Monday February 10 2014

LIVING AND LOVING IT: Our daughter’s first day in Primary One

By Carol Beyanga

So, we started P.1. this week. I am not sure how to put it, but let’s just say the reactions and emotions have not been what I expected. Throughout the December holidays, our girl had been telling everyone she met, that she would be going to a new school to start P.1. She was excited about the uniform and requirements we bought.

She reminded us frequently about how Tuesday February 4, the day of opening was around the corner. She could not wait – until we got to the school itself. This is when things started to go a little downhill.

Suddenly she got very quiet and as we walked out of the car, she asked whether I would stay outside her class until it was time to go home. When I said no, tears started forming in her eyes and she held my hand tight. I hoped she was not going to bawl her eyes out.

She did not and I was relieved. We went through the whole rigmarole of confirming with the school teacher that we had paid fees, bought requirements and passed by the shuttle company desk, to ensure there would not be any problems at the end of the day.

When she got to class, she started to cry a little and asked to go to the ladies. I escorted her there, told her everything would be fine, gave her a hug and took her back to class. She seemed a little better but waved a sad goodbye.
Throughout the day, I kept hoping she was fine, was feeding well, had made friends and was not crying. In the evening, I called the nanny to let me know when she was dropped home.

Because the nanny was used to her being brought back at 4.15pm every day from her former school, she called in a panic wondering why the girl was not home yet by 5pm. I assured her it was a different school and that she would be home sooner than later. I spoke too soon. Half an hour later, I got a call from the school:

“Nyabo, how is your daughter going home? Who is coming to pick her up?”
‘WHAT?!’ I thought to myself, panicking. The school is miles away from work (but mercifully near home). Hubby had gone with the car to the other side of town. I was not sure I had enough money on me to rush there and get us back home. What was I going to do? It turns out the shuttle people had been overwhelmed, getting more clients that very day.

I understood their predicament although I was a little peeved that of all people, our little one had been forgotten about and yet we had paid her transport fare way before those who did on the first day.

Also, although the drivers of the shuttle had come to our home, twice before, to see the place, they were still asking me to remind them of the route.
At the end of the day we worked it out and things have been better although there are still some hiccups here and there.

She is settling in, a little slower than I hoped. Evenings are fun as she tells us how she has made new friends who make her laugh, had a good lunch and saw saucepans in the school kitchen bigger than the sofas at home.
But mornings are less happy with pleas to go back to the nursery school she was in and long silences on the drive to school.
I am sure things will get better by the day. It is all a part of learning.