For everyone else, 7 February marked the first day--signalling a new beginning--of the Lunar New Year. But for me, it was 6 February rather than 7 February, that inked the start of another new stage for Kai and I.
Kai's going to playschool right after Chinese New Year (CNY). And 6 February was the day I brought him to celebrate CNY with his new schoolmates and teachers.
After two weeks of searching, talking and visiting different schools, we finally decided on one which came highly recommended by our neighbour. It wasn't just the standard things that bowled me over (e.g. programme outline, food, teacher/student ratio), but everyone I met with/spoke to gave me a good impression. For instance:
- Staff spoke proper English
- Teachers I met in school would actually walk me to where I need to go or give me proper directions; none of the point-in-the-general-direction-and-hope-she'll-find-her-way attitude
- Teachers will pass on messages I have for the principal
- Everyone who picks up the phone speaks with clarity and knows what's happening
These small things matter. A care for details speak a great deal of staff's work attitude.
I guess what clinched it was when I walked through the gates on 6 February, a teacher came up to us and said: "Are you Tan Kai? Come here darling, and join your friends." Plus, despite having so many squirming kids to attend to and a concert to put together, the teachers seem to have eyes at the back of their heads and are where they are needed everytime.
And my heart was bursting with pride when I saw him sat down and ate his porridge all by himself without no one to guide him. I knew then my five-month of training him to feed himself has paid off.
So that's it folks. Come Monday, after I hand Kai over to his teachers, I'll tell him I'll have to leave now but soon he'll be eating breakfast with his new friends and learning new things. And after he brushes his teeth and baths, I'll come and pick him up. Promise.
Then I'll kiss him goodbye, turn around, and walk off. I know he'll burst into tears, jump up and down, and I'd feel like I've abandoned my baby. My heart will probably break. But I've to trust the teachers and school we've picked. And above anything else, I've to believe in my boy. He is a strong 'un; he'd be ok.