At the Kao household, we are bracing ourselves for some major changes.
One of them involves two dirty words – PRIMARY SCHOOL. Well, at least to me. It’s “dirty” because it robs me of the feeling that I can’t baby my firstborn anymore.
So the Primary One registration process from start to finish has been a breeze, thank God. There were no tears, no struggles and no heart-stopping moments. For that, we thank our parents from the bottom of our hearts for putting us in good schools when they made their choices. Whether they had foresight 2 decades ago (3, for Fatherkao, hurhurhur) or did it because of convenience, I am so glad to be counted among the few blessed ones to have options of schools.
All we did was to make the major decision to move back to the west so that the travelling time to and from school would be painless, and we pretty much had all things set for our children with Ben’s entry to a decent school in Primary One.
We had uniforms, textbooks and workbooks, school bus and even the ECCA settled for our firstborn on 2 separate days last month. There’s one more orientation coming up on the 30th this month for him to orientate himself in terms of classroom and school buses, and he’s all set to enter the forays of formal education.
Excuse me while I go cry for a while. Was it just a while ago I said hi to him in the delivery room back in KKH?
As a former educator, I am also bracing myself for the fact that Ben will be entering a dungeon filled with unknown dragons to slay – peer pressure, the pressure-cooker system of assessments and performance-driven tasks, expectations and demands from teachers, school and possibly even from me; not forgetting the largest demon called the PSLE, which probably would render most of us at home incapacitated for that year – and I am wishing, right now, with all my heart, that he would remain my baby forever and I would never have to send him into this dark abyss where I can no longer mother him like I would a baby.
This is also a time of change for me. Once upon a time I had toddlers and preschoolers. Now I have one that’s growing up way too fast.
A few months ago, Ben started calling me ‘Mom’ (instead of ‘Mama’) and that just about changed the dynamics between us officially in this new phase. He’s showing me he no longer wants to be ‘babied’, oh why oh why. ‘It’s more grown-up to call you Mom, Mom,’ he tells me. A month ago, he was officially the bo-gay that would sing ‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth‘. A few weeks ago, he shed many tears looking at his graduating photos of himself with his friends from K2, telling me with sadness in his eyes that he missed them all and he is just “too sad that he’s growing up so fast”.
And just a few days ago I had to make sure he made a pinky promise with me that I would be his best friend forever. And that he would tell me everything that’s going on – in his mind, in his class, on the bus. ‘Ok, Mom. I won’t keep secrets from you,’ he says.
That’s my way of making sure I can still baby my firstborn. That’s also my way of holding him hostage to his words should he ever read this blog some day.
Meanwhile, the work to prepare him for dragon-slaying is on full-steam. We had a few things put in place the entire year for him. This includes making sure he enjoys the Chinese language through conversation and stories (he has a Chinese tutor come in to do some work with him and enthrall him with stories like Journey to the West), encouraging his progress beyond the K2 syllabus for Math and English (lessons at BlueTree, board games and story books are best for this!), developing his creativity and adaptability through craft and innovation (we have a craft trolley filled with recycled raw materials and LEGO for that!) and getting him to pick up a sport of his choice (more on that experience soon on the blog).
This baby’s all grown up now!