Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lucy Goes to School

Now that things have finally settled down school-wise for Lucy, the time is ripe to tell the truth about her first steps into the scholarly life.

At first, Lucy was very reluctant to go to school. Here in England, when a child turns three they are entitled to fifteen hours of pre-school day care. Many different small (and not so small) schools provide typical day care (where the child stays most of the day for five days a week) and have a class of three- to four-year olds who are covered by the government at least for fifteen hours. We took advantage of this for Jacob and now Lucy is spending her mornings at a nursery right next to Jacob's school.

The first week was pretty rough. Lucy did not want to be left at school, even for five minutes. She was very teary-eyed and clung a bit when I tried to leave. The second day, the teacher picked her up and held her while I said goodbye. Luckily I'd had practice leaving Jacob so I knew not to drag out the scene. At pick-up time, Lucy was always excited to see me. The teacher always said that she calmed down quickly after I left. I'm not sure if that is just reassurance for parents or if it is actually true. I prefer to think it's true.

The third day, Lucy stepped up the resistance at home. She did not want to put on her shoes or coat. I had to struggle to get her properly dressed to go to school. She'd cry in the car but eventually accepted her fate by the time we got out of the car. She walked resignedly into her classroom. The sad look on her face was heart-rending.

The fourth day was the worst. We were up in her room getting into daytime clothes (the school has no uniform). Lucy decided this was the time to put up the big fight to stay out of school. She refused to wear jeans, slacks, trousers, or anything on her legs. We had a shouting match that eventually devolved into me forcing her sweat pants on her. Then she took them off. I was slightly peeved. We had another round of wrestling and she did not take them off. Mostly because I carried her downstairs and put her shoes on right away. She still pouted and talked the talk about not going to school. The car ride was noisy but the walk into school was quiet. Again, she had come to accept her fate.

The fifth day wasn't so bad. When I went to pick her up, the teacher said that Lucy had told the class all about where she was from and about her family. As we were leaving, she saw that lunch was being brought in for the other kids. She wanted to have some. I said we'd check with the lady at the reception desk about having lunches at school in the future. The lady said it wasn't covered by the government funding but we could pay if we wanted to. I was not interested in paying for it but we took a menu home and I promised Lucy we'd talk to Mommy about it.

We decided not to sign up for lunches. I have taken the preemptive measure of coming about ten minutes early so Lucy doesn't see the lunch coming in. We don't talk about it anymore. She has more or less forgotten about the issue, for which I am thankful. There's plenty of food at home for lunch. And I've also started dropping her off ten minutes early, so we get the full allotment.

As of week three, Lucy has definitely come to love school. I went to pick her up the other day. The children were outside since the weather was favorable (and you do have to take advantage of favorable weather when it comes). I saw Lucy on a scooter go around the corner of the building as I walked up. The other children (mostly girls) spotted me and started shouting, "Lucy, your dad's here!" in their cute British accents. They shouted for a while to no avail. Lucy was far too happy to be playing outside. Eventually she did come back around the corner and was delighted to see me. We both walked inside the building so I could bring her home.

It's nice that she's warmed up to school. Hopefully there will be no stress next year when she has to go all day. And wear a uniform!

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