Tuesday, 8 January 2013

First day of school, ALONE

Before I can even finish writing about the second and third day of oriention, the report of Kah Yen's first full day school alone - which was yesterday - came to me, comforting but making me worry too.

Saying goodbye at the entrance is still a challenge. She clung to Daddy and refused to go in. Thankfully the teacher at the front desk was both gentle and firm. She brought her in, guided her to the bathroom to wash her hands, and along the way distracted her with pictures of flowers and fish. Hence there was no meltdown.

She finished 80% of her breakfast. But when it came to lunch, her appetite seemed to have increased after attending school. She finished one bowl of Dory fish porridge, and when teacher asked her if she wanted to have a second bowl, she said yes and went ahead to finish it. The first three days she finished her lunch too, and the third day she was also given a second serving. Never at home did she ever ask for more rice! Mealtime was one of my greatest concerns before I sent her to school, but now I am so happy to see that she not only eats on her own, but is also able to finish her food.

There was no meltdown throughout the day. She did not cry much except after shower, the hair dryer triggered it. She had never used a hair dryer before and she was terrified by the noise and the heat. I totally did not expect they will use hair dryer on the children, if I do, I would have reminded the teacher that she is scared of loud noises. At home she wouldn't go near the washing machine or vacuum machine when they are on. She cried for very long but eventually was calmed down and went on with other activities.

What I did not expect is, she did not take her nap. When I called the school at 2pm in the afternoon, I was told by the teacher she did not want to sleep. She did not cry or make any noise though, she just lay down on her mattress the whole time. She had never skipped a single day of afternoon nap before, I really worried if she had the energy to go through the entire afternoon without her nap, but she did. When she came back home with Daddy in the evening, I asked her "Did you sleep at school today?". She said "No". I think other than the new environment, another reason could be she thought we are going to pick her after lunch and bring her back to sleep. That's what I did for the first three days since it was half day. Though we had told her on Monday she will stay there for a whole day and Daddy will only come to pick her up after work, I think she was still not able to fully understand the concept of time yet. I repeated to her again the schedule and told her she needs to sleep together with the other kids, to which she replied "Okay". Hopefully it won't take too long before she gets used to sleep at school.

Sleeping is the only major issue for now. The teacher commented Kah Yen is independent and well-behaved. She is also impressed that Kah Yen can understand and follow instructions both in English and Chinese. She told me she is confident that Kah Yen will adapt to the new environment very soon.

I am grateful for the teacher's comments and for her confidence in Kah Yen. I too believe that she will adapt in no time and she will thrive at this school. These few days I have learnt that there are actually so many details to take note in order to help young kid to adapt to a new environment and a new schedule, we have never known all these. I hope she will be patient with us and her teachers along this journey.

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