Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Abusing childcare teachers: Day 1 & 2

"I feel sorry for the teachers," says Terence on Kai's first day in school.
"They're probably thinking: 'Another crying kid. Why do I have to put up with this.' "

So when I told him Kai threw up on Mrs Poh after crying so much today (second day), he says, "I feel so sorry for the teachers."

I like it when Terence shows me a different perspective of things; it does take my mind off the situation.

Here're the things we did to 'abuse' the teachers:
1. We didn't hang around. We brought him to his classroom, kiss him goodbye, and told him that we'll pick up him later. Promise.
2. Leave him screaming and crying with the teacher.

Here're the things he did to 'abuse' the teachers:
1. Cry so much that he had to be carried, consoled, distracted. (He's heavy and is slippery as an eel when he's upset.)
2. Cry so much that he threw up. Now we know why childcare teachers don't wear new clothes to school.
3. Jump up and down, struggle when mummy leaves the room.

But seriously, separation anxiety aside, he's doing fine in school. I can tell that the teachers care him for genuinely and kids are very perceptive about who's nice and who's not. And so the fact that he likes his teachers gives me comfort that he's in good hands.

I'm no expert in this matter, but here're a few things I learnt just from preparing him for school:

1. Label everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that your kid is bringing to school.

This means you label the milk bottle AND the bottle cap. I thought I had labelled everything until Terence saw the condition of some milk bottle caps in school. The minute we were out of school, he told me to please, please, please label Kai's bottle cap as well. Ours seemed pristine compared to the rest, which looked like they belonged to a dump site. Don't ask us what other parents do to their property.

I even labelled how much milk he drinks on his milk bottle, so no one forgets. That was how pedantic I got with labelling.

Oh, and it saves the teachers a lot of trouble. Almost everytime I'm there, I hear them asking: "Whose [insert property] is this?". And believe you me, a lot of little boys like Thomas the Tank Engine. Your son might end up drinking from somebody else's cup.

2. Tell the teachers everything they need to know about your kid's habits.

I sounded like a nagging grandmother when I told the teachers what time he likes to nap, what time he likes to have his milk, that he doesn't like water running down his head and face when he showers, and etc. But Kai's teachers took me very seriously. They could tell me what was his habits/schedule like in school vis a vis what I told them, and how we can all work together to help him adapt.

3. Many parents may disagree with me, but I think it's better to drop off the kid in school right from day one rather than hang around.

I personally believe Kai will adapt faster this way. We always make sure we say goodbye to him and tell him we will come and pick him up after he has finished his lunch. When I pick him up, I'll listen to what he did for the day. Then I'll tell him he did a good job because, for instance, he ate noodles all by himself. I also reinforce how fun it is for him to do new things and meet new people.

It doesn't mean that my heart doesn't break when I hear him cry. But it's another stage of life he needs to go through, and we must all learn to adapt.

Anyway, he is still a happy camper after school. Doesn't look like he's scarred for life.

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