There’re several points I’d like you to consider before actually reading the story:
1. I did not go to a kindergarten myself. Well, my parents did try to send me there, but after just a few days I came down with a flu, which transformed into bronchitis, which in its turn progressed into pneumonia, leading to a two-months stay in a hospital. My family chose to keep me home until school after that. School age at home at that time was 7.
2. My grandmother, a wonderful Russian language and literature teacher, made sure that I could fluently read, write and count before school, making me ready (or even more than ready) for the curriculum.
3. In spite of my childhood wish to become a teacher (my grandmother being a great role model), I recently realised that I don’t possess an ounce of teaching talent, completely lacking the patience required.
4. My daughter is now 5 and a half years old. If we stay in Czech Republic, she can either go to school this September or a year later, as her birthday is in the beginning of September. If we choose to move to Russia, she has another year to go, as school age is 7 there. If we decide to move to UK, then she would definitely have to start school in September, as they begin at 5. This is a good time for her to start getting used to spending some time without me at school.
5. I do enjoy those few hours, when she’s in the kindergarten, but as I have a two year old at home, I won’t call that time completely relaxing anyways.
So, now to the story in question. We tried sending our daughter to a bilingual kindergarten (English/Czech) last summer, but she was too unhappy with it and we decided that as it was just a couple of months after our relocation, new language, new home, we would try to make it easier for her. I enrolled her to various classes instead, like English, tennis, went swimming with her, etc.
By now she started feeling more confident, when in an English-speaking environment (as we’re not planning to live in CZ forever, we thought that English would come in more handy, when we move again) and we decided to give kindergarten another go. I went with her on the first day, the first week she stayed only till lunch time and for the second week she went there for a full day already (till 4pm).
At first she was apprehensive, but, having found some friends, it got much better and she actually wanted to stay for a whole day. However, after a couple of days, she started complaining that she misses me a lot and doesn’t want to go there without me anymore. I understand that every child, attending kindergarten, goes through this, but yesterday’s events made me confused.
Our Sunday morning started with complaints about going to the kindergarten and how she just wants to be at home with me. I asked her a lot about other kids, how they behave towards her, about teachers, what they do when she’s upset. I cannot find anything deeper that worries her, just that she wants to be with me. Ok, I tried to explain to her how many interesting things she can do there, how many plans there’re for this month, various activities (this kindergarten is actually very good about it). That didn’t work.
Later during the day, health complaints began. At first it was a leg, that hurt a lot. I told her that she probably just sat on it for too long and it would get back to normal in a minute. Then it was her head – weather maybe? Or in need of fresh air? Then her eyes – let’s lay down and have a rest (no fever, I checked). Then her throat – ok, we can spray it and have warm tea. Finally, her ear – at that point I gave up, telling everyone that we’re going to a hospital for a check up, as she had a problem with that ear a couple of weeks ago and I had to be sure. During the time we were dressing up, she also told me that her chest hurts.
Arriving to a doctor on duty (we already know the way, after visiting that place just a week ago with a crayon in toddler’s nose), the girls played nicely in a waiting area until we were called to the office. While at the doctor’s office, my daughter was jumping around, climbing on a sofa, jumping off, skipping around and overall not showing any signs of a very sick child (she actually told me ‘my ear hurts so much I will die now” in a car). I tried to explain to the doctor in my limited Czech everything there was to know – all the long list of symptoms I received during the day. She checked her chest, told me her heart and lungs are completely fine and sent us to an ear specialist to have a look, providing us with a letter.
In a waiting room of an ENT doctor (very familiar again, as that’s where we ended up last week with that crayon in the nose) I tried to read that letter. As far as my Czech allows it, I understood that it described my daughter as ‘cheerful, lively, energetic child with no signs of any infection whatsoever and symptoms appearing at a mention of ‘kindergarten’. Right, I kinda thought along the same lines and it was reassuring to read it black on white.
ENT specialist checked the ears and found no fault in them – completely healthy pretty ears. My toddler then climbed into a chair and pointed at her nose, requiring a check up (perhaps she was waiting for another piece of crayon falling out of it).
On our way back home, my daughter complained that she was feeling sick. I don’t know, pretending again? Motion sickness? She doesn’t usually have it. We stopped and opened the door, but no, she didn’t need it. I stayed home with the younger one and my husband took our very sick child to a car wash for a drive.
Now, here’s an interesting thing. When they came back, she threw up and she was sick again later that evening. What was that all about? Coincidence? Psychosomatic? No idea. She felt fine today (at home), I fed her rice and she’s going to a kindergarten tomorrow.
Decisions decisions. Sticking with it? Being firm? I seriously don’t want her to just think up illnesses to stay home, let alone being sick. I’m not against homeschooling, but I have no trust in my power to do so with great results. Plus, I’m not even sure, which homeschooling system to follow, as our plans would be settled only this summer. Being expats makes things even more complicated in this situation.
I know that among my readers there’re homeschoolers as well as moms with their kids in classic education, what would you do? Some advice would be very welcome.
Submitted to Every Day Mom linkup at Diapers&Tutus.