On the morning of his first day at school, The Complicated One retired to bed dressed in his uniform and shoes, pulled the blankets over his head, and said he wasn't going.
Clearly, the transition wasn't going to be easy.
By the time we got to school he was even more upset. The tears were flowing, and the other parents were looking at us across the playground.
After edging him toward his classroom ever so slowly we ended up dragging him inside. Force was required to the extent that we feared bruising his arms.
His teacher took him and closed the door. Presumably to keep him there.
Talk about a dramatic first day at school, for both child and parents.
The same thing happened on day two - tears, sobbing and pleas to stay at home - but without the dragging (I employed a steady push instead).
"I want to stay at home with you and mummy."
"I want to go back to (insert name of child care centre/pre-school)."
"I want it to be Saturday every day."
You get the idea. And it's only day two.
That it's rained steadily both days, at drop off and pick-up, hasn't exactly contributed to the cheery atmosphere.
He was happy when we picked him at the end of day one. The happiness lasted about three hours, until he started thinking about going to school the next day. Then he cried himself to sleep.
We had hoped for the best. Last year we all got through the three transition-to-school mornings with no tears or obvious emotional scars for child or parents. He happily went off on his own for the hour and a half sessions.
But clearly he draws the line at a day.
Three years ago the transition to childcare (two days a week) was a drama that lasted months. So deep down we knew school wasn't going to be any easier. Sure, he's more mature and had a lot more practice at separating, but school's a much bigger and scarier place (if you're that way inclined).
The Complicated One is a homebody. He needs to really know a place, and the people in it, before he relaxes and shows his true colours. Until then, he sits quietly and shyly with very wide eyes, and watches. He'll rarely volunteer information, even when he knows the answer, and he's frequently overlooked. But once settled, he's outgoing and articulate, and often takes charge.
Whereas The Big Fella just barges into new situations. At three and a half, he was almost volunteering to take the place of The Complicated One at school.
As we left the school grounds, the lollipop lady asked how we'd gotten on today. "Poorly - again," I replied.
"Is he a quiet one? An observer?" she asked.
"They always end up a prefect or school captain."
I know she was trying to cheer me up. But we'd gladly swap future responsibility for current happiness.