Thursday, 28 January 2010

From PM to AM

I mentioned in an earlier post that this year will bring many changes for Isaac but I wasn’t counting on two things. Firstly Isaac had to re-experience another learning environment so soon after starting school and secondly, I had to wake up before 7 each morning from now on.

This week is like another new school term for Isaac because we had switched him to a morning class. We were all along hoping to get into the morning session but at the time of application for this school we were already on the waitlist so there was no need to even discuss which session we preferred. When they called us to tell us that they were opening new classes we happy to be have Isaac enrolled even if he was assigned to the afternoon session.

Then came the call last Thursday. I was offered the chance to move Isaac to the morning session. I told the lady I need to discuss this with the Mrs, Ani and my parents before getting back to them. After all it involves a number of people when it comes to sending and picking him up from school.

Surprisingly everyone agreed that it is a good move although my mum was a little reluctant. Like me she was concerned about Isaac having to readapt to another class and teachers. He has just gotten used to the original class as well as the teachers, he would even say goodbye to my dad when entering the classroom, and we have to move him now.

He being in the morning session is good for everyone because this way the Mrs and I get to drop him off at the school each morning while my dad only has to pick him up at 11am. This compared to when he was in the afternoon session and my dad had to send and pick him. I believe deep down we all know this is a better arrangement even though we know Isaac might have to “suffer” a little during the first week or so. Better now then when he is really comfortable months later right?

This Monday was a little trying for all of us. We used to be able to sleep till about 7.30 each morning but we have to wake up like latest by 7 each morning. In order not to be late we will have to organize our own things each night.

As expected Isaac was not too happy when he was introduced to his new classroom and teachers. He actually turned cranky and cried a little when we handed him over to the new form teacher.

Oh I forgot to add that because most of the students in this new class are rather settled down, the teacher has decided to allow the kids to stay for the entire 3 hours. Parents who are concerned can choose to still pick up their kids half way. When I was given the option last week I had already decided to let him stay for the full 3 hours. I had an agreement with the teacher though, I will be on standby somewhere and if she finds that Isaac cannot last the 3 hours she is to call me and I will pick him up. Hence I was on childcare leave on Monday.

Besides getting a little cranky for the first 2 mornings when we led him to his class Isaac actually did quite well. He lasted the 3 hours and was seen having fun in class. The next two days he fared even better for he isn’t as cranky. There is however still this little issue that we have to sort out. He doesn’t like us to put on the socks and shoes for him. This has been the case since day 2 of the term. Each time someone puts on the socks and shoes for him he will refuse and cry.

Initially we thought that perhaps the shoes were tight so he was uncomfortable so the Mrs and I went out one evening to buy him bigger size shoes. Isaac is wearing size 6 now so we wanted to get size 7 but with a little silver on the side. They only had size 8 for that so I told the Mrs to buy it and pick another one in size 7. My rationale is he will be wearing it eventually anyway. At least this saves me the trouble of having to search in the future.

His current size 6

His new size 7 shoes on standby.

His size 8 shoes for the future!

Can you tell the difference?

The best part is we realized after we got home that actually his size 6 shoes are still alright. It might be another few more weeks before he needs to change them. So now we are back at where we started. Why doesn’t he like us to put the socks and shoes on? Some might say it could be psychological as in he doesn’t want to go to school but if that is the case then he should have cried each morning when Ani puts on the uniform for him. Any suggestions or advice from you experience parents will be appreciated.

Speaking of socks, something happened many months ago and I thought I should share with you for I find it quite funny.

I bought myself a few pairs of socks to wear with my snickers and when the Mrs saw it for the first time she remarked:

Notice the 'L' on the sock?

Mrs (a little proud and a little mockingly at the same time): Wah someone has to wear size “L” socks now ah?

Me (a little worried and walking hurriedly over): Sure or not? Can’t be right? Thought they are all free size?

Mrs (teasingly): You see. (Pointing the L on my sock)

Notice the 'R'?

Me (relieved and proudly): Aiya no lah! Hello! “L” is for left! See! (Picking up the other sock)

Mrs: hahahahaha (I could have sworn I could almost sense the disappointment in her)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

First week in school

Do you all remember how it all went down during your very first day of school? I for one remembered mine very clearly for some strange reason. It was not as if it was very traumatic in the first place.

Like most of you (I imagine we are all about the same age right?) I did not attend any playschool or nursery so my first year was straight to kindergarten and I attended the good old neighbourhood PAP ones.

From what I can recalled my Mum was asking me if I would cry in school and I assured her that I would not but I was affected by the other crying kids (really it’s true) and ended up crying too. What happened next was very interesting. I remembered that there was this dark kitchen in the PAP facility and the teachers were taking the crying kids, one at a time, into the kitchen area only to return without them. Suddenly alarm bells started going off in my mind. I probably thought that the teachers brought the noisy kids in to be slaughtered so I stopped crying there and then. As I got older I learned that the teachers brought the cry babies to their parents through the backdoor.

That was about my experience but guess you weren’t here for that right? What you really want to know is how Isaac fared during his first week in school. Not how his old man went through all those years ago.

You will be glad to know that Isaac did extremely well on his first day. You can tell he was excited and he even posed for some photo taking. He was also excited to be carrying his own bag and tumbler. When we arrived he was quietly observing everything that was happening around him and wasn’t cranky at all. He walked quietly besides my dad and was led into his classroom unknowingly. Since we opted not to remain in class we left the classroom as soon as he was in. The poor fellow didn’t even know what hit him. He probably turned around and no one was there anymore.

He was alright in the beginning sitting down at the same table while a mum was reading to her child. He then got bored and wandered around on his own. However he soon started to miss us and wanted to go to the main door and that was when the teacher picked him up but he continued to point at the door. She then carried him to all the different corners of the classroom to try and distract him but we could see that he was pouting and his eyes were red and teary but full credit to him for he did not cry (yes, to this father, tearing and crying are two different things). Not wanting to risk being spotted by him, kids know to look at the glass panel on the doors; we left to do our own things only to come back about 15 minutes before his classes finishes to pick him.

When we came back we were glad to see that he was all settled down and looked to be having fun although he wasn’t smiling. He was one of the first few to be released and to see the bright and cheeky smile certainly helped us, the parents and grandparents overcome our anxiety. It is also good to learn that my boy does not bare grudges and yes you read right, Isaac was indeed escorted by 4 adults on his first day of school.

The feedback from his teacher was he only cried when she asked him to eat his meal. We forgot to mention to her in the beginning that he is not too big on eating so let him be if he chooses not to eat. Hence without knowing the teacher tried to get him to eat time and again which Isaac must have felt like being forced to eat hence he cried. He apparently returned to his usual self once meal time was over.

On his second day we could sense that something was wrong because he refused to put on the uniform and when we put on his white shoes he cried. I was worried that he would remembered his 1st day in school and not be as cooperative for the coming days and my worry came through but only to a certain extend.

Thankfully he was only a little cranky when putting on his uniform and he was alright during the journey to school. He only acted up again when I carried him into the hall leading to his class. By the time we entered his classroom he was crying already. I did what I was supposed to do and that was to simply hand him to the teacher and left the classroom with him crying.

During the next 10 minutes or so we were playing hide and seek by the glass panel trying to catch a glimpse to see if he had stopped or was he still miserable. I am proud to say that he stopped crying within 5 minutes of me leaving him. Since his class was only for 1.15 hours during this 1st month we waited in school and we made regular visits to take a peek at how he was doing.

The same continued for the 3rd day and we saw improvement on Thursday and Friday for my dad reported that although he turned cranky at home when they changed him, he did not cry in school at all.

That ended our very nervous first week of Isaac attending school. I am truly grateful that he did not cry and wailed like some of the other kids. Looking at the parents’ body language and apologetic look, I almost wanted to go over and tell them that it was okay and as fellow parents, we understand.

Fussing over and getting him ready for his 1st day in school.

Waiting in line to be brought to his class. Looked kind of lost ya?

His cheeky self before school!

Friday, 8 January 2010

'Motherly' Father

This week I have seen the Mrs sniggered and roll her eyes at me countless times. Looking back now it is also possibly the one week that I feel most maternal. I was so stressed up by Isaac going to school that there wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t check, double and triple check with the Mrs on the things that we need to prepare.

There were times that I deliberately added in some stuff just to get on her nerve for rolling her eyes at me.

Me: Oh! Have we washed his uniform?

Mrs: (gave me the ‘here-we-go-again’ smile) Don’t know.

Me: Oh! We have to prepare the fruit too.

Mrs: (didn’t even bother to reply. Just continued with her ‘smile’)

Me: What about his tumbler? We need to replace this one since he can’t open or close on his own.

Mrs: (again no response. Not even a smile now. Just continued reading her magazine)

Me: (a little irritated by now) Hey! We have not even prepared his pencil case and stationery.

Mrs: (very irritated by now. Rolled her eyes) Ai yo! He doesn’t need pencil and stationery yet!

Me: (with a smug look) I know!

I can’t really blame her but at the same time it is also not really my fault. I was merely thinking out loud while driving. Plus the fact is we really have not gotten some of the stuff ready till today.

We actually got him a new tumbler some months back but we learned later that he is not able to open and close the catch on his own for it is very tight. Guess we’ll have to bring him along this weekend to pick another one.

The school requires him to bring an uncut fruit everyday and we hadn’t gotten that yet but in her defense it is probably better to buy them nearer Monday.

Besides the above there are other issues as well.

Me: How do you think they are going to manage bringing the kids up and down the stairs? Isaac will have problem because he needs to hold on to the side railings.

Mrs: (a little annoyed) I’m sure the school knows what to do.

Me: (picturing him and his classmates struggling at the stairs) Oh I know! I’m sure they will use the lift. They have to use the lift right since I’m sure many of the N1 kids will not be so good at climbing up and down the stairs yet.

Mrs: (shook her head)

The below happened last night on our way home from my parents’ place.

Me: Ani, have you washed Isaac’s uniform?

Mrs: (the same ‘smile’ again)

Ani: Yes. They’re washed.

Me: What is that smile for?

Mrs: (really trying hard not to laugh) No, I was playing with Luke that’s all.

Me: Eh?! I think he has not gotten the school socks yet right? It was out of stock right?

Ani: Yup. We do not have his socks yet.

Me: Then how?! (picturing him in his white shoes without socks)

Mrs: (irritated) Ai ya! We let him wear normal white socks for the first day lah!

Me: Oh ya, right! (silly smile)

Actually I may have inherited this behaviour from my mum or maybe I was the one who influenced her.

She knew I was trying to get Isaac accustomed to his bag by pinning the Mickey Mouse button and name tag. One day while she was showing Isaac his bag with the Mickey Mouse and trying to reinforce the idea into him, she went up to my dad as well and told to remember to pick up the right bag.

According to Ani the conversation went something like this.

Mum: Eh, you make sure you remember to pick up the right bag ya? The one with the Mickey Mouse button and name tag.

Dad: (finding it funny and annoying at the same time) Ya lah! I’m already in my 60’s so I’m sure I’ll know which bag is his ok?! Sheez.

The Mrs complained that it is only his Nursery 1 and I am behaving like this she can’t imagine what I will do when he attends Primary 1. However I have the feeling that I may not be so anxious because this is after all his very first day in a school. By the time he attends Primary 1 he would have four years or training in a school environment so I should be able to fare better.

Well let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We’ll have to see what both Isaac and I are made of first come Monday. After that I have the twins’ first day of school to handle. Will it be double the anxiousness for me?

Monday, 4 January 2010

The student, the stand and plastic cups

Many look forward to the New Year as it brings along new hope and new beginnings. For others it could mean new environment and new people in their lives. For Isaac this year will surely bring many new and exciting changes for him.

For starter he will be officially going to Nursery 1 in exactly one week’s time. Till now I am still very nervous on this behalf. I am preparing myself for his teary eyes and maybe even wails. I remembered asking a reader how did she cope sending both her daughters to school last year and she said the best thing to do is for us to simply drop them off and go for our own cuppa and be back in time to pick him up later. This is the same advice given by the Principal. She claims it is better for the child in the long run and will help him/her settle in much faster. So this is exactly what we will do. We made up our mind during the ‘meet-the-parents’ session and there is no turning back now.

People have been asking me if I have prepared Isaac for school but besides telling him I am not sure what else is there to do. I’m rather certain he does not even grasp the concept of school yet. The closest thing to school for him was the weekly enrichment class that he attended. All I can do now is perhaps to let him get used to his school bag. We were told by his form teacher to help him identify his school bag for all the kids are carrying the bags. To achieve this we have decided to add a couple of the Mickey Mouse (his favourite cartoon character for now) pin and tag on his bag.

Below are some pictures of him in his school uniform.

Yes the pants look a little to big but they are already the smallest!

Now even the shirt looks big!

Looks better sitting down, I think.

Finally a close up on his cheekyness

I really like his smile on this picture. Very natural.

I heard that it is usually harder for the fathers to let go when it comes to things like this. Is this true? The Mrs seems pretty relaxed about the whole thing so far. I believe Sunday will be a sleepless night for me.

Meanwhile the twins are making good progress of their own. They have just turned 11 months yesterday and Luke is defying all the saying about girls being faster. Up till now he is usually about a couple of weeks ahead of Hayley in terms of development.

He started to sit up first before Hayley can sit on her own a week of two later. Luke is also the first to crawl and is still crawling faster and steadier than Hayley. These days Luke is showing signs that he is ready to make his own stand, literally. He is able to stand unassisted for about 5 seconds or so. He usually helps himself up with our bed and then let go before falling on his bum. Hayley while standing assisted doesn’t look too keen on making her own stand yet.

Looking at them now we are gearing up for the chaos that they will bring once they are able to walk and run. As it is we are having a hard time caring for them alone when they decide to crawl in the opposite direction while Isaac is happily running around and climbing up and down. I do not believe anything in the world can truly prepare for what we are about to face.

I told the Mrs a couple of weeks ago that we may have to forgo eating out for the next 2 to 3 years if Isaac’s current behaviour is anything to go by. While it is easier to sit him down in the highchair when we eat, his patience will not last long.

There are usually a few things that we can do to distract him. Perhaps this might come in handy for you too.
We start off by letting him have his own cutleries and place some food on his plate and let him have his way with it. Half the times he will be succeed in feeding himself while other times we will see him spilling the food on the floor or on himself.

Once he has had enough of the food he will want to get off or will target our ice water or whatever cold drinks we have on the table. These days we have to resort to telling the waitresses not to bring us our ice water until we tell them to. Isaac has developed the habit of pouring water from one cup to another. We have resorted to bringing small plastic cups (those that the restaurants give out for ice water) out so that he can last that much longer in the highchair while we gobble down our food. The end result for his is usually Isaac wetting himself with the water in the cups.