Kate has entered Primary 1! On one hand, she was really excited to finally be a ‘big’ girl like her siblings, yet she was apprehensive about the new changes and environment. The night before, she couldn’t fall asleep and had lots of worries. The good thing is that she is able to voice out her fears and I can help her to make sense of them.
She had a multitude of worries, from being afraid of getting lost, to not being able to understand her Chinese teacher fully, to not knowing where to go when her school bus drops her off. However, many of her fears were allayed as the parent volunteers did a wonderful job of helping the children to settle in. She comes home happy and tells us that she has made new friends. She still doesn’t understand everything her Chinese teacher says and sometimes feels sleepy in class and once she closed her eyes and was scolded by her teacher!
The second day of school, she lost her water bottle. She put her school bag next to her on the school bus, but when the bus jerked, her bottle fell out and rolled away. They were told to wear their seat belts and she could not pick it up. By the time they reached school, the bottle was nowhere to be found. Poor girl did not have her bottle, but she said, “I was very thirsty so I told my teacher I needed to go to the toilet and I quickly went to the water cooler to drink water.” The bus uncle had placed her bottle in the Lost and Found, but Kate doesn’t know where to go to find it!
Overall, she is adjusting very well. When I get home, her bag is packed and she has seen to the instructions of the day and is able to relay messages and relate her day’s events.
As for #5, my oh my. Every afternoon, we are holding our breaths.
We have chosen a wonderful school with a focus on character development and community service. The school is quite a distance away but he has a direct bus there. He used to take the school bus in primary school, so during the December holidays, my mum took him on a trial run on the public bus.
The night before, I pre-empted him. Boy, you may fall asleep on the bus. If you do, look around to see where you are. Stop as soon as you can, where you can see another bus stop opposite the road. Cross over the overhead bridge or at the traffic light and take the same bus home.
All scenarios covered, I went to work in peace. As #1 hasn’t started school, I told him to text her if anything happened.
During recess, he was about to buy food when he realised that he had left his money in his school bag. He went back upstairs but all the classrooms were locked! He had not made any friends yet so he went hungry.
School ended at 2pm and he took the bus home. He was tired and fell asleep soon after boarding. Suddenly, he jolted awake, looked out, saw unfamiliar surroundings and thought he had missed his stop. He quickly alighted and texted #1. While he waited for her reply, he wandered around. He chanced upon a pizza hut, ordered takeaway and used up his whole week’s allowance!
Finally, he and #1 figured out that he had alighted only a few stops away from school and he was still a long way from home. He walked back to the bus stop and took the next bus home.
I got home at 5pm and found #5 in bed. This time, he did not fall asleep on the bus, but stopped 1 stop too early. He started walking home but halfway through he could not go any further and took a rest at the playground. He fell asleep at the playground!
When he woke, he texted #1 to come out and get him but by the time she saw the text and went to look for him, she saw him about to hail a cab. She called out to him and told him not to enter the cab. He was having a fever and was too tired even to walk the rest of the way home with his heavy bag.
He was sick, stayed home, and rested over the weekend. He is starting to get used to the routine of sleeping at 8.30pm so that he can wake up at 5.30am.
Boy: Mum, are you at church?
Me: No, why?
Boy: I just passed it. Thought you can pick me. I think I missed our stop.
Me: Quickly alight now. Cross the road and take the same bus back.
Boy: I can see this condo called xxx
Me: Press the bell and alight! Now!
Silence for a while. Meanwhile, the girls and I were sitting in suspense.
Me: Boy, where are you? Have you alighted? Can you see a bus stop across the road?
Boy: No still on bus.
Me: Why? I told you to get off the bus.
Boy: Too crowded. I tried. Can’t squeeze out.
Me: Just say excuse me and go towards the door!
I texted #1 to see if he had texted her. He hadn’t, and she also tried to reach him.
Me: Boy! Where are you? Answer me! We are getting very worried.
Boy: Bus interchange.
Me: So far! Ok, get off and look for the same number and take the bus back.
Silence for a long, long time. Meanwhile, we were getting extremely worried. But deep down, I had a feeling that he should be ok.
Finally, after an hour and a half, he breezed into the house.
Me: BOY! What happened? Why didn’t you answer us? We were so worried about you.
Boy: Oh. I saw a mall so I went in to take a look. Then I took the bus back. My phone is in my bag. I walked very slowly because I’m hungry.
Me: Next time, you don’t go silent on us ok? All of us were super worried! You must update us.
At 2.30, we got a text.
Boy: Lost my bus card
Me: Search your entire bag again
Boy: I did. I cut my finger because the safety pin can’t close properly.
Me: Pay with coins
Boy: No coins
Me: Pay with $2
Boy: Don’t have
Me: How much do you have
Boy: Spent everything on food
Me: Ask a friend
Boy: No friend at bus stop
Me: Ask a stranger
Me: Your sister did that once, and a kind lady gave her $1. She met her again many weeks later and returned the $1. Can you ask?
#2 said she will call a grab for him, but because he was at a bus stop I thought it was better he walked to hail a cab. He walked a long way because all the cabs were hired.
When he got home, I told him to be more careful, and that I had just topped up his card with $40 and his carelessness cost me the cab fare plus the $40. I was about to give the general office a call to see if anyone had found it.
Boy: Wait a minute! Maybe it is in my shorts! Just maybe!
He ran to his school bag, pulled out his school shorts and whipped out his bus card.
He was beaming.
Oh mum, when I alighted from the bus this morning, I put it in my pocket. But we changed into PE shorts!
Me: You should have been more mindful and remembered where your card was! You just wasted me $16.
Boy (with a grin): But I saved you $40!
I really don’t know what to say about this kid. It’s become a daily family anticipation with many face palm moments.
I don’t think anything more can go wrong.. fingers crossed.