“Oh she’s such a big girl now, which playschool do you send here to?” Gosh, playschool? “She is just 18 months old now, my little baby!”
When is the right time to send the child to a playschool? Which one do we choose? Day-care too?
Every parent just wants the best for their child.
I clearly remember my child’s naming ceremony. The priest asked my husband to make a wish for my daughter and whisper that in her ears. When asked to clarify, he said you could wish for her to be an engineer, a doctor or a pilot… that was a very brief moment when our eyes met and we just smirked. I knew exactly what that smirk meant. I couldn’t be prouder when my husband said into my 40-days old (rather young) darling’s daughter ear that he wished for her to be a good human being and that she should always be happy. But, I would be lying if I said that thoughts about what she will become tomorrow – as a professional, as a person, if she would do well in school or in sports… hasn’t crossed my mind. I guess we are just wired to measure our lives on par with what we achieve, what we become, how much we accumulate.
I hope I can break this trend. All I want for my daughter is to have a joyous life – a life where she is loved and treasured, and in turn, she can love and treasure. I want her to also make a difference in the world – whichever way she chooses to do it, is fine by me. Whether she makes a difference to a million or just one life – I am not judging. This ‘wisdom’ didn’t come to me just like that – I have been there and done that.
I was so excited when my little one turned one! I wanted her to learn everything super-fast. I had been reading to her ever since she was 3-months old, as I knew that doing so will build her vocabulary. I introduced books rather early. Big, bright picture books. My daughter loved it! This was great.
What wasn’t so great was this. One fine March morning (my daughter was 19 months old); I took her to a popular playschool near my home. And, the play school happily enrolled her although the next session began only in June. The explanation given to me was that she’d adjust already before the next term began. I was quite inexperienced and it didn’t even strike me that vacations in May would be enough to disrupt the whole ‘adjustment’ to school. We went to that school for a week – both of us – and I was appalled. Appalled by their hygiene standards, the apathy of teachers, and the capability of the instructors… horror, horror! But, I still didn’t react to it. Initially, we both sat in the class, disturbing 20 other ‘well adjusted’ children. Slowly more new moms started joining in – crying children, messy classrooms, 3-4 moms in the class and general chaos. After a week, I couldn’t take it anymore. Then I was asked to play in the doll-house outside. This was a happy time – my daughter loved it and so did I! Soon it was time for the annual day. And, dance practice began. I was so excited and waiting to see my little one shine bright on the stage. On the day of the dress rehearsal, the teacher asked us to leave the children in class and pick them up after two hours. I wish I hadn’t been so stupid. I wish I could do things differently. Those two-hours might have been the most stressful time in my little one’s life. She had cried for straight 120 minutes, had no one paying her any attention – the teachers were busy with the practice. Her diaper was wet and she was miserable. I think I just held her for 30 minutes straight when I saw her after her ordeal. My angel was a troubled soul that day and night. She was crying even in her sleep. I was possibly the worst mom on this planet. The annual day came and went, my little one refused to get up on the stage and I was just fine with that. I wasn’t thinking about a play-school anymore. I didn’t care.I was happy to have my daughter at home with me, happy and carefree as a two-year old should be. June came, and parents scurried for admissions. We weren’t joining the race.
But, somewhere it struck us that we could not keep our little one at home perpetually, we had to let go… Finally we found a school that we liked – one with a big open playground and friendly teachers. She joined late that month and settled in after two stressful weeks. She loved playschool and began to look forward to it each morning. And, now she loves formal school as well. Phew!
Every child is unique. Every child takes her/his own time to do things. Do not rush them. I stopped looking at milestone charts and I stopped comparing notes with other mothers and I couldn’t be happier.
I celebrate my daughter’s every little achievement and proudly display every piece of ‘art’ she creates… I do not bother about the things she can’t do yet and I know, she will soon. And, if she doesn’t, no worries. I am OK with that too. On the positive side, those days just passed. Playschool opened a world of fun, friends, activities and independence for my child. She loved it and was quite sad when it ended, Guess, I was too.