Thursday, January 01, 2009

What a mother did on the night of her kid's first school day

Well, it was not exactly official start of schooling but yesterday was sort of an orientaion day for the Primary 1 kids.

After getting everyone to sleep, I loaded the newly bought uniforms into the washer. While waiting for the first batch, I looked for my sewing kit. The only sewing done in the house is fixing loose or detached buttons on hubby's trousers and shirts. So my sewing kit are only those tiny kits that you get from hotel stay. They are tiny and I had just forgotten where I kept them, and spent a good 40 minutes rummaging drawers.

I rearranged the hooks on Bea1's pinafore belts to get the right fit while trying not to doze off. Talking about last minute preparation. Anyway, I still think I did well considering we bought almost everything by now. Two pinafore sets, 3 baju kurung (one that we bought earlier is a bit large, I will bring back to the shop to change, the other two are just perfect), and two pairs of shoes. And we got the uniforms in hubby's kampung and they are a lot cheaper compared to those found in KL (well I never did the survey, hubby once called from a Tesco to mention some prices. And I talked a lot with the babysitter who has all the experience). The pinafore set is about RM17 and baju kurung only RM15, and the material is good too. And hubby bought a very good-looking, durable Princess bag for RM10 during his trip to Macau.

I was a bit nervous, and maybe more excited than my girl. Anyway, she is more excited of getting a lot of new things than anything else.

By the time I finished the sewing, I had passed the sleepy state already. I surfed the net for classes for Fardhu Ain and Al Quran for her. That is something that we had not decided. Seems like the only choice is KAFA but the normal classes conducted everyday for 3 hours. We think that a little too much for her. We prefer to have intensive few hours in a week, with the idea that we, the parents must be disciplined enough to complement the teaching at home. The rest of her time could be spent for other activities such as swimming, art class etc, or just spent with me. Thanks to my flexible working hour, think I can manage being her chauffer for all that.

Bea2 woke up to go to the loo, and that woke hubby up too. I just smiled when she called out for papa to help her washing, even though she saw me awake. Hubby could not get back to sleep and later we watched a movie together.

And of course the next day, we were late. But not too late to take a few pics.
Bea1 took some time to decide on what to wear. She loves baju kurung but pinafore is not bad either. She decided on the latter.

She didn't feel as bad as she looked, it was the early morning after shower sneezing that irritated her.

I walked to the school hall with Bea1 (while hubby sent the other kids to the baby sitter) when a text message appeared on my phone. From a friend who also send his kid to the same school.

"Aku tak nampak pun kau kat dewan ni. Tahu la duduk dekat, takkan lewat kot!"

I replied "Am taking my sweetest time walking towards the hall now..ok!". I was just enjoying the bright morning sun on a beautiful day that my first baby started a new beginning in her life.

A series of ceramah followed. One very experienced-looking teacher gave some sound advices. Among them:
1. Don't spoil your child. Let them carry their own bag, make sure they know how to dress themselves. A story: once they had a boy who cried during PJ as he didn't even know how to take off the uniform to change into his PJ wear.

2. Teach your child about money, of getting right balance after buying food in the canteen etc.

3. Get involved with the kids education. Know what the kids learn etc. Talk to the teachers, but don't kaypoh much about the teachers. Don't ask kids questions like "Cikgu buat apa hari ni?", "Cikgu marah tak?", "Cikgu cubit tak?"....;).

4. Don't compare kid with others children as each child is different.

Another teacher shared, he was a pupil there when the school first operated in 1969. He came back to teach as he has a love for the school. The school was first initiated by a nearby university (that's the uni where I studied for both first degree, and PhD, and later continued teaching him, I too have a love for the uni hehe) and named the University Primary.

My friend and wife (also a staff in the uni) and myself got a little surprised with that bit of history. We were like "Woww...that's interesting, we didn't know that".

Later, the kids were divided into 5 groups to have that early test for class streaming. I got to know that they never had it done before, maybe it is more manageble to have that now. We got to know there will be 5 classes and looking at the groups, there will probably be around 30 kids in a class.

While waiting for the kids to finish that, I looked around. When another mom asked me why I chose the school, I said I just followed what most of my own lecturers (now colleagues) did for their kids. They said it is a good school, and I didn't do much research. Besides, it is so near home and office. She found out later, one of the reasons the school is said to be a preferred one is because of the distinct and obvious presence of multi-racial element there. And yes, I saw many Chinese and Indians among the majority Malay there. And I just like that!

I made phone calls to talk about other options for the KAFA classes but we are left with not much choice.

Bea1 came to me with a smile. I asked what she did for the test (I never mentioned test anyway, just some writing the teacher would ask her to do). She just said some Bahasa and no English. I asked again and again what did she write (so very curious la...). She said she wrote her name, and she was told to write ABC and mark the right answers. At the same time she indicated to me that I had already asked too many questions. Thought I just keep mum and wait, she would open up more when she is in the mood. I know my girl.

Hubby came to fetch us and we drove around to ask more about the KAFA options. Finally we decided, we would go ahead with the normal one, a class near home and see how Bea1 takes it and make any changes later if needed.

Hubby decided to stay home in the afternoon, I sent Bea1 to join the other kids at the babysitter as I have a class. I asked her if she wanted to change first, she said no as the babysitter would love to see her in her uniform for the first time. Think this could be as exciting for someone who has been taking care of the baby since she was 67 days old.

It's weird that the uni started the term while a lot of people are very much in the holiday mood. Some lecturers would start classes next week, but I was adamant to just follow the schedule. Yesterday, we had only half of the attendance for a class but I was surprised to see a full house today.

I digress.

While passing the school again on the way home, Bea1 suddenly said that she loved doing the writing at school. Mama got a little confused "Which school?" (as she only spent about two hours there so far). She said "That school know the writing I did this morning!".

She didn't elaborate but I assumed it just happened that that kind of worksheet is something she loves to do. That's it!

I have this little worry about letting my kid in a national school for maybe the same reasons given by other parents, about the talk on the cease of quality in education in general, and also when I myself have to face the challenges of teaching the 'product' (I mean the uni students) of the system on my every working day.

But the positive side of me keep saying that things will be ok, and I always remind myself to be actively involved in teaching my own kids.

Looking forward to an interesting, challenging, rejuvenating (yeah...rejuvenating, I love witnessing the excitement in kids eyes over new discoveries) ahead. This is what I do when at the same time being jittery that our lives would take a change come this Monday.

Good luck to all parents of Primary 1 children, Salam Maal Hijrah and Happy New Year.


Blogger Shamira said...

Hey Ros,

My elder one is also starting Std 1 this year. I must admit I am more excited about it than her. All the est and have a great year

3:56 PM  
Blogger nae said...

Definitely better off than me!

7:10 PM  
Anonymous yatie sawanila said...

Ashraff going to std 1 another 2 years... frankly... I dah excited and mengelabah... cos we don't know which school to send...

8:31 PM  
Anonymous lilian said...

Hahaha, Ros, I bet with you by the time you get to #3, you malas dah. I also took photo of my first son's first morning to Primary one back in 1996 I think. But after that, all relax dah., I am all worked up over my #5 going to kindie for the first time pulak. Rasa macam tak sanggup nak lepas my baby into the big bad world. Sebab I dah tutup kedai, tak boleh nak make new baby. Hehehe.

This morning (Sat morn), my hubby took the #3 son to Form One orientation. I mula nak ikut tapi no one jaga my #5 who was still sleeping. Nasib baik tak ikut cos it was 3 hours long punya lecture. Phew..boring lah.

1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My #1 go to Std 1 & #2 to kindy. So this week I'll be juggling between these 2 school coz # 1 at afternoon session. -sofhib

11:35 PM  
Blogger chanelwong said...

wow...Bea1 sudah masuk std 1....

4:06 PM  
Blogger mama23beas said...

Shamira...yup, definitely more excited than them.

nae...ok that makes me feel better, tahnks

yatie...just choose and enjoy the freedom that you still have now. Later all must also be planned according to kids schedule.

Lil...haha I think, maybe not no 3, no 2 pun dah malas la..hehe.

sofhib...this week only ok la, I already commited myself to be the chauffer. Penat you!

Yup, chanel...a a new world to her!

4:23 PM  

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