Yesterday marked the first day of pre-nursery for E. He was a little whiney at first (though I think it’s cause he woke up too early) but gradually warmed up to the new environment. It was a 1.5 hour parent-accompanied session just to get the pre-nursery kids adjusted to the idea of attending school.
Today, however, was the real deal. Parents were not allowed at all. I went into the assembly room with E, only to find that some parents were still sitting together with their kid. Then one of the teachers saw that he looked fine and suggested I leave. So, reluctantly I did. E didn’t cry at all. But I did catch him looking a little worried or puzzled at the ruckus going on (there was a lot of crying from other kids). Well, even I felt like crying to be honest, seeing those other kids bawl their eyes out. Seeing my little boy all grown up and feeling that separation anxiety (I’m talking about me).
It was an emotional morning, witnessing my first born, in a uniform, head to his first school all by himself with some uncertainty. I picked up E at 11 and I think he was truly tired. He was seated on the floor and looked at me for a while before his face lit up realising it was me. And then two of us, him seated in the baby carrier, headed off to the bus stop to take the bus to my in-laws. How gratifying it is to have the time to pick your kid up from school.
I have been spending the last few weeks of my maternity at my in-laws place, partly to get them used to having to care for both E and B at the same time, but also to spend time with E.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I feel a strong urge to quit my job and spend all my time at home with the kids but I must say it has been an immensely rewarding (and tiring) experience. Seeing E at play, playing with him, teaching him, going through his daily routine with him, watching him grow right under my eyes – this has been real quality time spent. He has grown rather attached to me, more so than ever before, and it is so so sweet. I do fear he wouldn’t be as close to me once I head back to work proper.
Perhaps, he is more clingy because of his baby brother’s arrival, or because he is in “that phase” of growing up, who knows? Sometimes I feel I need a respite, but I’ve been reading so many articles that pop up on my FB feed and I just know I’m going to be like those mothers who look back and sorely miss this toddler-needy-phase. And so, I choose to savour the moment. I choose to savour the “I need mama”, “I want mama”, clinging onto my leg like a koala while I’m carrying baby B, moments. Most of all, I cherish those randomly, out-of-the-blue, softly spoken “I love you mama” moments complete with the most earnest doe-like eyes. They melt my heart into these huge puddles of love.
To get E to fall asleep, we usually leave him to roll about and try as much as possible not to engage him. These days, he insists I am in the room when he sleeps. He would ask sweetly, “mama, can i hug you?” “Of course.” And he would climb atop and give me a tight hug and whisper “i love you”. And then “Mama, sing lullaby!” to which I would hum the lullaby as he requests. He would roll off and not long after be fast asleep.
Last night, I wanted to just get on with my own errands/to-dos while the hubby got a very tired E to bed. I snuck out of E’s bedroom on the pretext of brushing my teeth and didn’t intend to go back into the room unless E made a fuss. The hubby came out soon after (E had indeed fallen asleep as he was so tired from waking up early for school) and told me that E said he wanted to wait for mama and that he wanted to hug mama to sleep. My heart. After that, I told myself I should always try and tuck my kids into bed as much as possible while they still want me to. There will come a day (sooner than I think), that they will be happy to be left alone.
This early evening, E had just woken up from his afternoon nap and wanted to play. I decided that I could make a few quick work phone calls while my father-in-law was available to play with E. But E only wanted me and came to me and said “stop calling” (he meant stop talking on the phone), while I gestured for him to wait / look for ye-ye. I felt so guilty. Sometimes all our kid wants is for us to give them the undivided attention they deserve, not some i’m-here-but-not-really kinda crap ‘attention’.
I never want to forget these beautiful days. I really do hope I never. Today at the kindy, I chanced upon a quote “Children are God’s gifts to us”. I’m not holy by any chance, but how true indeed. No amount of money, no amount of travelling, no amount of michelin stars can bring so much joy in our lives.