|Not everyone takes to school immediately. - Reuters photo
I SPEAK KID
By ELAINE DONG
I wanted to make the title of this column “10 things to do to make the first week of school great.” I can’t, because I have done 100 things and the first few days of school for my four-year-old daughter Lauren have just been horrible.
The first day actually went surprisingly well, and I now know it was a complete fluke. She cried when we dropped her off, but otherwise had a good day in class.
On the second day, she started crying when she woke up, but she let me change her into her uniform while crying. The third day was epic. She refused to wear her uniform, and after 40 minutes of tantrums and tears, we managed to get her to change her shirt. This was followed by another 10 minutes of saying she hates everyone in the house before we got her to wear her skirt.
In the car, it was a great feat when we finally got her socks on, pun intended. But the shoes were no go.
So, as we carried a whimpering Lauren out of the car, I had to hoist her school bag, her water bottle and her shoes. We got them on just as we reached the classroom.
By this stage, she had already accepted that she had to go to school, no matter how she cried and raged.
She tearfully asked me to tell the teacher that she’d only be there for three hours, which I did. The teacher nodded very earnestly and said yes, it’ll only be three hours.
She finally relented and let the teacher take her into class. Still crying, I heard her ask in all seriousness, “Teacher, how long is three hours?”
You have to give it to her for persistence. I can tell you, I am NOT looking forward to the week ahead. I foresee a repeat of day three for many more weeks. What I don’t understand is, why do other parents get kids who hop and skip to class and never give a backward glance, and I get Miss Drama, twice?
My eldest, Angelica took one and a half years to get used to school, but her resistance wasn’t as flamboyant as Lauren’s. She had the usual tears and clinginess, but in hindsight, her tantrums were miniscule compared to her sister’s.
Usually, if you have a difficult first child, you would then cruise with the second, for that is how life works. You win some, you lose some.
So where is the cruising, I ask you? I am certainly not cruising. Where is MY easy second child? I also have to qualify the above incidences by saying I have been preparing Lauren for school since the beginning of the year.
In stages, I have brought her to buy a new schoolbag, and I let her choose her own stationery. She helped me label all her folders and uniforms, and we even played pretend school in the mornings before I left for work.
We talked about what school will be like, that she’ll be in a class with a teacher and other kids. We talked about making friends and sharing toys. The day school started, all that went out the window.
So now I go to work with a heavy heart, worrying about Lauren in school. Angelica is doing well, and recently, because of the epic tantrums at home, her father has been dropping her off to school first.
She then hops and skips up to class on her own, so at least she’s doing that.
It’s been a big week at home. My girls are growing up. After sending both to school, we come back to an empty house.
There’s no annoying Disney cartoon playing on the TV, and I don’t have to draw on one eyebrow and stop to drink pretend tea before I draw on the second one.
I can get ready in 10 minutes flat, as opposed to the long drawn-out half an hour because I kept getting interrupted by requests to play or to scratch a mosquito bite. I have been given the gift of time! I’ll learn to be happy about it.
Elaine cried every day before school until Primary Three, so she thinks this is karma. She blogs at angelolli.com.