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!


Lobang Mummy said...

i think your readers would have been anxiously waiting for this post. =)

u know, looking at Pic #2 of Fat looking lost, sometimes i feel a tad sorry for our kids. I mean c'mon, what were we doing when we were 3? We were running around in the field downstairs, playing hide and seek and catching grasshoppers. Of course, I was on the other end where I was homeschooled by Ah Yi for years lah and being forced to memorise the multiplication table before i was even in Kindergarten.

But Fat is not even 2 years 1 month old technically so it is hard for me to sit here, look at his photos and know that he must have felt so lost wondering what the hell hit him when he turned around and all of you were not there. But the system now is so crazy that we are sending our kids to 'school' at such a tender age. I know technically it is good for them with the exposure, socialisinge, etc., but it is still hard for me when I compare their era to our own.

Hope Fat continues to enjoy his class. =)

Wei Ling said...

I am so proud of Issac! Given that he just turned 2, he's already coping so well. He looks so cute with his uniform too.

My gal who is 2.5yrs old just started playgroup as well this Jan. This is her 2nd week and she is still crying and screaming for mummy and grandma whenever I left every morning. Sigh.. and the teacher told me she can start whining again for grandma in the middle of the class! I guessed I made a mistake in starting her for 4 hrs straight given that this is the first time she will be on her own... Its good that Issac's sch is starting them short for the initial period..

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Sis,

This post was indeed a little overdue.

Honestly the 2nd picture is not my favourite because looking at it gives me this sad and uneasy feeling like Isaac at such a young age was left to fend for himself.

We were all around him when this picture was taken. He was only left on his own when he is in the safety his classroom.

He is into his second week now and he looks like he is beginning to like it but I still have this uneasy feeling.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Wei Ling,

Like you we are also rather proud of him. But if you have been to his school you’ll soon realize that he is only one of the norm for there are not that many kids that cry.

He does look cute in his uniform but he is like a big boy now and I really wish they can all slow down their growth.

I would like to say it is maybe a girl thing because Hayley doesn’t like strangers as well but judging from Isaac’s classmates this theory doesn’t quite hold water.

I think we did the right thing by sending Isaac to those weekly enrichment classes to prepare him for N1 and we went with the softer approach by being there with him instead of going straight for the drop-off classes. If you have read it took Isaac a number of lessons before he was comfortable in the class. I’m sure it will not be long before she starts to enjoy learning and having her friends there.

Isaac’s class will be reverted back to the standard 3 hours after the Chinese New Year. Although I feel shortchanged (hahaha) for this 1st month but I believe it is generally better for the kids to adapt.

Good Luck!

no man's land said...

Isaac is a brave little boy. He'll adapt fast and will do well. Now you can rest your worried heart a little bit?

I think Yuqi won't do as well. The other day when we were at the mall, she was distracted for a while and when she turned around and could not spot her Daddy or me, she started wailing (even though we were standing right in front of her waiting for her). I cannot bear to imagine her first day in school. I have this nagging suspicion that I'll probably end up crying outside the class while my baby wails inside. =/

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Roanne,

Now that he has stopped crying when taken to his classroom I can relax a little bit more. However he still has the habit of turning cranky when Ani puts on the uniform for him. I wonder when will that go away.

I think what helped Isaac was my dad’s bringing him out to see people as well as the weekly enrichment class that he attended. When he was young he was already carried by many at the shopping mall opposite my dad’s place so perhaps that is why he is not afraid of strangers.

I’ll suggest you enroll her in a weekly play class and then when she is more comfortable enroll her in one of the drop-off classes. This should soften the effect when she has to attend N1 next year for the both of you.

Good luck!

bebe said...

haiz, 2 weeks into school and Amanda is down with fever and cough, so she has not been gg to school this week. She has been very gloomy and emo about going to school, and now she is sick.... not sure if I had sent her in too early. What do u think? She is only 1+ month younger than Isaac.

Charlene said...

Well done Isaac!

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Bebe,

If Amanda is 1+ month younger than Isaac this will make her under 2 years now right? Meaning she is not in N1 but playschool?

Personally I felt that at 2 Isaac is still too young to be attending N1 but what to do for he is a year end baby. If this is a playschool and only for a couple of hours each day then I think it is ok for her to learn, play and mingle with kids her age.

From what I understand kids will fall ill easier once they start school so how Amanda is feeling now could be due to the fact that she is not feeling well. She dislike school because she is feeling down and would like to spend time with her mummy instead.

Given time I’m sure she will learn to enjoy school. If this is indeed a playschool is there any chance you can perhaps change her to another class where parents are allowed? This might help her to settle in faster.

Just my 2 cents worth.

A Husband's Voice said...

Thanks Charlene!

Nicole said...

Hello Dylan,
That day, when I told my mum that Joy cried when she went to sch and that geo( my sis) felt like crying too, my mum asked me if I cried when I sent claire to sch. I told her that it's really a happy affair that they are going to sch to learn things and make friends and there's really nothing to cry about. Then my mum surprised me by admitting that she will cry if she's the one who sent claire to sch. I laughed at her... but now that I think about it, when it's cleo turn to go, I will probably cry too, as she's wary of strangers and are not so adaptable as compared to claire. I can easily replace the pic of Isaac being lost looking with cleo's face in it...ARGH! See how parents worried ourselves. :)

But having said all that, we can be rest assured that ALL the children will get used to school, eventually... It's just a matter of how long it will take.

Let's just hope that our kids will be those who can adapt faster. ;)

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Nicole,

When we went for the parents’ orientation the principal actually told us that it is not uncommon for mummies to cry during the first few days of school. She also warned that if your child sees you cry then it will affect them greatly.

I think most parents will feel uneasy by replacing their child’s face on Isaac’s in that picture. Even by looking at it now I have a heavy heart seeing that he is so small and look so helpless. It is really not one of my favourite pictures.

When do you intend to send Cleo for her N1? Middle of this year? Maybe you should consider sending her to those weekly enrichment classes just to prepare her. Like what we did for Isaac. We’re happy we did that because not only is he not shy with kids around him he also knows many of the phonics for the alphabets. I also like to think that it actually helped him settle down quicker for his N1.

There is a Chinese saying about parents worrying for their children which you must have heard. Loosely translated it will go something like “raising a kid for 100 years you will be worried for 99 of those years”.

True, all kids will adapt and it is really a matter of time. Speaking of which Isaac has this classmate who has been crying everyday till now. Let’s hope she overcomes it quick although we probably won’t be there to witness it as Isaac will be changing class soon.

Nicole said...

Yeah it's really more of a cantonese saying cause I heard it from my mum. Back then, I don't realize the significance of it but now that I'm a mother myself, it's another story!

It's really nothing surprising that mothers/ grandmothers feel like crying when their precious goes to sch. At least confirm case will be me, roanne and perhaps your sis? Haha!

I DO have the intention to send Cleo for enrichment classes as I have the same thinking as you, to warm them up and prepare them but I have yet to get down to doing it. It seems the principal deem Cleo as too young, probably I will try 3rd term or 4th term of sch. The idea of the bigger children( in terms of advanced months compared to Cleo )playing the playground and Cleo lagging behind kinda tug at my heart. I'm afraid that she will be physically wise lag behind. You know what i meant, don't you?

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Nicole,

Yes it is actually a Cantonese although I am sure there is probably something similar in Mandarin.

Maybe you are right about mums and grandmas crying when their precious goes to school. This is maybe a motherly thing.

I suggest that you let Cleo go for 2 terms of such weekly enrichment classes and then she can join the N1 when they are in the 3rd term. By then she should have gotten more comfortable with strangers and fellow children.

You should know that like you I was uncomfortable sending Isaac to class this year because he is a year end baby but surprisingly he is about the same size and height in class with the rest. So now I am not afraid that he will be lagging behind. His motor skill is rather good so I believe he should cope well. I’m sure Cleo will do better than Isaac since she can speak much better so you don’t have to worry.

Lobang Mummy said...

u know what? his stance in the the last pic reminds me of one of those superhero cartoon characters. just imagine him with a cape on!

Ronni said...

I'm your anonymous reader till now.
Thanks for helping me to get into a man's mind with regards to pregnancy and kids!

I am passing a blog award to you. Come collect it k?


A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Ronni,

Thanks for following my humble blog and also for the award.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you again and perhaps trying out the yummy cakes?