Me: Ashu, what did you do in School today?
Ashu: I cried.
Me: You cried? My poor little darling. Why did you cry?
Ashu: I want Amma. I cried.
Me: (gives her a hug swallowing the tears.)
Yes! My baby girl started school from this week. We call it school but its just a small day care. "Drop the kids anytime, pick them up anytime, kids do whatever they want to do" kind of day care. We had checked it out 2 weeks back and Ashu seemed to like it. I talked about the school and the caregiver, lets call her Miss.Hooley, all week long to Ashu and prepared her.
On Wednesday (27th June 2007, when she turned 26 months old) we got ready and I dropped her at 10.30 am. I planned to hang around a bit and see whats going on. But Ashu started playing with all the toys there and did nt bother to look for me. So I sneaked out. I called 30 mins later and Miss.Hooley said shes doing good. It was raining cats and dogs so I was just sitting in the tram and going nowhere in particular for one hour and then went to pick Ashu up. She was eating a cookie and as soon as she saw me she started bawling. I hugged her and said its ok but she kept sniffling until we reached home 45 mins later. She had her lunch and went to sleep. When she stirred from her nap, she started crying and asking "Amma, where did you go" and it broke my heart. In the evening she said she liked the school, she liked Miss. Hooley, she liked S and S who are her friends who go to the same day care and she would go to school the next day.
On Thursday, I left her at 10.30 am and said Bye and she waved back at me. I walked by the lake and did some window shopping and checked with Miss. Hooley by phone half hour later, she told me that Ashu is looking for me and crying a bit and clinging to Miss.Bee who is another caregiver there. She told me she will be ok and not to worry. I worried. When I went to pick her up 90 minutes later, I saw Ashu holding Miss. Bees hand and whimpering with a tear dried face. As soon as she saw me, she started crying. I hugged and told her to STOP crying. She did. She happily said bye to everyone there and we took a tram home. She gave the same "I like school. I like the teacher. I ll go to school tomorrow. I wont cry" feedback in the evening.
On Friday, we bunked.
(To be continued...)