Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Marcus' First Day of School

Day 1 of School

Officially the first day of school for M, also known as the familiarisation day which last 1 hr, instead of normal 3 hrs. 

It is great that E took the whole week off sensing the significance of this week to all of us. It is all so exciting to us all as parents, though the little boy doesn't really care. We tried to excite him a lot last night (well, we tried, but he doesn't seem very excited) and we ALL woke up at 630am (mostly because N woke us up) and woke M up at 720am. 

It rained, so got E to carry him to school. When we got to the main entrance at 9am, he refused to enter and cling to my legs. I picked him up just as we were welcomed by the principal whom he recognised. Then we were shown his classroom and the lead teacher came, but he still refused to enter the room. We stood outside to take some pictuers of him with his schoolbag and he even did a cute smile for the camera.

It was really impressive to see so many kids happily working on different materials concurrently in the room with only 2 teachers around. Many look older than M and they all seem so calm, happy and concentrating on their work. A little boy, Bryan came and stood at the door and watched M, with a little concerned look and the principal asked him if he was going to show M around. He nodded and I felt some comfort to see such care and concern among his peers and NO ROWDY kids. 

M still refused to enter, but I was advised by the principal to pass him to the teacher. I thought it would be better to trust the teachers too, though I was a little concerned when M started crying and hugged me tighter. I passed him over while assuring him that he will be fine with the teachers/friends and we are going to be outside waiting for him. We were told to sit near the office to wait for another 5 to 10min to give him time to calm down. 

It was quite heart wrenching as we could still hear him cry though we were 6 to 8 metres away. The teacher went back in and he promptly calmed down a few min later. Went to peep and could see stop crying, wiped his tears off his face himself while she talked to him. I could see him answered some questions that she asked, though I couldn't hear what. He just nodded repeatedly. Then he sat on her lap and looked at some materials that she was showing him. I was so relieved, happy and at the same time want to run in and give my baby a big cuddle. 

I felt some strong emotions rushing through me while standing at the one-way mirror admiring him. He started pasting tiny pieces of triangles on some drawings pre-drawn by teachers and seemed to have settled quite a bit. We were told to go wait outside the school now so they could take him out to toilet and they will bring him out at 10am. At 10am sharp, a teacher brought him to the main door of the school and he looked so small, carrying his little Thomas Tank Engine schoolbag in one hand. The moment he saw me, he looked around and didn't see E. Instantly, his lower lip curled down a little, asked me in a small voice "where is papa?" and looked a little sad. 

Aww.. I quickly picked him up, gave him a tight squeeze and explained papa is waiting at home for him. I realised he didn't bring out any of the work he did in school when all the other kids who started school today brought out something, so asked him if he wants to ask teacher for them or wait till tomorrow. He said "wait till tomorrow, we go home now". 

Wanted me to carry him all the way home, so he held onto to my lightweight brolly while I carried him, the whole time, he tried real hard to keep it straight. On way back, I asked him lots of questions about what he did in school, if he did this or that, if he made any friends, know any of their names etc. etc.. he either answered yes or ignored me. 

Once home, E welcomed him at the door, he promptly ran in to give papa a hug. Asked him what he did in school, but he just kept quiet and looked out of window while on papa's lap. He just kept asking to watch Ice Age. 

I think he was a little upset about the whole experience, but not traumatised. I like to think that it is quite normal behaviour and hope that he will adjust fairly quickly. Later today when he was out with me, he sudddenly said "mummy I like teacher Nazia". When I asked him why, he won't reply. But still it has to be a good sign.

M woke at 7am today but was really grumpy. Didn't want to change out of pajamas, wash face or brush teeth. Had to bribe with bus ride to school, though it was only a bus stop away. 

Got to school, refused to enter. Wanted to be carried, so I carried him while coaxing him to go into class with teacher Nazia. He kept saying 'no, don't want to go inside' when suddenly an Indian woman snatched him from my arms and passed him to teacher and shooed me out of the school, told me to wait outside and will invite me back 5 min later to check on him, that teacher will handle him. I was both shocked and so annoyed at the manner my crying son was snatched from my arms and not gently, but forcefully. 

Poor M was probably shocked for being forcefully taken away from his mummy, something which has never happened before. Later I found out that is the principal and owner of school. Even more shocking to realise that this is how she deals with children who are upset. 

Irene was not there, so there was no chance to speak to her about it, though twice in the remaining hour, this Indian woman did ask me if I want to see him again and I went peeping for a while. He had calmed down, and was picking up black beans and putting them into a small bowl and another time I saw him looking at something which teacher was showing him and teacher wiping his nose with a tissue paper.

At end of one hr (instead of 3hr today, probably 'cos he was crying when first entered class, so they decided 1hr is enough today), he came out holding his little schoolbag. When he saw me, he had such a bright smile and said hello to me. One won't be able to tell that he was upset about school, if not for the wet eyelashes. He even said he enjoyed school and like teacher Nazia, then promptly added that 'it makes teacher Nazia happy'. Asked him if it makes Marcus happy and he said yes. He must have learnt that from what I said to him recently that when he says he loves mummy or likes baby bro', it makes us happy. Gosh! I hope that is the right thing to teach him, I wonder if it will make decide to like someone, just to make them happy, instead of really liking them.

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