Going To School

This year is an exciting year for us
Malcolm is finally in the morning session and spends more than 1/2 his day away from home
My husband has been so kind to send him to school every morning before heading off to work
This includes making breakfast while I get to sleep in with my preschooler
We wake up later, have breakfast, spend some time reading and playing before going to school

School for my preschooler is a brief 3 hours where he gets to eat his lunch and learn the rules
He was excited and it started off really well
No tear, no fear
I was so proud of him

But my happiness was short lived
He was bawling when I picked him up from school at the end of Day 3
The teacher was puzzled for he showed no sign of axiety for the first 2 days

Then the teacher told me that at 3 years 3 months old, he needs to learn to be more independent
She came to the conclusion after seeing how he fumbled with his little red bowl of soupy mee tai bak with a spoon, those short fat white noodle I used to eat when I was a little kid
I stopped short of telling her, give him a chopstick and soba noodles and he’ll show you how a 3 year old feeds himself

School was a struggle from Day 4 onwards
He ran, he hid, he struggled when it was time to put on his uniform
I chased, I cajoled, I bribed

Some days, I succeed
Some days, I feel like throwing in the towel

I know it must have been really scary when he doesn’t understand a single word the teacher speaks because everything is in Mandarin
Part of me wanted to give in to his plea and listen to his fear
Another part of me like to follow the chatter and noise, the assurance that all is normal

Give them 1 week or 2, they’ll get used to it
Is that how it is ?
Is that the best way ?
Is learning to conform to social norms necessary at this age ?

If ย all is indeed normal, then perhaps we are the abnormal ones
trying to fit them into our industrial modeled education system at this early age

I had my answers and I could see the protective mum rearing its head
Ultimately the unspoken selfish reason could just be, I long for my daily dose of me-time
time to myself, without the kids

I was torn

Then my husband words of wisdom rang in my ears
that I should make a decision and stick with it
and I should be firm and not waiver
and he should understand that Mummy will always be there for him, through fear, triumph, laughter and tears

Dear Marcus,

Today is Day 15 of school

You still tell me that you are scared, that you don’t want to go school and you want Mummy

but you struggled less when it was time to put on your uniform

and seemed happy with the reason I gave you

that Mummy can’t stay with you in school because the table and chairs are too small and the food too little

We were early so I let you play a little longer with your toys

We even made a couple of lanterns and joined some dots before leaving for school

By then, you seemed to have forgotten your fear and told me to hurry up as we were running late

By the time we reached school, you were eager and anxious to look for your English teacher, Mrs Chan

I know you really like her, you love listening to her stories and she is perhaps the only reason why you go school

You kissed me goodbye and told me to have fun (the last time you said that to me was 12 days ago)

Mummy will and I hope you will too

Thank you for being such a brave boy

Love you, always






  1. Adora says:

    Hullo! Starting school is always tough cos they suddenly have to be independent. All alone without parents only starts to be fun at 13, not 3 I think. ๐Ÿ™‚ if he has a teacher he is particularly fond of, let him hang out with her more. It does help. And reassure him with lots of kisses that you’ll be there when it’s time to go home and that you love him. Sayang your heart too ๐Ÿ™‚

    • malmal says:

      hey thanks Adora ! I remember it was tough for my elder boy when he was 3 1/2 becos the school expect him to write without an eraser, then it was tough when he was 4 when we were in France becos he didn’t speak their language. When we came back to spore when he was 5. He love school from Day 1. I am still trying to figure out why. perhaps they are just not meant to be thrown into school that young ?

  2. Susan says:

    Even at 3 years old, Sophie still has days when she hugs every so tightly to me when drop her off asking me to take her home despite being in the childcare since 18 months. Most days she forget about it once I’m out of the door and she’s in the company of her teachers and friends and by the end of the day, she’ll be recounting the fun she had in class. Hopefully things get easier with time. Be strong too, it’s always not easy to see them looking so upset.

    • malmal says:

      Awww it must be really hard on you to have to part with her this way and go work …. Have you thought about changing school for her? Hope it will get better with time and at least she is happy to tell you the fun things she did class at the end of the day.

Leave a Reply to malmal Cancel reply