The start of 2013 marked the first few weeks of full day childcare for Xi En.
As many parents were; I was more anxious than him. Prior to this preschool; last year, we sent him to a 1/2 day preschool which he didn’t last very long. He was not exactly that happy in the school and the separation anxiety was much more pronounced then. After a full bout of bronchiolitis and a week+ stay in the hospital, we withdrew him from school and kept him at home. Shortly after, his never-ending energy got the better of us; and we packed him off to a 2 hourly weekly neighbourhood toddlers’ class. Xi En was very happy with the arrangements and settled down really well. Perhaps the short hours helped him coped better with germs and familiarity of going home real fast.
Quick as a wink, he graduated! The class does not take in kids beyond 3 years old! He had a mini-graduation in class and fell in love with the graduation song “Auld Lang Syne”. He loved the tune and hummed the song till today; remembering the days of care-free play.
This year, it’s serious business. The decision to place him in a full day childcare was deliberated many times over before we took the plunge. The key consideration is – his health. We or rather I was worried about the cleanliness of the school/teachers/children and if he could ever take an afternoon nap in school above many other worries. After visiting almost 20 preschools in our area and my mum’s; we decided on the one I felt had the cleanest toilets and environment. Understandably, there is no prefect school; but we took pains to visit every school to minimise the transition anxiety and maximise the potential benefits both to us and him.
Given that I do have a very flexible job schedule, we could have enrolled him in a 1/2 day program instead. But the thought of a hyper-energised boy with a crying-for-milk new born freaked me out. The impending delivery of No.2 sealed the decision. I need some sanity too….
I am very proud of Xi En. After much mental preparation and visits to the new school, he was all prepped to go to school on the first day. New uniforms; favourite school bag and all-things-new helped to keep away the tears. He walked into school without any tears and was whisked into the assembly room swift and quick by the teachers. I probably needed a tissue more than him. He did fairly well in the first week; save a crying session because the teachers forgotten not to wash his hair. He’s paranoid about the shower head and refused to allow water trickling down his face (even at home). We picked him up at mid day on the first week to allow slow transition and to help with my separation anxiety. Without a bouncing bunny around at home; I was turning into a couch potato.
The 2nd week ended earlier with a bout of low grade fever; cough and flu. We went full force into traditional chinese medicine coupled with western medicine to ensure that we supress the viruses as fast as possible. He had a successful first nap in school on the 3rd week of school & seemed much more settled down into the weekday routines. Well.. he still refused food which is not to his liking; can’t sleep on certain hyper days and kept asking why he has to go to school. But otherwise, he seemed so grown-up and understood that he has to go to school so that Daddy can go to work, Mummy can nest at home and Po Po can do housework. One of the days, I caught him fighting off tears which had swelled up at the corner of his eyes when we dropped him off. But without any complaints; he waved goodbye to us and followed his teacher.
I fully agree that letting go is helping him. But it’s oh-so-heartaching to see him trying to be mature and growing up sensibly. I wished I could still hold him in my arms; cradle him like a little baby and protect him from this real world. But of course, this is part and parcel of growing up. My little baby had grown up so much; to protect him is to let go. And I know he will do beyond just fine.
Love you, mummy’s darling boy! Jia you!