Originally posted 2010-11-22 21:08:11.
Last Saturday was the orientation to the orientation for the 2011 batch of standard 1 kids. Yup that’s what I said.
On Saturday when Caitlin and I were done and leaving for the day, I had made sure again that she knew where to queue upon reaching the school on Monday, and where to wait for only a set list of people to follow home.*
This morning, I had thought to myself that I should at least walk her into the assembly area again, just for both(?) our peace of mind. Gladly the rain had stopped, and that I had decided to drop off Caleb first before heading to the school, with plenty of time to spare.
On a personal level I had wanted to gauge the time taken for everything for Caitlin to be in school on time. Chinese schools, at least in my time, are quite unforgiving when it comes to punctuality; and rightly so. The last thing I want is to be the cause for their lateness- not setting a good example and at the same time being cause of their likely punishment.
We got to the school area around 8:30am, with classes scheduled to start at 9am. After finding a spot to park (eager parents around too!) we finally reached the gate at 8:35am. I asked if Caitlin was okay to walk in alone from here; half hoping that she would still “need” me to come along. OKAY I’M A SOFTIE. She didn’t give me a straight answer, but kept on walking. Part of me was thinking perhaps she didn’t “need” me, either cos she truly was okay, or that she was already embarrassed by her dad at 6! She did after all quite suddenly ask for the routine before-school hug before even reaching the gates.
So I tailed her in towards the assembly area after all, just to be sure, with the usual never-boring side-to-side ponytail swing. At a 90 degree bend, she saw me, smiled, and waited for me to catch up.
I tried to deflect, asking if she knew where to go. She did. Made some small talk along the way. Upon reaching the assembly area, there was already a small crowd. I stood back letting her ahead to join the class-line. I gestured Can I go now?, she gestured back Wait.
Okay, she needs me
Soon, her boy-friend shows up, and they were clowning around already whilst still remaining in line. Then the school bell rings; quite a loud one too by the way- made Caitlin and I slightly-cringe; and the same teacher appeared on stage and greeted the kids, already starting to inculcate the usual manners of lao-shi-zao-an.
The teacher then says to the parents that from tomorrow onwards, “It would appreciated if the parents do not come into the assembly area (or the school at all, for that matter) and just to let the kids queue themselves”; at which time, to my surprise, Caitlin waves goodbye to me.
I nodded, smiled, and waved as I walked away, making sure she at least sees my hand above the heads- that she knows I was indeed leaving.
But as you know, I still hadn’t I just wanted to watch her some more, for whatever reason you want!
Soon though, the respective class teachers came to bring the lines of kids to their classrooms, and off went the ponytail in tow.
I think she is well and truly settling in.
* This is after all, the first of such street-smartness that kids ought to know/learn about. In this world where it is no longer safe to be outside, either cos of baddies or simply cos there are just a lot more cars on the road now. I used to cycle around our neighbourhood, unaccompanied, without much worries from anyone.