Parts of this post were drafted a while ago and only posted now intentionally.
Last day of school. I think I am definitely more emotional than M about his last day at school.
Originally I had planned to throw a little farewell party for him so that he could hand out some treats to his classmates. But his school had arranged a year-end party on this day, so I dropped the idea. I explained to him a few times before that, after today, he won't be returning to this school anymore and that he won't be seeing the same teachers and kids anymore. He seems fine. He said he understands and is looking forward to the new school. Ok then. But I still feel the knots in my stomach.
When it was time for him to say goodbye to his teachers, his little face finally betrayed some emotions. His eyes were a little wet and red and his mouth pouted, just a wee bit. Aww... my baby, I had to give him a big cuddle.
I really like his teachers. However, I feel the change is good for him and after months of deliberation and finally making the decision, we are sticking to it. I hope I am right.
First day at the new kindy.
First day at the new kindy.
I think it is normal to feel a little of the 'post-purchase dissonance', which I did. The whole morning, I kept wishing that he is going to feel alright in his new school. I reasoned that it is not a big deal really. After all, even he were to stay in his previous school, he would still have to leave the place when it is time to join the Primary school. Kids are adaptable and I will help him along.
Joining this new kindy means a change in our daytime routine. After lots of consideration, we decided to place Chip in the same place for now, which hopefully will make a difference to their settling in. I took the boys to the school for observation during lesson time, a few times before registering them, just to gain their approval. They kept saying they are keen to join the kids in the school.
When we got to school this morning, both boys were reluctant to join their respective classes. After some coaxing, M showed a brave face, fought back tears and followed his new classmates into class. The whole routine is very different from his previous school which had no assembly and kids just go straight to their own classes. For this one, they spend 20 min daily assembled at a hall for various activities before being dispersed.
I followed Chip to his class and stayed through the whole session. He was free to explore the play stations and just played the toys instead of joining the activities. That was a good move by the teachers. After about 10 min, he was roaming around confidently and happily. At one point when the class was singing Chinese songs, he even wandered over, squeezed his way into the group and sat amongst them. That lasted for 10 min before he made his way back to the toys.
He self-fed his lunch and interacted with the teachers and kids. When a child cried, he even went over to ask 'hey, what's the matter?' in a lovingly concerned tone. :> But when I finally made excuses trying to leave the room for a while, he cried big time. Though eventually he settled down. He is a sociable and confident boy, so I am sure he will be fine within days.
Both boys looked fine after school. When we asked M how his first day of school was like, he replied, 'I didn't sing because I was shy. And when I am shy, I just want to roar at the new friends like a dinosaur and scare them away.' Aww....
Second day at new school.
I brought both boys up to the waiting area to have their temperature taken (precautions due to current H1N1). A teacher came to lead them to toilet to wash hands and Chip got dragged along.
That poor little kid didn't know what was going on and just looked lost. Out of the toilet and he was ushered along the corridor to the hall with the othrs. When he finally realised mummy was not next to him, he wailed so loud and struggled so hard to escape the 'clutches' of the teacher. My heart broke. I called out 'Peanut, mama is here! I am here, Peanut! I will be waiting here for you. Just follow M and the teachers.'
By now, his face was already red with emotions and wet with tears. I didn't care what the teachers would say, rushed over and picked him up. Cuddled and whispered to him. His Chinese teacher arrived and took him over from me. He looked so scared. Repeatedly shouting in between screams 'Mummy! I want my mummy! Mummy, wait for me!'.
When they finally came back to the classroom, N had stopped crying. But I made the mistake of peeping at him and he caught a glimpse of him. That started the crying again. Then I heard his heartwrenching pleas to his teacher who was holding him, 'i want my mummy, please let me find my mummy. I really like to cuddle my mummy. only my mummy, please. i really like my mummy.' Aww.... my baby... :< When he finally stopped, 20 min later, I left the school with a heavy heart.
I checked on M in his class while waiting for N to stop crying and saw him enjoying his lunch. His teacher told me after school that he has settled in quite nicely. Ate 3 bowls at lunch and participated already, though still a little reserved. But that is good enough for me. I am sure he will be chatty as ever real soon once he makes some friends.
At dismissal, I went 10 min early and saw Peanut sleeping in teacher's arms. So he ate his lunch, played a bit, then cried a bit when he suddenly remembered me. When teacher suggested he call me, he went to the toy phone 'Mama, why are you so late? Come quick!'. So there were a few rounds of crying, coaxing, stopping etc... and finally he got tired and fell asleep after their outdoor playtime. Poor baby.
I decided to skip assembly totally and brought the boys in a little late so they could go straight to class. He was happy to put on his school uniform and make our way to school. But once he saw his teachers, he turned back with tears in his eyes and started running towards me. I didn't want to enter the classroom this time, so I handed him over to his teacher, told him I love him so much, that I will be waiting outside etc etc.. and left the room. I was waiting just outside the room for almost half hour, listening to his crying and occasionally peeking to be sure he was being taken care of.
Poor little peanut cried for the full 30 min before settling down. In between sobs, I could see him chewing his lunch and looking at the floor. Broke my heart again. Hmmm.... it is never easy to have to watch our babies go through this, despite the fact that I have seen it before with M and knew that he will be (should be, in most cases) fine. Just give him time.
For the last few days, M has been telling me how much he is enjoying school. It is very fun. He likes the teachers and the work. He doesn't miss his previous school or teachers. Not even his ex-classmates. Maybe just one boy - Taran. In fact, he has been saying such sensible things, like how he wants to be clever and going to school will make him clever. So he wants to go to school and learn. Wow! I asked him if the teachers said that to him. He just insisted that nobody did. He just feels this way.
Chip has finally stopped crying. He has been making progress, albeit a little each day. The last few days, he has even admitted that he had fun in school, though he still misses mummy and it makes him sad to have to go to school. But he settles down quite fast upon entering the classroom now and today, he didn't shed a tear when I passed him over to the teacher.