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Blink… And There Goes One Academic Year Of My Pre-Schooler; Lost To The Pandemic

Posted: March 19, 2021

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A young mother of a preschooler laments the passing of an academic year, lost to the online education of the pandemic times, though her daughter seems to have adapted.

My daughter has reached the fag end of her kindergarten. The school has sent a circular to the parents regarding this. It states, ‘We will be celebrating Bye Bye Kindergarten and Hello Primary day soon’.

As I read those words, I feel a gnawing pain tugging my heart. My breathing shallows down; transporting me to a sullen state. For a moment I remain numb and throw a glance at my daughter who is busy with her craft activity.

‘Blink and my daughter bids adieu to her kindergarten days. Why can’t time slow down its pace?’ I sigh at the thought of it.

Memories rush in of the early days

The kaleidoscopic mind brings along shards of memories.

The flashback of her first day at play school being the first to beam vividly in front of my eyes.

I see my tiny darling wailing, throwing her forlorn arms at me to lift her and take her back home. The very thought of it left my eyes glistened with tears.

She had taken her own time to settle down. I have lost count of the days when the playschool teacher had asked me to stay back; as a contingency plan.

I would perch myself on a blue coloured dwarf bench outside the classroom, clasping my hands together as my lips muttered short prayers for my restive child’s peace of mind. I would later stare blankly at the colourful walls, embellished with the caricatures of cheerful and spirited toddlers with a hope that one day my daughter too shall start loving her school life. Soon she outgrew that phase and was mentally acclimatized for the formal school.

How was your first day?

Only I know how worried I was on the first day of her formal school. She remained composed throughout the journey back home; making it difficult for me to fathom her mind.

“How was your day Sia?” I had asked her anticipating a gloomy response.

“… Good,” she had responded after a pensive pause.

“Ah! I can understand, you miss your play school, right?”

“No… not at all. I like my new teacher. I like my new big school.”

My heart did a quick waltz at the response.

In no time she got accustomed to the school timings and the concept of homework.

Gradually, she worked on her kinesthetic skills and picked up the art of writing and colouring by retaining the clarity of the figure minus the smudges. An entire academic year passed by effortlessly.

She was on cloud nine when we announced she was going to Sr. K.G.

Pandemic shifted classes online…

Though the lockdown was declared, the severity of the Pandemic was yet to sink deep into our minds. We were hopeful of the school reopening by mid of June. We had even purchased her new school uniform; (Alas! She never got an opportunity to wear them).

Then came the circular of online classes.

It took some time for us, parents, to even mentally visualise online class sessions for such young minds.

But Sia and her classmates proved us otherwise. The kids did a commendable job of seamlessly adapting themselves to the new normal.

I have to mention here, the teachers didn’t even for a day make it look as though they were facing an onerous situation. Taking a virtual class is a task in itself, and handling a batch of pre-primary kids is nothing short of a herculean task.

The classes commenced and I remained a mute spectator in the background and watched Sia interact with her old as well as current class teacher, friends while learning her new concepts all the way.

But teachers & kids adapted

From being an alien to the idea of the internet and handling laptops she groomed herself up to become a pro in that. Her classmates were now at ease with logging into/out of Google meet, Zoom chat, muting/unmuting themselves without parental intervention/ assistance at the command of their teachers. They even learnt the knack of switching off the camera interface for a short break or a quick snack attack. ‘Such smart kids!’

Amidst the most unpredictable and eventful year, I lost the thread of time and now I find myself sitting on the couch and watching my baby all geared up for primary school.

I get up, sit down beside her and rest my head on her tiny yet strong shoulders. She is still busy making her artwork. I look at those immersed eyes and pose my usual question.

Now ready to go to Primary?

“You’ll miss your teacher and friends, isn’t it?”

She faces me, and answers back with that familiar smile, ” No Amma, I’m happy and ready to go to the first standard.”

“Hmm,” I get up to resume my unfinished chores when she holds my hand and gestures me to stay back.

“What?”

“I miss going to school Amma. I’m sad I couldn’t meet my teacher and friends this year.”

I ruffle her silky hair and give her a warm hug and realise she is no longer that tiny toddler. Her personality and mental faculties are steadily forming and becoming evident.

‘Hold on Oh Time! Slow down your pace; Will you for once?’ My heart pleads as it yearns to meet back the once toddler Sia again.

Strange is our mind, at one point of the initial sleepless nights of motherhood, each of us would have prayed for our babies to grow up faster and when they actually do, we start missing their baby days.

Author’s note: Dear Moms, do share your child’s story too in the comments.I would love to hear from you about your journey with your child till now.

First published here.

Image source: shutterstock

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I'm a stock trader by profession. A yoga enthusiast and a qualified Yoga therapist.

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