Mov­ing up

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION -

The twins, Ni­cholas and An­toinette, are par­tic­i­pat­ing in a mov­ing-up cer­e­mony come Mon­day af­ter nine long months of at­tend­ing day care in our barangay (vil­lage).

When I en­rolled them last July, a few weeks af­ter our re­turn to Cebu, I was filled with ex­cite­ment that my first­borns will be car­ry­ing back­packs and mak­ing friends out­side of our home.

I bought Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse back­packs and school sup­plies found on the list the teacher handed to me. I even bought ex­tra crayon sets “just in case.” It’s safe to say that I was more ex­cited than them.

Their first day in school was not as smooth as I ex­pected it to be. They re­fused to get in­side the class­room and wanted me to stay be­side them. They be­came the type of kid that I wasn’t when I was their age as noted by my mother, who de­scribed me as well be­haved and se­ri­ous with school­work even as a twoyear-old girl.

The ex­cite­ment flew out of the win­dow and was re­placed by frus­tra­tion and dis­ap­point­ment.

For the first three months of school, I spent ev­ery sin­gle class day bring­ing them to class, wait­ing for two hours and then bring­ing them back home.

Oh the screams and the cries. They were more than enough to break any­one’s eardrum.

Then came the re­spon­si­bil­ity of in­ter­act­ing with other moth­ers for a cul­tural pre­sen­ta­tion, for class­room im­prove­ment, for feed­ing pro­gram tasks, for sweep­ing sched­ules.

Note that the school is a barangay day care cen­ter that has since been re­named as an Early Child­hood Care De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter (ECCD) with the name of the barangay placed be­fore “ECCD”

This means that most chil­dren en­rolled in the school come from low-in­come fam­i­lies. There are mid­dle-in­come ones in the mix, but they con­sti­tute about three to four per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

Money prob­lems and mar­i­tal is­sues were com­mon top­ics dis­cussed in the two-hour wait. I avoided in­ter­ac­tion for two weeks, but my ex­tro­vert self gave in and de­vel­oped happy re­la­tion­ships with quite a cou­ple of them.

In­grid has three chil­dren whose hus­band is a le­chonero. Line is the en­tre­pre­neur­ial mother who sells pro­cessed meat to aug­ment fam­ily in­come. Rela is mar­ried to an overseas Filipino worker. Ging­ging and Grace are sis­ters-in-law; and their sons, Keishi and Zian, are class­mates. Ana­lyn raises pigs but could not quite fig­ure out how much to sell them for af­ter three months. Emma is a young mother to a boy named Rob­bie while Shelma mar­ried and gave birth in her late 30s. Nanay He­len is the nanny of Adrian. Wendy used to work as a se­cu­rity guard un­til she had three girls and needed to fo­cus on man­ag­ing their home. Alma is the fash­ion­ista and Mimi is the busi­ness guru.

I ac­cepted in­vi­ta­tions to visit their homes and par­take of the feasts they pre­pared. I danced with them dur­ing the Buwan ng Wika cul­tural pre­sen­ta­tion. I spent hun­dreds of hours with them fig­ur­ing out se­ri­ous is­sues such as how to keep our chil­dren safe and mun­dane top­ics such as which morn­ing snack tastes bet­ter (banana cue or kuch­inta).

I’ve shared with them my thoughts about the school’s prac­tice in giv­ing out oral and writ­ten ex­am­i­na­tions when the chil­dren are only three/four years old. I’ve rep­ri­manded a cou­ple of he­li­copter par­ents who, dur­ing ex­ams, would an­swer their chil­dren’s pa­per. In the twins’ case, I let them an­swer on their own so An­toinette al­ways ends up col­or­ing test pa­pers and Ni­cholas is of­ten seen point­ing at pic­tures and nam­ing them. It has been a good run. I don’t agree to a cou­ple of teach­ing meth­ods. But as a self-pro­claimed ed­u­ca­tor/teacher, who spent two years learn­ing how to ac­ti­vate schema and write lit­er­a­ture-based les­son plans, I com­mend Ma’am Lorna Pi­togo for steer­ing the wheel in a class of 30 chil­dren.

It’s no easy feat to keep both par­ents and chil­dren happy.

Ma’am Lorna be­gins each day with a prayer and en­riches classes with songs and dances. The songs and dances helped my twins be­come in­ter­ac­tive to fel­low chil­dren and re­spon­sive to ques­tions asked by adults.

They will leave the San Vi­cente ECCD Cen­ter equipped with im­proved so­cial skills and up­dated Bisaya lan­guage ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

As for me, I’m leav­ing the school with mem­o­ries of morn­ings spent plan­ning our cos­tumes, those morn­ings spent peel­ing say­ote to make chicken soup, those morn­ings spent won­der­ing when the school year is go­ing to end.

On Mon­day, that chap­ter will be of­fi­cially closed.

Now on to an­other ad­ven­ture!

Nanay Says cri­sev­ertruf­­in­gruffo­

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