I was telling Yu on the way to school the other day that while his brothers might remember their first home in HV, he would likely see himself as a BP kid. And it just hit me one recent evening while I was watching Yu sleep that Kai has spent five years in old school and will spend one year in the new, while Yu will be the opposite, i.e. one year in his current school and five in his new. Yang is in the middle - three years in each.
I consider Kai and Yang child care veterans :p On their first day at the new school, the staff thought I would stay with them that day. But no, I went to work after a short while :p They're used to the child care setting - many children, some of whom they don't know but kids just play together anyway; many teachers, some of whom they don't know but if the other kids know them, they're teachers!
But Yu, I'm not too sure. He is comfortable now, being one of the oldest kids around at 17 months. But when he graduates from infant care, he'll go to a new school with new teachers, new friends, new routine. Kai and Yang were brought to playgroup towards the end of their infant care days to help them get familiar. But Yu will have no such orientation. I'll take leave on his first day at playgroup, first day at new school, just in case.
Yu showing me around his territory one morning when we got there before the first teacher
I really like the old school. We - Sito and I - find the new school quite sterile. It's very new, and in a mall so the outdoor is still sheltered. There's no water play, only sand play. And there is no trampoline! The old school is in two old houses but it feels super homely. Ah well, pros and cons of each.
The old school is also where they all met a girl named H. Kai's H left him in N2. Yang left his H in N2. Yu's H has never been his - she graduated to PG last year and recently said she liked Kai AND Yang. Poor Yu!
Growing up in child care centre also means, I hope, that they are used to being in school. We use "going to school" all the time. Granted, formal education will be quite different, but it's similar in that they will not be at home for many hours a day. An ex-colleague once said that they would also not be used to staying at home. But looking at them now, I think they still like to be at home - I get meltdowns here and there just before leaving for school coz Kai wanted to play more at home!
The bad thing about child care centres is the ease of catching germs. With Kai, I had to take leave before I even earned them coz I just came back from no-pay leave. That's even with Mum's help to watch him. Then we got a helper. But I still had to take leave when Yang and Yu were smaller. Now, I try to take leave when I have to bring them to the clinic. Other times, I work from home while the helper watches over the kid(s) - it's important that I'm still home else I'll be super worried with no eyes on them when she goes to the toilet!
But child care centres aren't cheap, especially the old one. We have spent more than $100,000 on child care fees already!!!! Kai is almost done now. From next year, it will be mostly Yang and Yu coz student care fees should be way lower. And Yu will spend a few months less in childcare coz he was born in October :p Now I can't wait for them all to go to primary school!