My little girl started nursery this week. During her first three days of being initiated to the start of her education years, she’s made me a very proud Mumma on numerous occasions with her independence, friendliness with her new friends, and good manners (well, most of the time anyway).
We’ve kind of been talking about nursery and school for the past month. I even bought her a Peppa Pig storybook about George’s first day at playgroup and tried to explain that she was going to school like George, and would have a teacher and friends to play with, and would do all kinds of fun activities there (like painting which, to be honest, I’m glad she can messily attempt outside the house). Still, even with all the kiddy pep talks, I wasn’t quite sure if she understood what I was trying to help her understand. So naturally, when we stepped into nursery this week, I held my breath.
The first morning, she was all excited because she has a new school bag with a cute and colourful fox on the front. TT is thrilled with this new possession of hers, and insists on holding her bag by its little handle on the top. Each morning she has walked out of our apartment with her bag and holds it all the way down the lift and to the car. On our journey there, she sits with the bag on her lap and won’t let go of it until she’s reached her classroom and deposits it into her little cubby. Miss Independent, isn’t she?
This week was just an introduction to the school and getting the kids acquainted with their teachers and helpers. For the newbies, like TT, parents stay in the classroom with them for the two-hour session each day. The moment she got there, off she went exploring each area of the classroom. In fact, she plopped herself down at a table with paints and brushes, and asked to do some painting. While she busied herself with creating fancy whirls and swirls of mostly blue blobs, I had a chance to talk to her teacher and assigned assistant who would be looking after her all the time. TT seemed to take to them rather quickly, engaging with them and speaking to them in TT talk, which is essentially short sentences (or mostly orders) and always in third person (she’s already showing traits of being dramatic).
During our mornings there, I’ve tried to let her play independently and would usually sit at another table or in a corner, observing her and also talking to the other mums who were similarly ‘avoiding’ their kids. Once in a while, I noticed that she would stop and let her gaze wander around the room until it stopped at me, then she would carry on with whatever she was doing after being reassured that I was around. A few times, she would run and hang on for a little cuddle or sit on my lap, then she’d run off again after spotting something new she wanted to do.
These exciting and stimulating mornings are great for my energetic little bunny. Mentally, she’s processing new concepts and ideas, and she’s already picking things up like a sponge. Today, we were playing with alphabet flash cards and as she spread them all over the coffee table, she declared with emphatic gusto, “Mine!”. I’m sure I’ll be hearing many more assortments of words, phrases and ideas that she’ll absorb while at nursery!
I’ve noticed that nap times are resisted a little less these days. Usually TT will jump and roll around on my bed while I read her a few stories. Then it’s lights out and snuggle time on the bed. Most of the time, there is a lot of reluctance on her part and she’ll carry on rolling around in bed till I say she’s going to sleep in her own bed if she doesn’t settle down. Amidst shouts of “TT sleep in Mummy’s bed!”, she grumpily stays still and thrashes around before she eventually falls asleep. As she drifts into oblivion, she’s insistent on cuddles, and even while I’m hugging her, she’ll demand, “Mummy, hold me. Mummy, hold TT please.” This is sometimes exasperating, because I AM holding her, so please just go to sleep already!
As we cuddled this week, I looked at the little warm body in my arms and sighed. When did she get to be such a big girl, how did things change so quickly, was nursery just the first of the many major transitions in her life? Before I know it, she’ll be speaking in full sentences and expressing ideas that I didn’t teach her. Before I know it, she’ll be riding a bicycle with the wind in her hair. Before I know it, she’ll be taller than me, Before I know it, she’ll be arguing with us about what she can and cannot do. Before I know it, she’ll be a little lady and I will no longer be telling her what to do. Before I know it, everything would have changed.
But at this moment, I know that she needs to be reassured that I’m around even if she doesn’t need me sitting next to her. I know that she still looks at me with so much love that I’ve never seen in anyone else’s eyes. I know that even after I reprimand her or say no to something she wants, she’ll cuddle me a minute later without even retaining a single iota of resentment. I know that to her, Mummy and Daddy are still the most important people in her life now. I know that she’ll always be my baby girl. So at this moment… yes, my sweetheart, Mummy will hold you as tightly as I can.
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