Letters to Myla Rae : You Don't Like Mummy?

 Open when you feel like I'm against you.

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Dearest Myla Rae,

You don't like mummy.

You said it yourself. Multiple times over the course of the last few weeks.

And it broke my heart... not because I'm sad for myself. I'm not. I'm sad because I know that for you to feel this way, you're trying to get through a lot in your young life at the moment.

I've tried asking you about it, and talking about how you feel.... because I want to help fix this unhappiness you seem to have. You vocalise it as I don't like Mummy... but there's a deeper problem there. You can only tell me in so many words, and I think you don't understand it yourself and are just feeling overwhelmed.

Perhaps it's your new experience of death (with your great grandma's recent passing). Perhaps it's because mummy is no fun as I'm in charge of the nitty gritty daily stuff to get you and your brother through the day ... like pick up your toys, restrict your video time, brush teeth, tell you to go sleep, and all the Shitty non-fun (but necessary) stuff I guess...

But here's the scary part... I think it's mostly to do with school. This year, you tell me on almost a daily basis that you don't want to go to school (but I still make you go you to school)... stark difference from last year where you loved school and looked forward to it, and would get home from school all happy, chatty and beaming. You've been coming home from school kind of morose and moody.

How come the sudden change this year? It's the same 3 and a half hour class, in the same school.. just that now you're in kindergarten class, while last year was nursery.

Your teacher is different from last year, and from what I gather, she's stricter. (You told me that she keeps saying "Zip it! zip it!" in class, and while I feel for you, my loud chatty girl, I also don't want to be that overbearing mother who doesn't let the teacher instill any discipline). School can't be all fun and games. I hope you can adapt. But we will also monitor this and see how it pans out.

It's scary to me because school time is beyond my control, I can't be right there to monitor or guide you or see what's really going on. Breaks my heart to deny your request to stay home and make you go to school even though I know there's something about the place that is upsetting you.

I asked you if you were bullied. You said no and I believe you. You like your classmates, they're the same batch from last year's nursery class.

After many rounds of talking to you (getting info bit by bit), and speaking to your teacher. We believe that you're having a tough time adjusting to kindy. We bear in mind (always have) that you're the youngest in class and you won't be the same age as your classmates even after the school year ends, so we don't put any pressure on you. But it seems like you're pressuring yourself.

You're not behind your peers in English and Math, your teacher confirmed this with me when I asked about how you were doing. But you get especially upset that you don't know what's going on in Chinese class and you're always the last to finish work. You always tell me, "I don't know Chinese", "I didn't go toilet after school because I finished my Chinese last and I must run for the school bus."  I told you it's ok, the school bus will not leave without you, go toilet. And you don't need to run.

OMG, I feel so sad when you told me all that. For a 4 year old, this must be quite a big deal. So to ease your anxiety, we have just started you with private lessons with a Chinese teacher twice a week. It's pricey, but you like the lessons and we hope that it will help give you confidence in Chinese class in school, so you don't feel so lost.

Some weeks back, I asked you what you ate during school snack time and you said 'nothing'. Which was surprising because you're a foodie. (Last year the nursery teacher told me you would always ask for second third even fourth helpings hahaha). And you explained that it was because you didn't want to spill anything on your uniform, and that the teacher would say you belong to the baby class (playgroup) because only babies eat messily.  :(  I assured you that it's ok, try your best not to spill, but if you do and your uniform gets dirty, then there is a spare set in your bag. And there's always a tissue in your pocket for wiping your mouth when you drink milo in school (your fav). When you get home and your uniform is dirty, I tell you cheerfully that it's ok! No big deal, just dump it in the washing machine. I'm glad this has worked, and you're eating  (hopefully happily) in school now.

Myla, my darling, I'm trying. Mummy is trying so hard to make life happier for you. And to take away whatever burdens or worries you might have.

Right now, while helping and waiting for you to adjust to kindergarten. I try to make you happy everyday, despite you having to go to school.
 There's always something for you to look forward to after school. Just last week, you and your brother made "lion dance" costumes after you got home from school.
 And then you were the "lion" while your brother played the drum.
I love to see you both happy.
At least once a week, we take you to the pool straight after school. You can't wait to get out of your uniform and jump in.
Pool time is quite tiring for me because I have to watch both you and your brother like a hawk. And then after we get home, it's a big crunch for me to get you both showered while I also cook dinner, and prep your school bag, and launder the pool towels and costumes, and put away the pool toys and get both of you fed. By the time I'm done with all that... I'm flustered and exhausted.. and still in my wet pool clothes!
 On weekends, when daddy is home, we take you out to do something fun.. last weekend it was the zoo.
 Your favourite horse ride.
You daddy only got home at 5 am the night before! But here he is, the next day, at the zoo with us, despite barely sleeping.
Another favourite of yours (and mine and daddy's too actually haha) is the arcade (you call it games room).

I know life must be overwhelming for you right now. But I'm doing all I can to help you grow up happy and well adjusted.

There are still many moments (before you get all moody, defiant or anxious) where you're back too your old self, sweet and chatty. Just a few days ago, you came home with some fruit... an apple for MJ and Daddy.... but no apples for mummy “because mummy doesn't like apples, so I got her an orange.” I was surprised you even remembered my preference, not a lot of people know that so I hardly expected a young child to make such mental notes. (thank you!)

I don't love you any less for saying that you don't like mummy. If you need to vent, then I'll be that punching bag. But I really want to fix whatever is troubling you... doing activities that bring a smile to your face is fleeting and temporary... it pains me to know that deep down you're unhappy (with school?). I hope this is just a short phase which we will soon overcome.

Love always,
Mummy.

P/S - hang in there with school (or whatever tough times the 'future you' are in), I promise it will get better. And don't be afraid to ask for help.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Perhaps you should speak to her teacher. That might be the reason for her insecurities with school.
Anonymous said…
Oh Myla, school is so tough! Having studied in Singapore myself I know it. now that i see my kids growing up I do thikk there are undeserved pressures that are places on the kids way too early
Holly Jean said…
Already spoke to the teacher at the end of the first week she was back at school (she’s been there 3 wks) ... told her that myla having anxiety and pls don’t keep her back if she can’t finish her Chinese work (and that I don’t mind if she doesn’t finish the work), just let her leave same time as classmates Cos she anxious abt missing school bus and she doesn’t get to go toilet. That’s when she told me that she doesn’t finish last during English and math, and that’s she’s ok in that. So just Chinese (which is the last class for that 3.5hr kindy) which she will let the Chinese teacher know. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Maybe I Shld get my husband to write in Chinese in her com book so the Chinese teacher (from China) gets the memo.

I gg to see her teacher again on Monday to pass her a pair of slippers. They have bathroom slippers to go toilet. But myla just told me it’s too large for her and it’s hard for her to walk to toilet (they go toilet alone), and then when she trying to sit on the toilet bowl her slippers kept falling off. End up she peed on the shorts but didn’t tell teacher. So she came home with wet shorts. Wtf why the teacher so I inattentive. And I know myla has much much smaller feet than her classmates (but I didn’t know they had one bathroom slippers the whole K1 class uses. So def they will be too large of its K1 kid size. She uses baby sized shoes still and same size feet as her 1yo brother now (13cm only) when average kid her age is like16-18cm foot Liao