Week of Firsts (2016)

It’s the first work week of 2016. In many families, kids are going to school for the first time, with worried parents wondering if they should take more days of leave to make sure children are well-adjusted in school. In our home, this is also the first week of everything. 

Phoebie is in K2! Oh my goodness!! It felt totally surreal realising that because it seemed like yesterday that she just started attending preschool. Next thing we know, we have to register her for primary school. Again, oh my goodness!!!

Mummy Priscilla is now also a nanny to my baby Niece. My Sister-in-law will be returning to work after her maternity leave and I offered to look after the baby since they were looking for a nanny and I would be home with my children anyway. I know, it sounds crazy to some people that a Mother of two young children with no domestic helper offered to look after a baby that is only a few months old. Somehow, I felt it would be manageable and offered my service. With that, I started my first time of looking after three young children this week.

  
By God’s grace, the children are adjusting much better and faster than expected. Phoebie and Breyen love having their baby Cousin around, so much so that Phoebie would ask me every night whether the baby was coming the next day, and Breyen would cry at the gate every evening when the baby went home. 

  

Both my children try to be little helpers with the baby. They help to rock or pat the baby if they are nearer to her when she starts to cry, and they help fetch fresh diapers to me and throw dirty diapers in the bin. Breyen, who is usually clingy to me, seems aware that baby Cousin needs to be carried more than him, so he doesn’t whine when baby Niece is being carried by me. In fact, he will stand or sit nearby and pat the baby. I can’t be more relieved by all this, because it makes managing all three children at the same time much easier. 

In this week of firsts, Breyen went to school for the very first time. This is an event that I have been anticipating with mixed feelings. On his first day, Breyen went into class with no tears. He happily played with the toys in class and went with the programme until it was time to go home. 

The second day was a tearful farewell. Seeing other children cry, he realised what was going on, that he would be away from me and started to cry too. He struggled to break free as the teacher carried him into class. According yo the teacher, he eventually fell asleep in class after crying and woke up during snack time. Once he was awake, he was okay.

On the third day of school, Breyen immediately clung onto me and started crying when he saw the classroom. In spite of his reluctance to leave me, he cooperated with the teacher through the health check while sniffling. I decided to carry him into the classroom and he calmed down. Once he sat on a chair, I gave him a quick kiss and left. I could hear the waterworks starting again but I knew I had to make the goodbye short. I hardened my heart for that moment and didn’t turn back.

With the classroom door closed, I tried to listen through the door. In less than two minutes, the crying stopped and all I could hear was children playing. With that, I left the school to do my own things.
Breyen’s reaction reminded me of Phoebie’s first time in school when we were in the US. Her first day went well with no tears. Second day was full of refusal, screaming, tears and mucus. Eventually after two or three weeks, Phoebie adapted and waved goodbye as she went to school. I know that Breyen will also eventually adapt, so I have to learn to let go of my baby boy as he learns to be independent.

This week of firsts has been filled with new adventures. I know that we will all learn from this week and carry on for the rest of the year. For now, I’m going to take each day as it comes and pray that I can continue to take good care of all the children and balance my freelance work too.

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