After slightly more than a month in school, Noah has finally decided to stop crying! He had a tear-free first day at school, then cried buckets the rest of the week. Things didn’t improve in the second week, and he was downright miserable each morning when he learnt that he had to go to school again.
Noah fell sick shortly after two weeks, and I took him out of school for five whole days. I expected there to be plenty of tears, and he started crying even before we stepped out of the house. He cried and whined all the way to school, and kept telling me not to turn into the school’s compounds, as I drove him there. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Ms G that he didn’t cry at all after I left. He wasn’t too keen on following instructions, and kept negotiating with Ms G whenever he had to do something, but she discovered that he liked “driving” around from one place to another, so that was how she got him to follow her around.
Crying on the way to school
Noah would fall asleep in the car on our way home every day, no matter how hard I try to keep him awake. I give him snacks and water, but he would doze off, sometimes with his hand still in the snack container. He doesn’t take very long naps in the car, but if I try to pick him up, he would wake up, and refuse to go back to sleep, so I’ve learnt to sit patiently in the car while he naps.
After a couple of days, Noah asked to walk up the stairs to his school by himself, which is an improvement from me having to carry him all the way, while he clings to me and sobs pitifully. In the evenings, he would sing various songs that he learnt in school, though in a rather tuneless manner. We took it as a sign that he’s been enjoying himself in school, even though he still cries at drop-off.
Walking up the stairs by himself
We started getting into a routine of sorts, where we drive C to work in the mornings, come home to do some simple activities like matching cards, playing with puzzles, or whatever else he asks to do, before we leave for school. When we get home after school, we usually go to the playground after his nap, then head to C’s office to pick him up. I think knowing the routine helps Noah to feel more settled, and the tears progressively lessened as the days went by.
Playing at home before school
Noah came down with a fever again after a few days, and his teacher actually called me one afternoon, to ask me to pick him up from the school’s office earlier. Noah seemed to think it was a treat, and when he returned to school the day after, he actually went up to his teacher halfway through the day, and said, “Ms G, hold my hand. I need to go to the office. I’m sick. I have a cough. *fake coughs*” Ms G was really amused by that, and told me about it when I picked him up that afternoon.
I expected him to be more upset than usual when he returned to school after the Chinese New Year break, but I think it helped that he didn’t need to wear his school uniform that Monday, as he was quite cheerful, especially when I told him that there would be a party in school. I also showed him the presents that he could open, if he didn’t cry in school, and reminded him about them, each time he started to whine or get teary. (The presents are actually his Christmas presents which I’ve put aside, but he thinks we bought them specially for him, so that he won’t cry in school. Heh.)
Ready to celebrate CNY in school
That day, when I picked him up, his Chinese teacher told me that he only cried for a really short time when I left, and didn’t cry at all after that. Noah was also quick to tell me, “I only cried a little bit today.” before asking, “Can open present later?” He refused to greet C when we picked him up, so we told him that he wasn’t allowed to open his presents, unless he finished his dinner quickly that night. He was on his best behaviour after that, so we let him open one present.
Opening his present
The next day, he cried when his Chinese teacher took him from me at drop-off, but the following day, I decided to drop him off at a different entrance, where he would have to walk into the school with a teacher instead, and to my surprise, he didn’t cry at all. I snuck to the back of the hall to peep at him, and he was calmly sitting on the floor with his classmates. When I picked up up that day, he greeted me with a broad smile, and exclaimed, “I didn’t cry at all today! I had a good day. I had fun, you know.” You have no idea how happy and relieved I was to hear that!
I stuck to that routine for the next two days, and even though he looked a little teary and sad, he didn’t cry, and was happy at dismissal. His teachers told me that he has a certain “pattern”, where he would look for mummy after outdoor play, and when he had to have his diaper changed, but he was a lot easier to manage, and played with his classmates too. He also loves drawing, and would frequently ask them for paper, so that he could draw something for me. He even drew one for Ms G, and gave it to her rather nonchalantly during their outdoor play session, pulling it out of his pocket, and saying, “For you.” before going back to play on the slides. I think it’s a sign that he likes her, and for that, I’m very thankful.
Walking in to school with a teacher
We rewarded him again with another present, and he shook it excitedly, trying to figure out what was inside, before declaring, “Sounds like Duplo!”
Pleased with his present
It has taken slightly more than a month for him to stop crying in school, and although he still looks a little sad when I have to leave, he cheers up quickly, and seems to be really enjoying himself. He has chats with Ms G, (“Where do you live, Ms G? Where’s your phone? You left it in your bag? Aiyoh!”) which she tells me about when I pick him up, and she seems to be pretty amused by the things he says. Fingers crossed, he will continue to enjoy school, and I can’t wait for the day that he tells me, “I like school!”
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