We have just faced the worst fear of parents–children stepping out of their control zone! Our daughter has finally joined school. For 5 hours, she is out of our sight and very much on our minds. I can only wonder how parents send their children to hostels or marry them off. We can’t breath properly if until we see her again. It is like a part of us leaves with her. The house is too quiet and weird without her chatter.
And then, there is the fear for her well being–we know she is in safe hands. (My husband visited the school multiple times to ensure that.) But still the days and nights before the first day at school were filled with instructions.
- Never keep hands on door threshold or some one might close the door and crush it. (Sure!)
- Never close the classroom door. (Sure!)
- Never let others close the classroom door. (Sure!)
Note that there are no doors in the classes of this school to ensure children don’t shut them, but still our daughter indulged us.
- Never jump from benches. (I never do!)
- Never run on stairs. (I never do!)
- Clutch the railing tightly when going up and down the stairs. (I always do!)
- Don’t stay alone in a classroom. (What if I am the first child in the class?)
- Don’t leave your classroom unless accompanied by a teacher. (What if I have to use loo?)
- Don’t play outside classroom. Someone might push. (Okay!)
- Don’t play inside classroom. You can get hurt with all the benches. (Where will I play then?).
- Don’t enter a class that is not yours. (Why would I do that?)
- Don’t leave the school until Papa arrives. (Okay!)
- Don’t stay alone inside school until Papa arrives. (Where will go then, if I am the last one?)
- Don’t talk to strangers. (Papa will drop me and pick me up! When will I get a chance?)
And then there was more serious stuff about good touch-bad touch and self-defense heirarchy with increasing severity. If someone corners you or you don’t like their touch:
- Say No. Tell them to leave you alone. (What if they don’t?)
- Shout (What if they cover my mouth?)
- Bite and run (What if I can’t bite?)
- Kick (Not tall enough!)
- Fingers in the eyes, nose and throat, and run (My fingers are not strong enough!)
- Pencil in the eyes, nose and throat, and run (What if I don’t have pencil?)
- Anything in the eyes, nose and throat, and run (Fine, I’ll try.)
- Never use self defense against children. (What if a big boy at school hurts me?)
- Complain to a teacher. (What if there is no teacher?)
And so we go again…
In the end I was afraid that I had converted my daughter into a walking landmine, ready to explode at the touch, and I had to calm her down, reminding her that most people are nice and generous. They don’t hurt people and usually take care of children. I am wondering whether I have done a good job.
Even after all these preparations, on the first day, after walking her to school, my husband went back there to check on her after an hour and would have gone again if it wasn’t against the rules. He reached the school half an hour early to bring her back home.
All these years, we had waited for the day to come when our daughter would go to school and we would have some quiet time. Now, all we can do is look at the clock slowly ticking away the time until she returns home and fills our day again with her constant chatter.