Life of a 7-year-old

Having a quick breakfast before going to daycare

As I am sitting here in the hospital, waiting for Isabel to be discharged after being one week here with dengue, I was thinking of what my 7-year-old daughter does every day since she started primary school.

She started off fine for the first month of school. Then one week before Chinese New Year, she developed a fever and headache and had to miss school for 4 days, from Tuesday to Friday. When Saturday came and it was the start of the Chinese New Year holidays, she was suddenly all well and was ready to go on a family trip to Phuket.

Nine days of holiday and she was happy and well. When Sunday came and I told her to go to bed earlier as she has school the next day, she started crying and said that her fever and headache were back. I brushed it off and even reprimanded her for throwing a tantrum just because she had to go to school.

The next morning, Isabel started crying again when I asked her to wake up to get ready for school. She cried all the way to the daycare. I left her at the daycare and went to work.

At around 11am, I received a call from the principal of the daycare, saying that Isabel has a fever at 38 degrees. I thought to myself, “Really? Fever went off when it was holiday and came back again when it’s school time?” Anyway, I brought her to see a doctor that night and again on Wednesday night as her fever kept coming back. She tested negative for dengue and doctor didn’t think she has the influenza.

So she skipped school for the whole week as her fever kept coming back. We went to another doctor on Saturday and he said that she has a case of microplasma bacterial infection.

All the while, she kept saying that she does not want to go to daycare anymore. Which made me thought that she was so stressed with daycare and school that she developed a fever and headache because of it.

When she got better and went back to school the following week, she kept pleading with me to let her go to the babysitter instead of daycare. She complained that there was too much studying and the teacher was very fierce.

And last week, her fever was back. This time she tested positive for dengue. I think that she is secretly relieved that she gets to miss daycare for another week.

It made me think about her schedule for a 7-year-old. We leave the house at 6.30am so that Ethan can get to school by 7.00am. Then, Isabel and I have a quick breakfast at a nearby coffee shop. She reaches the daycare before 7.30am. Tuition and revision start at 8.00am till 11.00am when she takes her lunch and get ready for school. She gets sent off to school a little after 12noon and class starts from 12.40pm till 6.00pm. She gets picked up to go back to the daycare for dinner before I pick Ethan and her up at 7pm. We reach home around 7.30pm and they have to do their homework.

I used to disallow them from watching TV on weekdays but seeing how they had already spent so much time on school work, I started to let them watch TV for a while, after they had finished their home work. And it’s off to be at 9.30pm. So much for play….

With me being a ‘kiasu’ mum, I have started looking for BM enrichment class for both Ethan and Isabel to go on Saturdays. Their BM is simply too horrible that I cannot accept it.

So with school 5 days a week and BM classes every Saturday, the kids are definitely tired of studying. Just imagine if you had to work from 8am till 6pm every day, go home to finish up your work and work some more on Saturdays, you will get tired too. And don’t forget that you are not allowed to take annual leave or emergency leave just because you don’t feel like going to work for a day. It’s not a choice that you have.

School holiday is also not what it used to be. When I was in school, school holidays meant all play and TV. Now, my kids still have to go to daycare for tuition and revision even during school holidays. When I did not send my kids to daycare for 2 weeks during the long year-end school holiday last year, the principal called me up and told me that my kids were going to miss out on a lot of tuition and thus be more difficult for them to catch up on the following year’s school syllabus. So, what kind of school holiday is that when you are also required to study?

Isabel still pleads with me to let her stop going to daycare. We reached a compromise that if she can keep at least Bs for all her subjects, then she doesn’t need to go for daycare anymore. I am not a perfectionist so I don’t expect perfection from my kids either. As long as they do their best, a B (or an occasional C) is good enough for me.

I know that most kids, especially those in Chinese primary schools, go through the same routine as my kids. However, I just feel that kids nowadays have to go through so much school and academic work from as young as 7 years old. Makes me feel very fortunate that I had time to play and watch TV when I was their age.

What do you think of your kid’s schedule?


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