Next week we’re starting C at a play-school here on The Rock. She is now 22 months old and is still very indifferent to other children. She looks at them wearily and does not stay in other children’s company for more than a couple of minutes, preferring to move on and play on her own. We have no other young toddlers in our family and until she starts school next year, she will probably not get any further interaction from children her own age.
She has been registered already and I took her to the said play-school this week, just to see her reaction. There were a total of eight boys there, and she was the only female. She stood holding my hand for the first couple of minutes, studying her surroundings and looking at the other children with a curious eye. Then she saw the swing and the deed was done. She loves swings, and we cannot pass by a playing-field without having her pull us towards it, telling us ‘swings, see-saw – go!’ So she sat on the swing gently swinging herself, when two young boys came forward and started pushing her to and fro, all the while C was sitting down basking in the attention. We stayed for a couple of minutes, and of course as expected, we left with tears and cries. Only a promise to the nearby playing-field did the trick of silencing her.
As we had anticipated, our news was meant with some silent and other not-so-silent signs of dissent. Our decision to start her at play-school was only taken after realizing how cut off from other children C is. The fact that I’m not currently working seems to baffle some when I tell them about it, because the way of reasoning here seems to be if the mother is not working, then the child should stay with her, and the mother should have no business of ‘dispensing’ of her motherly duties to take care of her child. My conscience is at ease and my mind is at rest that C will not feel traumatized that her parents sent her to a new place to meet and play with other children for a couple of hours a week, and any time she gets to spend there will only help her develop into a friendlier toddler. It’s not as if this play-school is tough work for toddlers – their itinerary is a child’s idea of heaven – outdoor playing, crafts, DVD-time, costume-dressing, nap-time, new toys to discover and play with…I’m sure C will not be angry at us for this decision.
So we’re digging our heads into the sand and going with our gut feeling. It has always worked for us before. Be it a week or be it a month, play-school can only do C good.
The only thing that is worrying me is how I will react when I drop her off and head off home, with a couple of hours without my baby and free time suddenly on my hands!