Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The First Seven Days of School

It was a deliberate decision of mine to keep Olivia at home till 2015. I simply did not see the need to send her to daily school yet, especially after having the experience of raising two older kids and educating preschoolers.

But I did my research and checked out many options, from church kindergartens to premium childcare centres, with the intention of enrolling her in 2015. There were many factors to consider but most importantly, whatever we pick has to suit our daily schedule. So it was not as simple as sending her to the nursery with the best curriculum or one that suits our budget. Convenience was my main consideration, before I would even consider curriculum and lastly budget.

After more than 18 months of toying with all my options, I registered her on the 8th Jan at the previous kindergarten that Chip went to. Even before Chip graduated, I already decided I would not be sending her to this kindergarten because I did not think its curriculum was as great as some would believe. But as it turned out, this is the only centre in the area that has a class which fits perfectly into our daily schedule. It makes logistics so much easier for me and the kids do not have to waste much time in the car waiting for each other. 

I brought her to the nursery that Thursday to familiarize with the place, registered and bought her school uniforms, all within an hour. For the rest of the day, I prepped her for the important "first day of school" routine. Throughout the day and much of the next morning, she just looked fearful and hesitant and repeatedly said she did not want to go to school. The next morning, it took some persuading for her to get dressed. E took the day off work so he could also witness his baby's first day at school. 

By the time we got to the waiting area where parents were supposed to say their goodbyes and leave the kids with the teachers, she was wailing uncontrollably. I hid in a corner to watch the teachers handle her for ten minutes before leaving the area. By the time we left, she was still crying and trying to run away from them, towards the exit which was where she last saw us. 20 min later, when the class finally made their way down from the hall to the classroom, I saw her walking with the teacher, no longer sobbing. When I picked her up at dismissal, I could tell she was not happy to be in school but at least she was not crying.

For the next few days, she would cry when I dropped her off but the teachers were able to distract her enough so her crying stopped after a few minutes.

Yesterday was Day 7 and daddy decided to bring her to school. Just as they reached the hall, a teacher came by and asked her for her name. E replied "Olivia". Just then, a boy (presumably from her class) remarked, "But she said her name is Elsa!" To that, my baby promptly pointed out, "Actually it is Queen Elsa of Arendelle."


When I picked her up at dismissal, she told me she liked going to school now. Her reasons - because the teachers gave me yummy snacks like honeystars (cereal) and she could just dance in the class.

Not really the reasons I was waiting to hear, but for now, they shall suffice.

Edit to add later:

I do notice the vast difference in my "first day of school" posts for all three kids. Just reading the details I felt compelled to go into in order not to forget his first day at nursery gave me goosebumps, especially after I read this post of my third child's equally important milestone.

I am tempted to say that each kid's first day at school is just as important to me. But who am I kidding?! If they are just as important, then why did I not feel compelled to spend as much time blogging about the details of O's first few days at school? The lack of time is a realistic reason, but also because of the "I have been there, done that" mentality. It is a fact that with more years of parenting experience, my expectations have changed. That said, while I may not blog as much about the first day or weeks of O's schooling experience now, it does not mean that I treat her days as anything less important than her siblings'. Sometimes I do wish I have more time to blog about her experiences so that I can look back in future and reminisce as fondly as I do now with the old posts.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Daily Companion

Up till this June, I was still lamenting how M was spending nearly all his time reading non-fiction, comic books with Science content and nothing else. I was concerned that by not reading some chapter books, his writing will deteriorate. I urged him reltentlessly, but to no avail. He picked up some from the school library, but nothing interested him sufficiently. When we did make it to the community library together, he could easily pick out 10 or even 20 books that he would like to borrow, but declined every chapter book I suggested.

After we returned from the competitions in June, I did some research and just headed to Popular. I came home with the Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

When I showed him the book and urged him to read the first fifty pages which would take him at most 30 minutes, he barely took his eyes off the TV programme that he was watching and just gave me a quiet nod. The book sat on the sofa for a few days before I nudged him again. He finally made his attempt.

I thought I would need to nag at him again and I was all prepared to get him to talk to me after his 50 pages of reading and persuade him to finish the book. So it turned out, he needed nothing else from me. He (almost) never put the book down till he reached the last page.

When he finally read the whole book, which took him 2 days, he was beaming with joy. He enjoyed it thoroughly and I made him admit that he would not have discovered how much fun this was until he gave it a try, which was something I had repeatedly said.

Before I could get him to borrow the second book in the series from his school library, he had already headed to Popular with the dad and came home with Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters.

After that, he was unstoppable. In a few months, M read all the 6 books in the Percy Jackson series, 5 books in the Heroes of the Olympus series and the 3 books in the Kane Chronicles. In fact, he loves them so much that he has read the books at least 3 to 5 times.

During the period when we were revising for SA2 exams, he would bury his head in one of these books the moment he was done with revision, all the way till bedtime. He brought the book to school to continue during his free time and would happily read during meal times too if I allowed him, which I did not.

Of course I am happy that he has renewed his love for reading chapter books. Now I am anxiously waiting for two box sets of different series to arrive from booksdepository.com, which I hope he will come to love as much.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Story of Three Pillows

Dolly came up with the story just as I was getting out of bed.

You know, mama, I have three pillows and their names are Shiver, Flowers and um...um... (looking around the room for inspiration).. Drink!

Shiver was in a room that was very cold and Shiver starts shivering. (She saw that I was amused and she started giggling too.) 

Flowers went to the garden and saw many beautiful pink flowers. Flowers smiled at them. The rest of the flowers were plucked by a ferocious dinosaur. 

Drink was so thirsty. It looked around the room for something to drink. Its mama gave it some yummy milk and it drank it all up.

She has been spinning stories for a few months now, usually weaving bits of newly acquired knowlege into her stories. Often, she gets inspired by her brothers' discussions.

I really must make more effort to blog about her development, even if I had blogged about similar achievements/development of the boys before. They may not be the first time I get to witness the achievement of developmental milestones, but they will ALWAYS be the first time for her when achieves each and every milestone. It is only fair that I view them in that light and be as excited about them as I was with her brothers.


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