(Finally something made me want to blog again, and it had to be kid-related.)
Benji started kindergarten on Thursday and I need to record the event for posterity so obviously it has to be here.
I was almost certain Benji was going to bawl, because he is so not used to doing stuff unaccompanied by a familiar adult, particularly in new situations. In fact, earlier this year, I signed him up for an art class that was an unqualified failure, despite the very cute artwork that came home with him every week. Apart from the fact that the cutely designed craft work was 80% teacher, 20% Benji, he refused to sit there without my helper in sight although I had been told that she would only be allowed to sit there on the first day.
In the months running up to D-day we tried to get Benji excited about school. He was excited about school, and his experience at playgroup makes me sure that he will enjoy it eventually, but as soon as it sunk in that he’d have to go alone, he cooled on the idea, even outright declaring: “I don’t want to go to school.” So we began to play down the going-alone aspect and assuring him that we’d be with him “for a while”. He wasn’t convinced.
Nevertheless, on his first day, he was excited to put on his uniform and go to school accompanied by mummy and daddy. The crowd at the school did deter him, but the box of toys in the classroom distracted him. Unfortunately, he kept a close eye on us, and did not take kindly to us appearing about to leave. Eventually – in 15 minutes – we had to go, and he came running after us. At that point, I chickened out and let V do the needful. Tears on Benji’s part were involved.
The only heartening thing was that other kids were crying too. There were a couple who seemed fine and dandy but most were at varying levels of bawling. Later one parent told me that his daughter who had actually attending the same school for playgroup still cried on her first day of kindergarten as the teacher and classmates were different and the summer holidays had undone all the good work of the previous year.
The first day of school was only an hour long. When I lined up outside his classroom to pick him up and peeked in, Benji was sobbing and he caught my eye and mouthed: “I want to go home!” V commented that all the mums around looked about the burst into tears too. The dads were more stoic.
We treated Benji to a cream puff after and he soon reverted to his usual self, even saying “yes” when we asked him if he wanted to go to school again the next day.
The next day, however, he didn’t want to get out of bed. We had to coax him up, to eat and to take a bath. He had a sad face on all the way to the school. As we neared the building, he started crying and was sobbing before we went in. He calmed down when we got to his class and encouraged him to play but the waterworks were on in full force when we were leaving. We exited to the sound of him bawling. Not pleasant, I assure you.
Today, I am back at work and my helper took him in. He had forgotten about school until it was time for a bath and then he was crying at home because he didn’t want to go. My helper said that she didn’t get to drop him to the classroom and that he was crying when she picked him up.
The school did a lot of prepare us for this scenario and knowing my child, I am not surprised. Sometimes, the crying can go on for a month. I only hope Benji adjusts soon and starts to enjoy school.
Updated: Yesterday Benji finally mentioned he learnt some songs at school and even broke into the ABC song. We were astonished to hear him sing the whole song. Although it’s quite possible he knew it before he started school, as he’s been listening to it for ages, he never sang it for us right through before. I guess there’s some point to school then.
And today, Benji was super happy because there’s a Typhoon 3 signal and he doesn’t need to go to school.