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True Story: An Expat Mom’s Anxiety About Her Daughter’s First Day Of School In Singapore

By Finger blogger: Andrea McKenna


Well, the day finally game. Just this morning, I put my little girl on the bus for her first day at international school.

A lot of international schools were starting today and some next Monday. It is surely a source of stress for us new Mommas (and a sense of freedom and relief for the veterans who’ve been looking forward to this day all summer!).

More on The Finder:
5 Ways You’re Unintentionally Stressing Out Your Child, Although You Totally Mean Well
What The Students At This Singapore International School Get Up To OUTSIDE The Classroom

I saw a flashback on my Facebook of my daughter in the first month she was born. Of course, it brings back memories that I had no idea what I was doing!

It certainly feels good that we got this far in child-rearing and so far, we seem to be doing OK. I guess I’ll see what she says when she gets off the bus this afternoon!

It was quite an event getting her ready for the big school and I was quite overwhelmed at how much needed to be done. Aside from a lengthy and costly application process, there were health and other forms to be submitted, photos to be uploaded for security passes and bus arrangements to be made (more fees!).

I attended orientation last week with the standard checklist in my hand, going over it and over it again to make sure I visited the right information tables, signed her up for the right things and double-checking I had the uniform correct.

Ah, the uniforms! I finished that task of buying all of it two months ago at Lim’s in Holland Village, as did many other school families. It was big bill, just a little bit under my last trip to Macy’s in Chicago… 

And I still feel I didn’t buy enough outfits.

As my daughter suited up this morning, I wondered if I bought the uniform too big. “She’ll grow into it,” everyone says, which annoys me because it seems she never gets to wear clothes that actually fit her before she moves up another size!

The hat—everyone in the U.S. loves the hat, which to us is considered a cricket hat. No one in America really plays cricket so it’s a novelty. Yeah, it’s cute, but I hope she doesn’t lose it on the bus on her first day or she won’t be able to play outside, as it’s a common “no hat-no play” rule at international schools here.

Luckily, we didn’t have any arguments or whining about shoe choices. Her school only allows sneakers. No flip flops. No sandals. No Crocs. Of course, we had to make sure we hid and never spoke about the pink and white Pumas sitting in my dresser drawer because, yep, they are one size too big (so she’ll grow into them…).

I worry also that her backpack is too heavy. She’s required to carry an extra set of clothes – that’s a good 2 kilograms – and two snacks, as well as a water bottle.

Momma put in a special pink rock and butterfly-shaped note to help her through her day, if she needs it, which may or may not have added to the weight. Well, we’ll surely hear from the bus or the school that her pack doesn’t fit, as we saw when she boarded the bus this morning.

See also: True Story: I Give My Second Child Less Than My First, And Here’s Why It’s Okay

Back to the bus: She had a classmate at her bus stop who just moved into our condo. Lucky! Another older girl from the building also takes the bus and said she would help my little girl out. Very sweet and thoughtful!

Overall, I feel we were well-prepared, even though I was nervous this morning. Hopefully, all the worry will melt away when we see her smiling face meet Daddy at the bus this afternoon and that accomplished feeling stays around for a little while.

Good luck to all the new and veteran Mommies out there and hope all goes well for a new school year.


About Andrea McKenna

Andrea McKenna Brankin is journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.

Related articles:

Restarting Expat Life In Singapore After Visiting Home – By Expat Andrea McKenna

5 Amazing Libraries For Kids In Singapore That Aren’t Just About Quiet Reading

5 Simple Tips To Help Your Child Feel At Home In His Singapore School

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