big, wide world indeed.
I knew that there would be nerves to contend with (mine included). I knew that there would most likely be tears to contend with (mine included) but I also knew that there would be much excitement. That there would be pride. That there would be fun.
So to distract myself from the emotional roller coaster, I decided to have a little surprise ready for Lile and Sábha when they got home from their first session in the Naíonra. A little well-done (to all of us!) for getting over the first hurdle.
I'm a little over halfway through my Parental Leave now and I don't have much money to spare for frivolous celebrations, but a lack of cash will never stop me from trying to bring a little magic into my girls' lives. Celebrations don't have to cost much to be special.
There was a packet of pink balloons languishing in the 'random stuff' drawer and I decided to use them as the basis for the celebration.
I used my new stash of washi tape from Ikea (I'm obsessed with the new paper shop in Ikea!!) to decorate some colourful toothpicks and taped them to the balloons so the girls could use them as balloon poppers.
I used the tape to make some simple mini-bunting too, tied it to two wooden skewers and used it to decorate some little (colour coordinated) cakes.
The first day of Preschool couldn't have gone better in the end. No tears were shed (*ahem* - apart from some of my own...) and they had a wonderful time at Naíonra (phew! - so far so good).
They loved their surprise when they got home too. Sábha couldn't bring herself to pop the balloons, but Lile thought it was great fun and was happy to help her sister out.
It's so important to me to make these transitions as easy as possible for my girls. I want to acknowledge that these milestones are a big deal in their little lives and show that I will always be there to help and encourage them through each new stage.
Devo and I could not have been more proud today as we watched them settle confidently into their new environment.
Our little girls are growing up - and that's worth celebrating!