June 05, 2006

First preschool days

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

June 1st was Emma's first preschool day.

On May 30th and 31st, I accompanied her to the school and stayed with her throughout the mornings.

By all accounts, she did great on the first day. She was calm and content as long as I was nearby. Very often she asked me to play with her. So I did. She went with other kids to the gym, holding a belt with a string of color rings. She even held hands with other kids playing "Ring around the roses".

All through the activities, I watched her. And I watched the teachers interact, sing, dance and read to the little ones. I especially like the Teacher Tona, who always smiles and is very kind, gentle, energetic and fun. She is the one who sings and swings and jumps and fingers dances. I think Emma was mesmerized by her singing.

The second day Emma and I went again. However, this time all fear broke loose. Emma panicked. Emma became terribly whiny and clingy. She froze. She cried (Mommy, Mommy, I want Mommy). She refused to hold on to the ringlet while going out unless I held her hand ...

Was she playing cool the first day? Was she deploying the usual tactics as we adults to get by whenever we are intimidated and unsure and nervous? But I could not manage to do as well as she did.

I do not know. Anyway, I took Emma home. In the evening, I read her a book "My First Preschool". I gave her a very serious talk. Emma do not be afraid in the school. It is fun. Teachers are kind. They love you. Mommy loves you. If you miss mommy, you can look at mommy's picture and mommy will be right back to pick you up...

Promise me, Emma.

She looked at me gravely. But then we did Five and we hooked our baby fingers together as a ritual of promise.

So the clock ticked to June 1st, the official first day for preschool for Emma. Leo and I dropped her off, kissed her goodbye.

Emma did just fine as she promised me. She cried a little. Then she stood quietly, holding her little bunny and watching.

She is above all an observer. Whenever she is in an unfamiliar situation, she observes. She sizes up people and surroundings. Her intuition is always perfect. With complete strangers, she is tense. With friendly relatives, she is fast to relax. With only encounter, she would know who is genuinely fond of her and who is fun to be with and who is just another indifferent adult doing their greeting job.

How did she develop this miraculous radar? How does she read the behavioral and facial cues?

So the first school day successfully (or uneventfully) she spent. The teachers and I were all relieved and glad.

I picked her up. She was bubbling with excitement and endless insightful comments and observations.

"What did you eat?"

"I ate gold fish cookies and watermelons"

"Did you miss mommy?"
"I missed mommy. I wanted mommy"


"Branda and Mandy played together. Branda cried. Branda fell."

"Is Tona good? Did she sing"
"Yes, she did. Mommy, how to sing 'Clean up'?"

"Do Tona and Novell like you?"
"No." (???)
(Later she changed her story saying Tona and Novell like her. Then she changed again. She is reserved as for the teachers.)

The second day she went to the school with tears streaming down her cheeks. But she stopped crying five minutes after I said goodbye. And she started playing the toys, alone though.

(I think Emma is a loner by choice. Like I am.)

So started Emma's preschool life. She is still a reluctant preschooler. She still plays alone. She still does not understand 99% percent of the conversation in school. But she manages to get by. And words and phrases in English are started trickling out from her mouth.

I don't pray. But if I do, I would pray, head over heels, that she be happy, be granted all the right opportunities and challenges, love and acceptance that afford her to grow up happy, strong, loving and capable.

Monday, June 05, 2006
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Xun said...

My worry seems to be baseless. Only 4 days after Emma went to the preschool, she started to be herself again, happy, smiling, singing a lot

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