Last Tuesday was Caila’s first day of Nursery. Naturally, being a historic day and all (for Hubby and me, at least), I applied for a leave and Hubby opted to go to work late so that we would all be there to drop her off.
All of the things she would be using for school were specifically chosen by her. Based from experience, we’ve learned that if there’s something she needs to use, it’s always better for her to choose which one she wants so that she will actually use it. Days (or even weeks) before, our daughter was really excited. Even until Monday night, she was excited. She kept putting on her backpack and asking us for her lunchbox so that she would practice carrying it around.
Anyway, Tuesday morning I packed these things and prepared her clothes before waking her up.
Usually, when we wake her up before Hubby and I leave for work (because she hates it when she wakes up and we’ve already left), she complains and whines because she’s still sleepy. But that morning, as soon as I whispered “Today pasok na ikaw sa school,” she immediately opened her eyes, fully awake with a smile on her face. Unfortunately, probably from the excitement, she wouldn’t take even a single spoonful of her breakfast adobo rice. No amount of lambing or bribing or anger would make her eat. Finally, we offered her some Eggnog Cookies which she willingly ate. At least it was better than giving her a shower and sending her to school on an empty stomach.
By 7:40am, we left the apartment with our daughter holding her Daddy’s hand tightly, not letting go until she had to sit in her carseat. It was a quick drive since the school was just a short distance away. When we got there, we saw there were already so many parents and nannies dropping off their kids and other kids playing around. We first went to their Reception where I told the lady my daughter’s name, and she directed us to where Caila’s section and teacher would be. As soon as Caila saw all the different faces, she held my hand and wouldn’t let go. I showed her the box where she would be keeping her bag and lunchbox but she wouldn’t let go of those either. Finally, the Filipina assistant carried her away to distract her, to which she immediately cried. I tried approaching them to help pacify her, but the lady said that I should just leave so that she wouldn’t cry more and just return at the scheduled pick-up time. I felt a bit offended when she said that, but since I knew she knew what she was doing, we obeyed and left our daughter without saying goodbye to her.
When Hubby dropped me off at the apartment, as soon as I opened the door, it felt strange. The pitter-patter of Caila’s footsteps running around couldn’t be heard, no sounds of toys being played with, there was no “Mommy, let’s play!” calling out to me. It was so quiet. Sure, Ate Cel was there as well, but that’s it. I felt like it was a preview of a future empty-nest syndrome. I didn’t cry, though, but the feeling was strange. To pass away the time, I just watched television, but every few minutes, my eyes would dart at the clock to see how much time was left until we would fetch Caila.
Finally at 11:15am, Ate Cel and I left the apartment and walked to the school. It was pretty hot but bearable, and I made sure I brought a bottle of cold water just in case any of us got thirsty. We arrived at the nursery 15 minutes later which was still early, so we just waited at the Reception. As we waited, I asked for the details of the driver and school bus (which would be taking care of her transportation beginning Thursday), to which the lady gave to me with the instructions to call the following day to confirm the exact time Caila would be fetched. Just before 11:45am, another staff asked who we were picking up so I told her. She then went to the room, and after some time we saw Caila having her backpack put on and being handed her lunchbox before being led to us. She was all smiles as she walked towards us while drinking her milk. The assistant reported that Caila wouldn’t eat any of her food, but that she was generally ok. Then she gave me a plastic envelope with some papers that she said were the School Calendar of Activities, a form that I needed to fill up and return to them, and some sort of giveaway/token for Caila (for her first day of school).
While walking back home, I asked my daughter what she did at school. She didn’t (or wouldn’t) share. But when I lay down in bed beside her later for her afternoon nap and asked her again, that’s when she started talking. Here’s what she said: “Kasi ako, lakas iyak sa school. Tapos ayaw ko mag-eat food ko. Tapos mix-mix ako colors…red and yellow…naging orange. Tapos dami pictures sa wall, and letters, and numbers. Tapos change ni Ate nappy ko. Tapos…Mommy, may muta ikaw!” I swear, I couldn’t help laughing when she said that last part. She was telling me all about her day practically non-stop, and then all of a sudden, she said that because she noticed something near my eye. Kaloka!
At least it turns out everything was ok. And Caila seemed pretty happy, so that erased all my worries. The next day, Ate Cel walked Caila to school because Hubby and I left early. This time there were no more tears. And last Thursday when Caila boarded the school bus full of her schoolmates for the first time, she wasn’t afraid nor did she cry, even though none of us rode with her. Haaaay! Time is just flying by so fast. My baby really is a big girl now. And I’m so proud of her!
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