Thursday, January 28, 2016

Zoe's 1st Week in Pre-School

As I typed this, I just dropped Zoe off on her 3rd week in school! It's been a rather stressful and crazy month for us and I am feeling so thankful that we have already survived the first 2 difficult weeks of school and it can only get better right?

We have always been keeping a lookout for Zoe's school but only started to seriously consider the options somewhere in October. We figured that she would need to start before I pop in May, as I alone cannot manage a toddler and a newborn both being at home at the same time everyday. In addition, Zoe has also always displayed independence, a strong sense of learning, always keen and happy to participate in free play with other kids and i guess the most important thing (to me at least) is she hardly display separation anxiety. So that kind of also assured us that she will love school and what the school can offer, rather than playing at home with the same set of toys again and again everyday.

But honestly speaking, being a first time mum going through the process of sending my firstborn to her first school at only 21 months has been one that is full of worries, anxiety, tears, and sleepless nights. After we confirmed her slot in school, there were many times I wanted to withdraw her application because I felt that maybe she wasn't ready for it, I mean at that time she just started self feeding, she wasn't toilet train, and what if all that crying out during her "adaption" traumatizes her and she is not the same happy girl again?

But oh well, the day still came and realistically speaking I know she is going to be fine in school. I couldn't sleep well at all and was getting very teary often during the week leading to the day, I was quite an emotional wreck that week, and I guess pregnancy hormones made it worse!

I was allowed to accompany Zoe for 3 days and here's sharing some photos and a short account of it!

First day of school actually went extremely well (initially!), Zoe wandered off on her own and I could even leave her in her classroom to settle some administrative matters in the school's office for 10 minutes. When I came back, she didn't even realize that I was gone and was happily interacting with her classmates and teachers and I thought to myself "wow, looks like this is going to be a piece of cake!"

So after hanging around in her classroom at a corner watching her for quite some time, I was erm getting a little bored because she clearly doesn't need me to be here. So I decided to test her further by leaving the school compound for a drink and come back for her lunch time in about 30-40 minutes time. I explained to her where I was going and told her I will be back later, she took it well and even said bye to me, yippee!

But alas, when I was back I was really shocked to find my girl in the teacher's arms sobbing badly and her hair was wet! I was really taken aback by what I saw and the teacher explained that in that 40 minutes that I was away they had already taken lunch (which was ahead of the timetable that I memorized by heart - they had lunch at 1045am?!) and they also showered Zoe, which was the main factor that triggered all those tears. Showering has always been a challenge for Zoe and for us, (especially when we wash her hair), she loves to swim but she just doesn't take showering well. So the whole experience of getting showered in a totally new environment without her mother traumatized her quite badly. It was such a major setback for us, and for me especially.... I was honestly very affected for the rest of the day and blamed myself for wandering off too long. SIGH.

Day 2 was completely different from day 1 and from any other days actually... Zoe stuck to me everywhere I went in school, and even when we were in the classroom I needed to be right beside her during activity time and I could no longer sit at a corner watching her from afar. She totally lost her confidence to wander off on her own and would check on me every other minute if I was still around. I went to the bathroom for 3 minutes and came back to a crying girl, even when I explained that mama needs to pee and will be back very very very quickly. I was really getting worried on day 2 and I was getting again all teary when I thought of how I was going to drop her off on day 4 without me tagging along. *SOBBBB HOWW!!*

Day 3, was the final day I could accompany her in school. Surprisingly it was better than day 2 and there were a couple of times she would join in the activities while I sit elsewhere in the classroom. I could see some smiles from her, and the teachers also made great effort to engage her. It was not too bad though it could have been better. By day 3, I have also told myself that I honestly need to move on and stop blaming myself for her separation anxiety, and what's important is to focus on rebuilding my daughter's security in me and also to adapting to the school environment without me.

Day 4 - Nerve wrecking day. I think I have explained to Zoe a hundred times that I will be dropping her off and I won't be going into the school with her. And of course I have also emphasized a hundred over times that I will pick her up after she finished her lunch in school. There were suprisingly no tears at drop off because erm she thought I followed her past the school gate. I have also told the teachers not to shower her at all in school and just change her out of her uniform if necessary. When I came back to pick her after 2  hours, the teacher said that she cried on and off in the classroom but they were not hysterical crying but just a little sobbing for a short while.

Day 5 - There were tears at drop off cause she knew that I was not going to follow her in, and I could hear her crying from the gate all the way into her classroom. But thankfully it was nothing like "MAMA DONT LEAVE ME MAMAMAMAMAMA!" but it was just some slight sobbing and hot tears that were flowing down her cheeks. When I picked her up, the teacher said that Zoe wanted to carry her bag out of the classroom (LOL!), but she had difficulty packing her stuff into her bag to "run away from school", and she got so engrossed in the packing that she stopped crying and that's it! No more tears for the rest of the day. She also interacted well with her classmates and joined in for activities! Good end for a 1st week in school I guess!

Last week - week 2 of school, she made tremendous improvement everyday. There were still tears at drop off but it was only at drop off and throughout the day she was perfectly okay and participative. She has started singing songs she learned from school and it's such a delight to hear them because they are an assurance to me that she enjoys school and her time there. She also shocked us last week when she started to take her naps in school everyday for 1.5 hours! That's a huge surprise for us and a big milestone for her! And since she could now nap in school, we have also lengthened her hours there from 2.5 hours to now about 5-6 hours.

And at Week 3 (Day 11), there were NO TEARS at all during drop off, Hallelujahhhh! And she could even wave and said bye to me! Yippee!

It's been a really stressful time for us and physically stretching too to fetch her there and back. I am really glad we are done with the difficult initial stages of the whole school adaption process and we are kind of more or less into the routine now. And now that Zoe is in school for that few hours, I get to work in peace knowing that she is in good hands. Plus this also means I have a new favorite moment of the day which is to be see her little face beaming and waving at me when she sees me fetching her home :)


  1. Awwwww.. good to know she's doing so well now!! Big hug to Zoe!

  2. My baby love will be coming to school soon and when I was reading your blog, I'm filled with excitement. Can't wait to actually bring her to school and fetch her after. Your kid is very adorable. And can't wait to actually experience the same thing. :)

    1. Hi Michelle! It will definitely be nerve wrecking initially, but it will eventually turned out fine! Wishing you all the best when your baby goes to school!