Your child’s first school is something that is of supreme importance, both for you as parents and your kid. For your kid, it is the first time away from your protective watch and from the comfort of the mother’s (and father’s :P) lap.
It is his first window to the outside world. The same reasons apply to the parents as well. It is the first time the mother leaves her kid in the care of a complete stranger, in a different environment (of course, this does not count the children who go to day-cares; they are exposed to all this earlier on).
However, be it day care or the first school, leaving kids in an environment different from home causes a lot of butterflies to flutter in parental stomachs. Will the child be safe or not? Will he eat properly; will the staff there feed him with love if he does not eat? Will he contract diseases due to lack of hygiene? Will he grow up with a complex that the mother shoved him away from her… the list is endless.
I too had a lot of apprehension sending him to school first. In my kiddo’s case, for the first six months he went to a 2 hour sojourn in play school. From this academic year, I have enrolled him into a day care too after school hours, so it becomes a giant leap to 8 hours from the 2 hour outing last year. Oh! I cannot even begin to describe the zillions of butterflies that invaded my whole system. I was ravaged with guilt storms, sometimes wondering if my career was really worth it all. I asked my husband a million times if I am doing the right thing, till he got really exasperated and barked at me. I told myself, let me give it a try, and if things don’t seem to work, I will let go the career immediately, without hesitation. In front of my child, everything else seemed expendable.
A month has passed since. And to my greatest surprise and relief, kiddo has got used to the idea of staying in day care and “Amma going to office.” Of course, there are times when he throws tantrums and adamantly insists that I be the person to spend time with him, bathe him, dress him and feed him, not even allowing his father to do these things. But that’s ok I guess, I mean, he is just nearing 3, and from what I gather from other moms, all this drama is natural for this age.
I am also happy to note that he has picked up a lot of Hindi and English in the past month. His vocabulary has increased manifold. It is quite funny sometimes when he admonishes himself the way his teachers admonish the children, “Rona nahi”, “don’t do this”, and the sort.
Today, when I went to drop his day-care stuff at his school (the school runs its own day care and I send his lunch and other effects a couple of hours after packing him off to school in his van), I heard a child wailing. My stomach did a double take. Was it my kiddo? I paused for a second wondering if I should tap the gate again and ask. Then I revved up my bike and started off to work, telling myself that even if it is my kid, he is in able hands and will be taken care off well. Smiling to myself, and mentally noting to reach my computer and jot down my thoughts for Parentous, I cruised in the cool Pune morning weather.
Yamini is a software professional turned work-at-home-mom. Amidst her domestic responsibilities and a very demanding 2.5 year old son, she snatches time to write academic papers, freelance content, fiction and poetry. Her stories and poetry have been published in various online literary magazines and anthologies by Penguin Books and Cyberwit Publications. Yamini voices her thoughts now and then at http://myexpressionsandme.