my practical back to school tips

I know there are some mummies out there who have their precious little ones starting school for the first time this week………..and for some of you it’s your eldest so there is so much ahead of you. Wow that first year was a crash course in being a school mum. Making sure library books and bag were packed, school reader was in there, canteen money or $1 if there was a special treat day and the notes. Oh the notes. I now reply to notes straight away and put them back in the bag or on my fridge.

All the books and advice say not to rush your child on their first day of school and to make it all very calm and civilised and give them plenty of time to get ready so they have an easy first day. Well Elodie was admitted to hosptial the night before keira’s first day of school. I told the dr she can’t be admitted because it’s my eldest’s first day of school. That didn’t go down well. So we were transferred to another hospital after midnight, retro daddy had to get her bag ready and make her lunch then bring all the kids up to the hospital so he could stay with elodie and I could get keira to school. And we did it all in peak hour traffic.

Keira took it all in her stride and had an amazing first day. Lots of other mums were all dressed up and we had to go up in front of the whole school and be introduced by name. I was missing retro daddy, worried about elodie who was just 3 months old and in hospital and I’d quickly thrown on a different t-shirt from the day before. Nice. Retro daddy picked her up at midday so we both got to experience her first day even though it wasn’t what we expected.

So my top tips for the school year:

– the night before is your best friend. When everyone is sleeping I am the busy bee making sure her bag is ready, lunch box is out with some of the food in it, water bottle in bag, undies, socks and shoes all ready to go and hanging with uniform.

– ask them what they would like in their lunchbox. don’t worry if they say chips or chocolate – 2 years on and keira still tries to get that one past me or tells me her friends had chips or something.

– do a midweek top up shop for fresh fruit and healthy snacks. I find my guys come home from preschool and school so hungry and eat what was meant for their lunchboxes

– morning tea here is grapes, a banana, rice crackers with cheese slices, homemade cookie, fruit bread, muesli bar, cheese sticks or yoghurt (be warned of giving yoghurt with winter uniforms – there is a high probability it will end up on the uniform)….. carrot sticks are always popular in keira’s lunchbox

– lunch is a ham sandwich or a wrap. Keira just loves a ham sandwich.

– use the canteen as a reward at the end of the week. Except for really hot days when an iceblock is in order, we only give out canteen money and do lunch orders on friday. It’s a great motivator for good behaviour during the week. And the canteen is a great way to learn about money full stop. Keira once lost $2 in the queue so didn’t get an iceblock that day but didn’t really look for it. It was a hard lesson to learn in kindergarten but she took care of her money after that. She has also used her money at morning tea instead of getting an iceblock then rocked up to the canteen with 10c wanting an iceblock. Again, another lesson learnt and she doesn’t do that anymore.

– when they get to school and have found a friend just hang back in the distance or leave. A couple of times I found myself hovering and keira would stay with me but you get to the point when you can go and they’ll be ok. It’s good for their confidence that you are not hovering around near them.

– volunteering is a great way to meet other mums – just don’t overcommit – she says after organising and then washing glasses all night at the school cocktail party she’d been on the committee for. My favourite job was doing canteen bookkeeping because it didn’t require me to be there. Just pick up and drop off a satchel with the office, write cheques and do the bank rec. A really easy job and didn’t require me to do too much.

– keep a close eye on friendships and always know who your little one is playing with and how things are going in the playground. We had some real bullying issues in kindergarten. Yes kindergarten with some mean girls and queen bees. It was a real shock to me, there were tears. Me, not Keira. Thankfully when they are little or always talking with you then you can monitor it and then take it to the teacher. I had to take this to the teacher and she didn’t realise what was going on but moved keira to another group of girls both in the classroom and in the playground which made things easier. Unfortunately in Year 1 another girl told her she was going to bring a gun to school and kill her. Nice. Year 1. Plus keira had to sit next to this girl. Again, it was important that keira told me what happened and knew she could trust me to take it to her teacher. I asked for her to be moved and this to be discussed and it was. It’s the biggest thing I can stress, keep talking and if they can’t solve it themselves then you need to get involved. Some of the playground stuff is easy to solve.

– don’t be afraid to talk to the teacher. If something little is bothering me or Keira then I’d often just write a little note and pop it in her satchel for the teacher. If it’s serious then I’d make an appointment to talk to the teacher. Just be on the ball, pay attention to what they’re saying and if you suspect something then just having a little chat to them.

– I won’t lie, Keira’s first year at school was a tough one in the playground as the youngest in her class BUT she finished the year with lovely friends and an award for excellence in all of her subjects.

– unfortunately there will be incidents and things that make you cranky, mad or upset. I am so happy that in 3 terms at our new school we haven’t had any. Fingers crossed we continue that way.

– Give your little ones strategies in case someone is being mean to them or they can’t find a friend. A great one is instead of telling them just to walk away from the mean kid,  you tell them to go to the bubbler or the library.  Give them something specific that they can do rather than walk away. Kids are still little so they kind of need a bit of a hint towards where to go and what to do. Our current school has lunch club twice  a week. One day it’s inside and another it’s outside. You can go along and play with other kids, do an activity and make new friends. It really helped keira settle into her new school and lots of the kids love to go to it. I think it’s the best thing ever.

– if you’re a new mum at the school and you see another new mum standing there then you better go over and chat! She probably feels just like you do. I had to learn this when keira started school and sometimes it’s awkward but some of my sweetest friends at the moment are those friends I made when Keira started school. We still stay in touch and go to the same things and I just love them. Go to the social events even when you think you don’t want to, make playdates when you can, take your little ones to the parties and get to know the other mums and always have a mobile number or two in your phone for emergencies. It’s so nice that if you’re running late that someone can watch out for your little one in the playground or if you can’t remember the news topic for the week that you can ask.

– I’d like to think that I’m the queen of taking 50 million children to school drop off and pick up each day. It can be tough keeping them entertained. Also little ones have a tendency to fall asleep just as you want to leave the house or get them out of the car. I would always keep a little snack or drink bottle in the handbag, pop a sleeping little one in the pram (even if it was one of the bigger twins) to keep the peace and let them have their nap.

– if you have little babies and toddlers to do the school run with then get prepared for the wet weather. It will always rain at school pick up time – I know this. It’s just the way it goes. Sometimes people are kind enough to pick up keira and run her back to the car. Most times I put raincoats on everyone at home, put the babies in the pram and run in. The twins love the wet weather. My advice, get yourself a rain coat with a hood. Umbrellas just aren’t going to cut it when you have a pram and other little ones with you.

– on days when it is raining really heavily in the mornings and just crazy rain then we tend to get in earlier than usual but still when supervision is on as they go straight to the classroom OR we leave it a bit later and run everyone in when I can park right out the front and run everyone in quickly.

And just have fun! School is fun. Don’t get overwhelmed with homework and grades and packing the most exciting lunchbox in the world. Honestly, what I remember about the first few years of primary school are that my mum made my own uniforms, did the best cheese and vegemite sandwiches, the smell of brown banana in my school bag and having my mum on canteen, gross motor and being a catechist teacher. So who is a first time school mum this year???? Or what is your best advice for the other mums out there?

Comments

  1. Couple of tips from a teacher and mum of three – have a filing box for each child, all school and sport notices, invitations went in them – so easy to find the relevant info when required and much tidier than that pile on the bench! Make sure smocks are the soft nylon type with an elastic or stretchy neckband. Those horrid hard plastic (often covered in characters from the latest crazes) are difficult for the kids to put on themselves and take up a lot of room in the school bag. Ane tip number 3 is – as a part time working mum, my children often had a couple of different pick up arrangements. My twin boys, in particular, often forgot (very stressful for little people) so we made bag tags which we clipped on their bags every morning simply labelled Mum (blue to match my car) Pop (white to match his car) and After school care (red, oneof the school colours) – this minimised stress for the kids and helped the teacher too!

  2. First year for me! Of all the things that I’m really worried about – apart from the obvious bullying and mean girls – it’s rain!! I know it sounds silly, but if you can manage pick up and drop off with five in the rain, I can’t really complaint about three – so I’ll keep that it mind and start looking for a raincoat for me pronto!

  3. Fantastic advice Corrie.When my kids were young I would always have kids over for a play and that way I could meet the other mums and if there were outings in school holidays I would always go cause that way my kids would get to play and I would get to meet even more mums.I think that is very important to know who the other parents are so if you child is invited to there place you know what kind of people they are.( My child would never go to another childs place without me getting to know the parents first.)Very important.

  4. Kimberley says:

    Great advice! I would add to read to/ with your child/ren every night – so many parents do not!!!!! A child needs to have had 1000 books read to them before they are ready to read themselves. The verbal capabilities/vocab knowledge of children is dropping year after year. I would also add do not put them in too many after school activities when too little as they are zonked!

  5. Great Advice. As a teacher it is the first time Mums that often need more looking after than the students. I understand how unnerving it can be to leave them. Just remember 9 time out of 10 a crying child stops within 1 min of mum leaving. Yes, even the ones that are howling!! For the first week I don’t take my lunch breaks, I stay with them the whole time to help them settle. (Please note that after the first week I do go to the staff room for lunch as I NEED my 20min break!!). Despite the constant rain we have had all weekend school will start for us tomorrow. Urgh, How I hate dealing with the mud and being unable to let the children out of the room to run!

  6. Yep, I’m a first time school Mum … I’m so sad to be losing her to the big wide world, but at the same time I know she will love school, and is just so ready for this next stage. I’m also really looking forward to spending some quality one-on-one time with my 1 year old who really hasn’t had that yet. Thanks for those tips!!

  7. Rebecca Simunic says:

    Hi Corrie, its Oliver’s first day next Monday and we are all super excited. I just have to label everything and we are ready to go!!! Good tips. Thanks xx PS Better get my raincoat ready, they are predicting rain on the first day!!!

  8. Yes I’m a first time school mum too, so glad I read this I would never have thought of a raincoat, it’s the practical little things I always miss! I’m still trying to wrap my head around juggling nap times with school pick up and drop off! Preschool was a bit more flexible time-wise, and such a short dash from the car.

  9. Hi! I am a teacher and let me tell you, I love it when parents come to me with any worries they have. At least if I know about it, I can look out for it and then deal with it accordingly. However, please also be open to hearing that what you were told might not be the whole truth. My youngest is starting Kindergarten this year, I’m not mentally and emotionally prepared! :)

  10. Hi Corrie, great advice. I have been a school mum for a few years now. I love your advice about stopping playground issues etc. Chatting is definately the best way. Especially when they first come home as any issues do tend to spill out easily. Kiddies saying they have a sore tummy (anxiety) can often been a key indicator that something is up too. xo

  11. Wow, this is really comprehensive, great advice for the new mums. I’m such an old mum now but last year was funny with the twins starting at the school which my second had just finished at. I’ve always found great pals amongst the school mums and am excited about all that school gate nattering starting again.

    I often say to mums who have their youngest child starting school that they have to be VERY careful. That urge to quickly have another baby can be very strong. It happened to me in 2005… and I had the twins in 2006!! Be warned!

  12. Your timing is impeccable Corrie! Today I’ve been feeling quite anxious about my son starting Kindy. He’s shy and sensitive and I worry about bullies. And yep the rain scares me too. I have a 2 year old and 2 month old as well as my 4 year old so doing the school run in the rain makes me nervous!!! Thanks for all the tips. I just keep telling myself to keep it together for Fynn’s sake.

  13. Hi Corrie, my twinnies star school next week! they are so excited its contagious, every morning we have to check calendar to count the days, and Archie has packed and repacked his school bag too many times already. And being twins they get to start school with their best mate. Their little brother is in for a rude shock though, he thinks he’s going too!

  14. Love your comment about the rain and such a great idea, my daughter loves her umbrella but tends to poke everyone by opening it up to early. I then get mad, tears everywhere. Raincoats for everyone now, we too have had a bit of bullying in year one (they start early now)and its true talking to the teacher helps. We are all looking forward to school starting here tomorrow.

  15. lovely. I like your comments

  16. Great list Corrie and all the above comments are helpful too. Can I just mention school traffic. It can be horrendous depending on the school. Lack of parking, bad weather and other crazy impatient drivers don’t help so be prepared to be patient and show consideration to other drivers :-)

  17. Great tips! I’d never thought of giving the kids something specific to do, other than walk away when someone is being nasty. We’ve had to deal with mean girls from the first day too – sadly the mums are often worse than the kids ugh! It’s great if you can find at least 2 or 3 nice mums to connect with though. Another thing is to teach your kids to be resilient. I’ve seen many good friendships ruined between both children and parents because of misunderstandings and miscommunication. I think kids can be pretty good at working small issues out themselves or with the help of their teacher. Of course we want to protect our children, but there’s a fine line between being supportive/protective and overprotective.

  18. What a great list, Corrie. Lots of helpful ideas to run with. The drop-off and pick-up is just so difficult, isn’t it? We’ve lived within walking distance of one school over the 18 years I’ve had school age kids. Being able to bus in when they are old enough is a great thing. Rebecca, thanks for the heads-up on the labelling. I always leave stuff like that until the last minute, so the youngest is wearing a texta tattoo of her name in reverse, on the back of her neck…
    I don’t have any helpful hints – I don’t think I did anything that was super-gnarly when my kids were little. I was the mum who had no idea what was going on from day to day. The other mothers were always onto it, and would remind me ahead of time eventually. Oh, but Corrie’s point about volunteering within your area of expertise, is a good one. I did literacy tutoring for 20hrs/wk at one point, because there was a need, but I was 1000 times more at ease officiating at the athletics carnivals every year, since that’s what I also did outside of school.

  19. *sigh*

    its my third and last child’s first year.
    it’s an emotional one this year with my last baby starting school. but with keenex and a big smile I will soldier on.

    my advice ::
    1- ham & cheese sandwiches freeze well! every Sunday I make 10 ham and cheese sandwiches and freeze them individually wrapped. time saver!
    2- it’s ok for your kids to have packaged snacks. if its not homemade they wont die. nor will you.
    3- it’s ok to hug them too many times before you leave and it’s ok to say I love you more than once. some parents wish they could say it just one more time.
    4- your child will live if they don’t go to play dates. if you can’t fit in a play date, they will put on the guilts. they play for most of their school day. in fact, at this age (information sourced from and education moderator when we were homeschooling) they only do about 1.5 hours of actual school work in a 6 hour day. they play. a lot. it’s ok to say no to play dates. you don’t have to keep up with the “perfect mums”.
    5- this is a really huge one for me. I was never allowed days off school, and sometimes I had legit reasons or fears for not wanting to go. it’s ok if they want to have a day off. in fact, in our home birthdays ARE days off unless they want to go to school. my oldest always wants to go to school and my middle child loves having a day off now and then. and that’s fine.
    6- dinner threes. I learnt this from my mother in law. 3 things you loved from today and 3 things that sucked. it’s dinner conversation & it’s keeping the lines of communication open from a young. it’s necessary!

    best of luck first year mamas, be present and enjoy it. you blink and it’s gone.

    x S

  20. Great post Corrie!! My daughter still has a couple of years before starting school, but I loved to know all these tips and advises… I’ll keep all in mind for when our school time comes… :)

  21. Great post – thanks. I’m a first time school mama, and my number 1 objective for the first day is to absolutely not bawl in front of my son!! He falls into that awkward birthday date time where he could’ve been held back a year… and although we and the kinder teacher were 100% confident he was ready for school at the end of last year, now 3 days out from school starting, I’m so worried that he’ll struggle. Agghhh! Thanks for your great advice re communicating with the teacher.

  22. HI Corrie,
    Great practical advice there. I don’t have a new school starter this year, but I do have 2 starting Grade 2 this year, so have some advice to share (and I am still learning too).
    Firstly, if your littlie struggles with the routine in the morning make up lists of daily routines. Mine are pretty well trained, but I still have to do this now. It’s alot to take on for them, plus the long days of learning 5 days a week, this has helped tremendously, and always seems to take them to Term 2 to find their routine. Remember they really are still babies when they start, don’t overwhelm them with too much too soon.
    I definitely do the lunches the night before, I make the sandwiches put them in the fridge, then just put that and all their snacks in their lunchboxes in the morning. So time consuming leaving too much in the morning. They are now at the age that they just make up their own lunchboxes (I had a baby halfway through last year, so they had to be made a little bit self sufficient).
    I know some mothers make a heap of lunches and freeze them for the weeks ahead, I personally don’t find this necessary and a little time consuming, but that may work for some mums (I suppose it depends on how many kids you have too and how big your freezer is).
    One thing I do ahead of time is make all the lunchbox snacks for the term (which is also time consuming, but I can get them all made in a day – more or less). any kind of healthy muffins, slices, rolls that I’ve made and the kids like to eat. I make a big batch, freeze them, and the kids decide which ones they want to take each day. They don’t usually last the whole term, as they sometimes want them for after school snacks as well, but then I can just bake some more as I go and it’s not too overwhelming. I get sick of all the processed food at the shops, it’s full of sugar and expensive. And our school has become anti wrapper this year ie; no snacks that create litter.
    All the rest really falls into place, and you will find your own routine and what does and doesn’t work for you and your child. I am not a morning person at all, so I have to organise the night before, but some people can operate in the morning. And I also do this as I have one daughter, and her hair takes up some of the morning, thank goodness the rest are boys.

    The other thing I cannot praise enough is my Slow Cooker. I only got one last year, and I love it so. Any school mother can agree that 4-6pm is hectic with the after school activities, homework, I’m hungry mum, and if you have smaller children dealing with them as well. Then trying to get dinner on the table as well, getting them bathed, ready for bed (I wish cloning myself was an option at this time). I organise my meals for the week, see what I’m making the night before and defrost this meat as I go to bed that night, put it in the cooker after school drop off, and it’s done by 6pm. It means I can focus on homework and activities at this crazy time rather than stressing about getting dinner on the table too.
    Good luck first time mummys to school. I did find it hard letting them go on the first day, but also proud of them. It’s a new chapter in life, and it definitely has its benefits xx

  23. Dianne Ross says:

    Great advice from everyone. Tears in my eyes thinking about my grandchildren starting school.

  24. My oldest won’t start school til next year, so I’m going to print this post out and save it until then. I think I’ll be able to handle most things, but the idea of bullying makes me worry.

  25. Excellent advice, Corrie. I’ve got starters in Gr 5, Gr 4 and two in Grade 1. Plus I’m a part time teacher at the same school my kids attend. And my hubby is a teacher….. so my advice goes something like this!
    1. Definitely lunches the night before. Some days I get lazy but I.must.not. Especially for the days I go to work. Make up a list of sandwich fillings that each child is happy to have as a reminder for you. Some nights when they’re asleep I get confused who will eat honey/avocado/hommus/grated carrot etc. We have a rule for one spread (jam/honey/vegemite) day per week (normally a day I week cause it’s easy). The rest has to be based on a meat, cheese and/or salad ingredient. And yes, spread day is their favourite!!!!!
    2. Avoid filling boxes with packaged foods. One is fine but I’ve had kids with six packets in a lunch box every day! It also creates a competition at recess with who has the most ‘fun/yummy’ lunch box. My 2/3s last year would share/trade/even steal food at recess because of it. Teach your kids that it’s okay to have them sometimes (maybe a Friday treat) but it’s also okay to have crackers and cheese, or arrowroots with a dried apricot or two.
    3. Canteen days are a treat here and my kids know that I could buy two loaves of basic bread with what some kids spend! I think it’s important they appreciate the cost and the treat. We all have a lunch order the week of our immediate family birthdays, the last week of term or when there is something to celebrate (after the piano exams). My older girls now are allowed a recess counter sale (mini weet bix, frozen orange, popcorn) with pocket money occasionally.
    4. I had to wake the twins for pick up and it was tough! Especially the year I had a kinder lunch pick up and a 3pm pick up. Aaarrrgh! To make it easier (after a while) my older two would come to the pick up car park and wait for me there with the teacher on duty. I’d time my trip to arrive after the bell had gone, as the first cars were leaving, get the closest car park and not have to get the twins out. To get a car park normally and go to their classes I would have had to wake the babies and leave by 2.20. This way I woke them at 2.45, straight to the car and it didn’t matter about shoes, slightly dirty bonds suits etc. Saved my sanity. They don’t have to be picked up at the door all year. Teaches them some independence too.
    5. My last tip is about evening organisation. I’m firm on after school activities and bed time. Many students are too tired to stay awake, never mind concentrating – even at 9.30am. When I hear of their evenings and bed times – no wonder! I limit our activities to 3 afternoons a week for the whole family. Two afternoons we come home. Straight away. And just be at home. The other days are busy, with multiple things sometimes but that’s far better than the alternative I believe. And ideally bed time should be around 7.30 for early childhood years, then stretching to 8pm for grade 3, with reading time included. Being at school all day makes you realise how busy and active they are during the day. We have a no tv rule for school nights, but if that doesn’t suit at least I would suggest avoiding movies mid week. Make them a weekend treat. Kids don’t need to be over stimulated when they need to sleep well and focus on school. I think their time is much better spent reading with mum and dad or helping play with siblings or setting the table.
    Just some of my thoughts that work for us. It is an exciting time for everyone. Enjoy it. Oh, and get to know your teachers, other parents and do some parent help if possible – it is such an eye opener to see what goes on at school for your little ones. Every parent that helped me last year commented – ‘now I understand’, ‘how do you do it?’, ‘I’m exhausted just watching them’, ‘how do you manage when I’m not here?’. Builds good relations and respect between parent and teacher. And it teaches your kids that you care about education, respect their teacher (and they will in turn) and want to help your child.
    Happy schooling!

  26. Wonderful blog Corrie. Some things never change i.e. the anxiety of watching a little one going to to school for the first time. You have given fabulous advice and so have your followers. Good luck to all as the new school yer begins!

  27. Great blog! Tears has come in my eyes after reading your story and I remember all about my daughter’s first day of school. Your advice will definitely help to parents.

  28. Thanks for the tips Corrie, especially the one about specific ideas of where to go instead of just walking away from a bullying situation. My eldest is starting school on Thursday and she says she’s not looking forward to it because she’s going to miss me too much. I know she’ll love it once she gets settled in so I’m not really worried about that. However I know I am going to struggle holding back the tears. I cried so much when she did her first ballet concert last year and also whenever i hand over a birthday cake to any of my kids! Including last year at my daughter’s first big birthday party, which was kind of embarrassing… I am going to miss having my big girl at home but I am excited about her discovering the wonderful world of reading and everything else about school. I am quite nervous about getting there on time with a 2 yr old and 2 month old as well. I have to change my habits as I so often leave things until the last minute. I am trying to improve on getting prepared in advance and getting dinner on the table earlier.

  29. Mama of 2 boys says:

    Oh Corrie, thank you so very much for this post. I love it! I am a first time school Mum this year, with my little boy starting next Monday… and I am so nervous about it. At this stage, Angus is excited and enthusiastic about starting… which is great… it’s just all my fears that are worrying me. All of these tips are so great and I’m going to remember and refer back to them, for sure. You are such an awesome Mum and obviously VERY experienced in classroom and playground matters. Argh, I have so much yet to learn about it all. Beautiful photos as always, Keira is such a doll xoxo

  30. My best tip for when you have a baby and/or toddler and need to do the school run is to dress the baby/toddler in PJs that can pass as clothes, or clothes that are comfortable enough to sleep in. That way, in the morning, all you have to do is change a nappy and find shoes and you are ready to roll! :)

    I sent my middle boy off to school for the first time this morning, and even though I’ve been doing this for three years, the first day is still momentous for all of us, even my girls in grade three!

  31. We have a tears and tissue morning tea where I work for the kindy parents on the first day. It is a great way to meet other parents. I would suggest (for the teacher as much as the child) that you make sure they can open and close their own lunch boxes and water bottles, put on and take off their jumpers and paint shirts (even work on how to turn them back the right way) and give them some help on how to unpack and pack their school bags. Often when littlies come to kindy these simple things can really overwhelm them and us!
    Our kindy kids get a communication folder and all notes/money etc travel between home and school inside, if your school doesn’t give them to the kids it is worth supplying your own- we do send a million things home so it helps to know exactly where to look every single day.
    Trust the teacher on the home readers. It isn’t meant to be work at home. It should be fun and you should work on fluency and expression. That is why we send home reading books that are below the level your child reads in class. We are there to do the hard yards with them.
    Take playground gossip from other mums (or dads) with a grain of salt and ALWAYS talk to the teacher about your concerns instead of bottling them up, more often than not it is something easily dealt with or explained.
    Last thing, I promise! It is worth talking to your kids about bringing home unwanted lunch. So many kids throw away food on the sly and tell us they don’t like it or have too much. I try to get them to take it home so they can tell their parents they don’t want/need it but they worry about getting into trouble. My son is only a baby but when he’s old enough to be at school I’d much prefer to know what he wasn’t really eating so I don’t waste time and money.
    Good luck to the new school parents!

  32. Theresa V says:

    Corrie what a post & what thoughtful readers comments- Virginia you deserve special thanks too!!! Survived first day of daughter in prep/ thriving already yah!

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