“So young start school already ah? You bear to do it?”
I’ve been hearing this from various aunties in my neighborhood ever since I started Oliver in playgroup this month at 1.5 years old.
My answer to this is a resolute “Yes.”
However, for congeniality’s sake, I usually explain to the concerned party that it’s only for half day, he can make new friends and I can do my work. Win-win situation.
At what age is it appropriate to send a child to school?
I think it really depends on the individual.
For me, to keep my sanity (I’m really not a child person) and also to expend Oliver’s ever increasing energy, I choose to start him at the age where the school fees doesn’t kill me (or my husband).
The first week was a river of tears.
We were allowed three days to sit in with Oliver in school. Seeing that he was adjusting well enough, the teacher encouraged us to leave earlier on the third day.
And so began the stream of crying.
When we fetch him back, he was bawling as if we’ve left him to die with no food (food is his life).
During the weekend, we felt the repercussions when we put him at my mother-in-law’s house. Instead of playing happily with her as he usually does, he was clinging to us for dear life, afraid that we’d leave him again.
It took some coaxing (and milk always work for our little one) before he felt secure enough to see us go for lunch.
The breakthrough came on the sixth day.
He didn’t cry.
But what I saw made me want to say this,
Oliver, if you ever ever get to see this blog Mommy made for you, just know that Mommy is SO DAMN PROUD OF YOU.
He ran towards me as per normal, but instead of wailing immediately, I saw his mouth twitch in an effort not to pout and then he broke into a SMILE, WHILE HOLDING BACK HIS TEARS.
My son was actually fighting hard not to cry.
An 18 months old toddler, braving himself not to cry. How awesome is that?
It’s one of the most heartbreaking things to watch, well, in a good way though.
I want to hug him to oblivion and so I did.
Two days later, he also stopped crying when Daddy dropped him off in the morning.
Two weeks later, he was waving goodbye cheerfully.
And then I noticed he started doing this really weird dance (twirling his hands and wriggling his buttocks) whenever I sing Twinkle Twinkle little star to him. Turned out that the teacher was teaching him the song.
He also learned to shake hands at the end of the month, practicing his new found social skills with children and adults alike in the neighborhood whenever he gets the chance.
However, he did caught the bug which friends had previously warned me about. He’s been sick for two weeks with an ever insistent running nose and the first few days had us waking up during the middle of the night to bouts of crying (he was bothered by the cough and mucus).
I’ve been giving him Scott’s emulsion (cod liver oil) to help build up his immune system and finally, we’re seeing the signs of the illness thinning out.
Recently he’s also been learning to identify his body parts, his favorite being pointing out his ears when we asked him “Where is your ear?”
The cutest thing is that he’d actually walk up to us and tug at our ear too.
He’s not so good with the rest of his anatomy though.
But it’s not like I’m worried.
He’s only one and a half years old.
There’s still a lot of growing up to do.
I pray that he’d remember to be brave. Just like he was on the day he smiled through his tears.