When that little bundle of pink cuteness was first put in my arms, I thought of two things:
One: Oh my! She does have really long fingers and secondly she never ever gets out of the security of the home, into the big bad world. So if I thought that, her dad even decided to hire bodyguards to ensure that completely.
But as time passed by, not so much actually, at 20 months, we thought of putting her in playschool. She needs to learn independence, everyone surmised. She would get to play with kids of her own age.
Independence. Outside world. The big bad world. The idea itself gave us nightmares. Newspapers with all their gory headlines about ghastly things done to children did not help too. But we went ahead and researched about playschools.
We narrowed it down to one playschool which was near home and no traces of use of technology to aid teaching/playing.
Even though we had a lot of positive feedback and research behind our decision, we still continued to have sleepless nights.The little one though loved the school. The big colourful building with many toys and books and children, isn’t that heavenly for a toddler?
Finally the day came when she had to go to school. She had to wear a uniform which is so adorable. Even though I thought it was a bit too much for a playgroup child to go in uniform but then it kicked in the idea of schooling ahead for the toddler.
For the first two days, parents were asked to accompany their wards. These were happy days. We sat in a corner looking proudly at our tot toddling about with authority and even talking to everybody cheerfully. We were proud that she could make herself and her toddler talk understood to complete strangers. She hardly looked for us. She would just make sure that we were sitting in our corner, once in a while and then go about exploring the wonderland.
Rest of the day after school, she would be talking all the time about school and how she wants to go back. Everything was cheerful and I was a little less anxious.
But come the third day, when she had to be left at the gate and the parents aren’t allowed inside the premises. She needs to stay in at least for an hour, her teacher had said. Her dad and I went to leave her to school that day, dressed in utter cuteness of a uniform.
She went into a few steps into the building and turned around to see whether we were settling into our corner. We were still standing at the gate. That set some warning bells off in her mind. She called us in and gestured frantically as if to say, “Come in fast folks, I need to get on with my fun”. The teacher stepped in and told us to wave goodbye and tell her that we would be back to get her soon. We said that and disappeared out of her view. I know. I feel so bad even writing it now. The girl, who never knew anybody else but us and trusted no one but us for all her life, would definitely be feeling betrayed.
We saw her expressions from over the gate. She couldn’t see us. The expressions went from confusion to anger to sadness to utter despair and insecurity in matter of seconds and she started bawling. The teacher tries to coddle her and takes her in.
The next one hour was the most difficult time for our little family. We went and sat in the car not knowing what to do. After my daughter was born, this was the first time I didn’t know exactly where she was and what she was doing. It was overwhelming. We thought we were cruel and put her into school really early. We regretted our decision and almost got ready to pull her out of school. She can go when she is 5 years old. I can home-school, I thought.
After an hour, we got a call from the school, telling us that she has been extremely good but asking for us every now and then. They asked us to take her home. When we stood at the gate and she came out of the building, she looked at us and was so happy to see us. Phew! I was so glad she wasn’t mad at us. She hugged us and kissed us and then merrily went on to tell about the new toy that she saw in school.
We laughed with her and all the apprehensions disappeared. She is a social girl and she needs people. Schooling was much-needed for her. We made a right decision, after all. She did cry at the gate for a few more days and came out happily after an hour or so. But that lasted only for a few days. 15 days to be precise. On the 16th day she went happily and without turning back to see mommy at the gate. It was mommy’s turn to cry and feel abandoned. Sigh!
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full-time mommy to an adorable 2-year-old girl and a part-time writer. 🙂 She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!