Today was my boy’s first day of kinder.

I have been moiled in tur about this event for quite some time and must admit to shedding a few tears when the moment of separation arrived. Behind my sunglasses, discreetly! (Don’t worry about the display of chest-beating, wailing and hair-pulling I then subjected peak-hour drivers along Hiram’s Highway to on the way back to our lodgings. It didn’t last long.)

We took Rufus into his classroom – the Dragonfly room – and I perched on a tiny chair and helped him settle in during the initial free play session, talking loudly about the plastic insects and coloured shapes etc. This wasn’t so much to comfort my son as to cover the noise, and the shame, should my arse break the tiny tiny chair. Luckily both the furniture and Rufus’s fortitude held firm, and after a couple of prevaricating toilet trips (from him, not me), I was able to leave the room. His lip dropped very low, but not for long, and I think it was more from not being allowed to play with the cars at will. I walked out that door, heart breaking, and though I then fidgeted on the couch waiting for the phone to ring with reports of his inconsolable state, it never did! Which put my heart back together pretty nicely. In fact, when we arrived to pick him up, he threw a massive tanty on the floor of the kinder because he didn’t want to leave.

I had also been anxious about how he’d cope with the routine. He’ll be going to kinder for three hours every weekday, which is arduous by Australian pre-school standards, and have to operate on a strict timetable for the first time in his life. (Other than the ever-changing yet quite dictatorial one I impose to help us get out of the house on time.) At kinder, his day includes 30 minutes “topic time”, 30 minutes Mandarin, 30 minutes English phonics, structured play sessions etc. For a boy who’s never been in childcare or anything, it’ll be a big change in his life.

What, it’s not like he’s had anything else much to deal with lately!

Anyway, he can tell the time so we’d told him if he got worried through the day, just look at the clock and mama and dadda would be there at 12 to pick up. At 11.48am we was stuck in Sai Kung Public Library, waiting for the counter guy to count 64 pages of printer paper for someone in most tedious fashion! Could there be a less appropriate time in your whole life to be late than the designated pick-up time for your little dude on his first day of kinder? I think not! We made it to the front of the queue, threw HKD$17 at the guy for using their crappy printer, and jumped a taxi to the kinder, arriving at 12.02pm.

Luckily Rufus was quite forgiving.

His report of the day included having his name written on the blackboard; playing in the pretend kitchen; seeing a blue butterfly and a lizard; sitting in a circle; Miss Maria talking Chinese; and, my favourite, “Driving really fast in the yellow car for the noisy girls.” Wa-hey!

Miss Laura reported that at snacktime, when they dished up the oranges and biscuits, Rufus stuck up his hand and said “We have that in Australia too!”

Maybe it was because we made him wear a flanny for a touch of Oz.


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