The day we’ve been dreading for so long finally arrived: Olive’s first day at preschool. Olive wasn’t dreading it of course, just Sandy and I. We kept asking ourselves why we were sending our tiny little baby to school when she’s only two years old. Are we the cruelest parents ever? It’s not school, we kept having to remind ourselves. It’s playgroup. It’s singing, dancing and playing masak-masak. It’s about making new friends. And it’s Olive’s best chance of learning Mandarin.
Olive was supposed to start two weeks ago but the school was closed due to a hand, foot and mouth outbreak. We meant to start Olive on the Monday but the teacher advised us to wait another couple of days as she worried that all the kids would be crying following their enforced hand, foot and mouth holiday. By Thursday we realized we couldn’t put it off any longer. Out came the school uniform and school bag.
We lingered over our breakfast trying to avoid the inevitable. Honestly, you would think Olive was leaving for boarding school half way round the world, not attending half-day school five minutes walk away. We put Olive’s uniform on and only realized at school that we’d forgotten her shorts. How embarrassing for Olive, her first day at school and her idiot parents forgot to put her shorts on so she had to flash her diaper at everybody.
Sandy decided to take Olive to school alone, which was fine by me. I wouldn’t have been able to leave her there! At 9am, when Sandy and Olive arrived at Carpe Diem Kidz (sic), there was nobody to greet them so Sandy took Olive straight to her classroom and Olive happily wandered in. Sandy waited outside the classroom but Olive soon got pretty freaked out by the noise. Half the kids in her class of seven were screaming and the two teachers were struggling to calm everybody down. Sandy decided to sit in on the class and Olive was fine with Mummy around. Only when the teacher began to read a book and Olive decided she wanted Mummy to read another book did the stress get to her and she started screaming. That was Sandy’s cue to do a runner. I think Sandy was worried Olive would continue to cling to her so she found and empty room to hide in. And cry!
Sandy changed her hiding spot at lunch time so she could watch Olive eat. According to Sandy the portions served are insanely small and the food sounds really unhealthy. I’m tempted to take some vegetables and fruit to the school and see if the cook knows what to do with them. Anyway, Olive wolfed down her food in about five minutes and asked for a second bowl. She finished that in another five minutes and asked for a third bowl. By now the school bursar was making a note to increase Olive’s school fees. I can’t believe it (actually I can) but Sandy then sneaked into the school kitchen and told the cook to serve extra large portions to Olive in the future. Honestly, my wife is mad.
The first day, or half day, was over and Olive seemed quite OK with the whole experience. Sandy and I both suffered nervous breakdowns but Olive said she enjoyed school and wanted to go back the next day. There were a few more tears on the second day — from mother and daughter — but this time Sandy left Olive at school and walked to a nearby shopping mall to cry. Lunch on day two was porridge devoid of meat and vegetables, which Olive didn’t really like so she only asked for two helpings and not three.
Although Olive is a little uncomfortable in the Chinese class because she doesn’t speak any Mandarin yet, she’s much better in the English class and has become quite attached to one of the English-speaking teachers.
I’m sure Olive is going to be fine although I’m not convinced she realizes she has another twenty odd years of school and uni ahead of her.
UPDATE MONDAY: Sandy has been banned from entering the school, LOL! The teachers wisely barred her from entering when she brought Olive for her third day of school on Monday. No parents allowed!
UPDATE TUESDAY: Olive has been banned from entering the school as the teachers suspect she's contracted hand, foot and mouth