Monday 27 May 2019

'I do feel he needs a little time' - Maura Derrane on why she's keeping her son back from school for another year

Co-hosts: Maura Derrane and Dáithí Ó Sé of Today
Co-hosts: Maura Derrane and Dáithí Ó Sé of Today
Maura Derrane and Cal
Maura pictured with son Cal on holiday
Maura Derrane and her son Cal
Maura Derrane and her son Cal in 2015 when she was a First 1000 Days ambassador. Photo: Naoise Culhane
Maura Derrane and her son Cal. Picture: Naoise Culhane
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

It's a conundrum for many Irish parents. Is our child ready to start primary school yet? Or should we wait another year?

TV presenter Maura Derrane faced this question earlier this year as her son Cal turned four.

Legally in Ireland, children can be enrolled from the age of four. The legal requirement is they must have begun their education by the age of six.

This week, Derrane told the RTE Guide that she and her husband, TD John Deasy, have decided to keep their son Cal back from starting school for another year

“There’s a little innocence about him so I’d rather keep him for another year. He’s in a Montessori now and he will be long enough in school.”

“I also think socially Cal has a little bit of growing up to do. Academically he’s writing and reading for some time, he was always a bookish child.”

“But I do feel he needs a little time, especially as an only child, I believe he’s a bit behind socially.”

“All he cares about is Thomas the Tank Engine and all the Thomas trains of which he has about 40. The house is just basically a train station.”

Derrane was nearly 44 when Cal was born, and she often considers what age she'll be when Cal turns 30.

“As an older mother, the only thing you can hope for your child is that you’ll live long enough to see them grow up. Sometimes I think ‘Oh Lord I’ll be 80 and Cal will be in his 30s’ or at least I hope I will.

"If anything, motherhood has made me healthier whereas when I didn’t have Cal I could be out every night going mad.

"I’m a lioness with Cal, he is my everything. I never had that feeling before in my life."

Derrane, who is back at the helm on the Afternoon Show with Daithí O’Sé, says she and John haven’t managed to find time for themselves.

"In some ways because it's all about the kid you end up not talking much to each other any more," she said.

"Maybe after they turn six that will change. Seriously, at least that's what I'm hoping, but we don't have time for date nights. It's a disaster. We'll have to try this year."

“As John is the government’s US envoy, he spent a lot of last year in America, so I spent more time with Cal. But I also think it’s good for children to spend time with other people, as Cal gets very dependent on me when I’m off work during the summer. He’s a mummy’s boy and always has been. I baby Cal too much but I can’t help it because he’s so cute.”

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