Tuesday 16 August 2016

My Boy's First Week of School

We have registered our boy in a pre-school across the road from our block in January this year, after we had confirmed our purchase of our first home (more on that coming up!). We told them that we'll only be able to start in July/August, after we have moved in. They were ok with that as we had placed a deposit with them.

After we moved in end July, we decided that he should start on 1 August. As this was not my first time sending a kid to child care (read about our hunt for a childcare and my girl's first week of school) so I kinda knew what to expect...

Tears, and more tears. That's what.


Day 1

Knowing that my children are more well-behaved with me than with the doting mum-in-law (I'm the main disciplinarian in the house), I would be responsible for bringing my boy to school, at least for the first month.

We got the boy to put on his shoes to walk to school and he was extremely excited because he thought that I was going to bring him out "gai gai". I got him to carry his school bag and walked with him to his school.

The child care recommends that the first 3 days be half days and that parents are allowed to enter the premise so that the child can slowly ease into an unfamiliar environment.

After the children sang the National anthem and took the pledge, the teachers took the N1 and N2 children out for a nature walk around the neighborhood (they also said hi to the elderly folks along the way which brightened up their morning).

Walking with his peers
(Halfway he cried to be carried and I couldn't carry him the whole journey so he had to walk reluntantly while wiping away his tears)

It was not easy for any child to transition but my boy's difficulty was mainly due to the defined structure that he now had to follow whenb he had been so carefree the last 2 years, doing whatever and whenever he likes. He didn't want to join in any of the activities, preferring to play by himself at the toy cupboard.

Entertaining himself with all the toys in the school

His teacher told me to let him be; they usually allow them to have more freedom in the first few weeks so that they can get used to the environment.

When it was time for lunch, my boy ate everything in his bowl and even asked for more. The teachers were very pleased because it meant that at least they weren't going to have problems with him at meal times.

Eating from his bowl independently and enjoying his apple after he was done

We decided to not bathe him because he hates baths in general (for some strange reason). And since he's only there for half a day, I decided to bring him home.

I thought that went quite well for a first day but I knew not to celebrate yet. There's more to come.

Day 2

The teacher told me that I can start releasing him so I spent an hour with him in the school before telling him that I needed to eat my breakfast (which was true) and that I will be back to pick him afterwards. I hugged, said goodbye and walked away. He cried immediately and it was a terrible feeling but I knew I had to do it.

I know some people prefer to just secretly disappear when the child's not looking but I find that that will make the child more insecure. It's better to tell them upfront and when they see that you did fulfill your promise to come back, they are more willing to trust you the next time.

I had a long and leisurely breakfast by myself at the nearby coffee shop where I actually managed to finish a whole blog post (blogging on my phone comes very naturally to me now). Feeling accomplished, I walked back to the child care to take a peek at how my boy is doing.

Watching him feed himself while staying hidden behind a cupboard
Teacher interacting with him

When he wasn't looking, his teacher had a chat with me and told me that he only cried for a few minutes after I had left. She thinks he's doing very well. I was very heartened to hear that!

He caught me peeking at him from the side and gave me a sneaky smile but did not run to me. Good boy =)

He was delighted when it was time to go home and happily waved goodbye to his teachers.

Day 3

I was going to continue working from home today but since he had done well the day before, I decided to drop him off and pick him after noon (since he's still on half day).

When I handed him to his teacher, he started crying and I had to do the same thing that I did the day before, say goodbye and go. It was so painful =(

I got held up at the office so when I came to pick him up close to 1pm, he was already asleep with the rest of the kids! Not wanting to wake him, I told the teacher that I'll come get him later in the afternoon. I was pretty thrilled with his progress so far but I knew from experience that this is just the beginning.

Day 4

The daddy and I both dropped him off this morning because the long term plan is for the daddy to send the boy to school while I send the girl. Unfortunately, he knows his daddy dotes on him too so my boy regressed, cried really hard, tried to hide behind his daddy and refused to go in. He didn't behave like this when I brought him to school! *sigh*

Crying and not wanting to go to school
(I feel you Baby Boy, I don't want to go to work too)

Apparently he behaved equally badly when the mum-in-law came to pick him. So much so that even his teacher commented that there is a stark difference in his behaviour than when he was with me. Smart boy, he knows whose button he can push and get away with (-_-).

Day 5

After all the hoo-ha yesterday, I decided that I will continue bringing my boy to school alone to ensure he behaves well.

I will also have to dress him in his uniform (usually mum-in-law takes care of dressing the kids; I know, I'm spoilt) because he kicks up a big fuss every morning and refuses to wear it. He now knows that whenever he's wearing his uniform, he has to go school. Smart boy =/

By the time we got into the lift alone, just him and me, he makes that "I'm trying so hard to be brave but I wanna cry cos I'm scared but I can't" face which really kills me. Poor boy.

I have to say, I'm proud of boy for being so brave and walking to school with me (without asking to be carried) even though he really didn't want to. He's really growing up!

And the school is good for him; I noticed that he is speaking a lot more, joining other children in activities, doing things independently, etc. All the things that I had hoped when I first made the decision to send him to school.

Hopefully he will continue to love school and we will have less problems with him every morning..

Although who am I kidding? My kids are night owls like the hubby and I. They'll never be completely ok with waking up early and going to school just like we will never be completely ok with waking up early and going to work. But well, that's just the life of night owls I guess *laughs*

And this is only the first week. More whining and crying to be expected once the boy realises this is going to be forever and not just a one time thing. Wish me luck *cross fingers*
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