The “First”s At School
My dear “I want to grow up and be a big boy so I can do many big boy things” baby boy, you who just said that to me tonight before you fell asleep,
Meet your very first classmates, and see how your very first class photo already looks quite dated.
Today, you said to me again, “I like Lily class. Everybody is there.” You had even approached Mrs Leow (your former class teacher) to tell her that you miss Lily class and want to go back there. :'(
In time to come though, you wouldn’t remember many of them, though I do cherish hopes that you would at least be friends with some of them for some years to come – but I will.
From Hunter, who always “got put in the corner again”, to Julien who goes to school with his rag bunny, to Zachary who brings a Disney-PIXAR Car to school everyday, to Landon (“Mummy, is it like Landings!!!”), to Colin who’s “my best friend”… and the girls: “Jun Jun is very pretty”, “Kyra kwy again…”, Emma the one you love (you very quickly corrected me to tell me it’s the Emma in school you love and not ours at home) and Rachael the “prettiest girl”, to Zhuo ‘En the very first girl who cared for you?
What about Cohen whom I think is your real best friend, and Joan, the cute little girl who stole mummy’s heart?
You wouldn’t remember your first days at Pre-Nursery, but I hope I will always remember how comically traumatic it was for you lot. Everyone was crying, and I remember sharing my observation with your father that the loud cryers got all the attention while the silent ones were left to their own defences.
Cohen was one of them who sat there quietly weeping for his father. I held his hand because the teachers were occupied with the louder cryers; the poor boy looked up at me and probably thinking I was a teacher too, pleaded with me that he wanted his daddy.
These are things I remember, and seeing how all of you grew last year was amazingly edifying for me. It’s great to see that you and your friends still say hello to one another at school – from not having the vocabulary and maturity to converse last year, to now being able to recognise one another from a crowd and stop to say ‘hello’. I’m a privileged observer of this growth.
And then, there is dear little Joan.
This is my absolute favourite photo of you two. It was raining that day at the time of school dismissal. All hands were on deck especially to usher you little pre-nursery kids to the hall. Out you came, with Png 老师 leading the way, and in her usual manner, getting you kids all way too happy and excited. But while everyone was huddling along, smiling and laughing, you and Joan were hopping your way to the hall, and even running as both of you mimicked Png 老师 in sheltering your heads from the rain, until Mrs Kew (then-principal) had to catch you two… and even she couldn’t help laughing at the both of you.
And this is exactly why I love seeing you two together. You both get each other more mischievous and giggly. Joan seemed to be every bit as impish as you, and you just get each other going so uproariously. You share laughter.
Even Mrs Leow had commented that the two of you were very close in class everyday. Which was why this sentimental mummy was quite sad that the two of you got split up this year.
But guess what… after the first week of school, you guys found each other at dismissal.
These photos were taken on the second day it happened, when we stepped out of school to see Joan and her daddy at the other exit.
What happened on the first day (that got me and Joan’s daddy all soft inside) was that you broke free of my hand, and Joan struggled to get down from her daddy carrying her, and you two literally ran towards each other. Across an entire stretch of pavement.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting you two are in love, but it’s such a sweet gesture that could be filled with only love and friendship that it went straight to my heart (and probably to Joan’s daddy too, who complained about you guys getting separated).
So Matthew, you won’t remember your very first girlfriend, but Mummy always will, now that it’s blogged. I wonder how your wife will laugh about this post in future. 😉
And another thing you might prefer not to remember, but I do: It was too late that I had remembered you were due to take your class photo… and so Daddy and I attempted to cut your fringe at home.