Kindergarten: it's finally started!!
Yes, I know the uniform is a bit much. Wool beret, bolero jacket and tiny short shorts, with suspenders! He looks adorable and so much like his older brother at the same age.
There are twenty two kids in his class, an even mix of boys and girls. His teacher seems nice, young but not completely new. The environment is somewhat familiar to Little Guy as he accompanied me to all of Noodle's kindergarten events in his first two years of life.
Today is day three of actual sessions. So far Little Guy has happily gotten dressed and ready to go. He's excited about making friends, learning new songs and the upcoming field trip.
For me, I feel a little more relaxed today. I spent the first day skipping from activity to activity without much focus then felt disappointed that I had 'wasted' the morning. In actuality I was quite tired from all of the preparations and the school holidays. Yesterday I was able to get on with some sewing (did you check out the sale?) and get my head around my new status as work-at-home mum without kids with me.
I've been reflecting over the past five years. I found a lot of it very stressful. Five years ago we moved to a city about an hour out of the downtown Osaka area. All at once I had a husband who commuted (out of the house for fourteen hours a day), a kindergartener (Noodle) and a baby on the way (Little Guy). Being in a brand new house was lovely of course but there was a lot to do. I had to start driving on a daily basis where previously I had only driven a few times in this country. I had to find a new doctor and hospital to deliver the baby that was due in four months. Then I had to learn to juggle kindergarten pick-ups, grocery shopping, housework and a newborn with allergies. I cried a lot myself.
Five years on I'm happy to say things are not so overwhelming. I feel great relief that Little Guy will be out of my hair for a few hours each day. The timing seems perfect as he is at the stage where he's ready to make his own friends. He's ready to be challenged on the road to preparation for school. Since I have already conquered the kindergarten system once I will not be on such a steep learning curve. And I have no other distractions. It's going to be a great year!
Here is Japan there is an expression "otsukare sama desu" which is hard to translate into English but roughly it means 'thanks for your hard work'. It's said by colleagues as they pass each other in the halls at work, at home time as a farewell and in many other situations. I will say it to myself after ten years of full-time mothering a toddler/pre-schooler. With the exception of those four months between the time Noodle started kindergarten and Little Guy was born I have had one or the other at home with me almost 24/7 since 2001. Phew! I'm glad it's over.