I would have wanted my first post of the year to be a happy one, but the most significant item on my mind is that An has started school at the tender age of two years and two months, and it sure has not been a pleasant experience for her.
Little An is usually plucky and takes to new environments easily. She would also greet new friends unabashedly so I thought her transition to school would be smooth. On her first day, I stayed with her for two hours. I could see she was cautious and looked worried that I might leave at any time. Whilst I was there, she played independently, but glanced up occasionally to check that I was present. She also gave a hug to a sobbing girl and I was very pleased to see that.
I made the dreadful mistake of leaving to run some errands when I thought she was doing fine. I did not tell her and simply left. When I returned to pick her up, I was told she cried when she discovered I was missing. Also, she was so exhausted that she fell asleep on the table right after her lunch.
The principal said she would call me when An woke up so I went back to wait for the call. J and I went immediately to school to pick An up when the call finally came. We could hear her crying even before entering the school. It was heartwrenching.
If I were given a chance to relive the week again, I would take leave on Tuesday and Wednesday to ease Little An into the new environment. It was naive of me to expect a two-year-old to immediately take to a new environment and be left there on her own when she did not know the teachers or peers. Lyn had promised to take childcare leave on Wednesday and reassured me that I did not need to take leave myself. In the end, he did not and requested his mum to be there instead. I berate myself for not being there for An when I actually could do so. When J was going through this phase, I could not be with him as I was a full-time primary school teacher myself and had to fulfil my responsibility to my pupils. This week, my lessons have not begun and I could have been with Little An the last two days. Sigh.
I will monitor how Little An responds to school. If she continues to be distressed, I may delay her going to school till next year. After all, I will still be working part time this year.
I commit Little An to You. Please be with her and reassure her that we love her very much. Help her to thrive in school and to be a good role model to her peers.
In Jesus' name,