First Week of Kindergarten

Last week was Haru’s first week of kindergarten.  For the most part, she seems to be enjoying.  The good news is that she seems to have already picked up some new vocabulary.  The bad news is that a lot of it seems to be from a foul mouthed little boy who sits next to her.  My wife and I are trying to teach Haru that the words that she is using is not very lady like and that she should not use them any more, but she keeps saying ” but the boy who sits next to me uses them all the time”, to which I instructed her to tell him that he is being rude the next time he does it.  I am not too keen on having to do remote controlled parenting through my daughter, especially for someone else’s child.

Another incident that occurred last week is that Haruka came  home with a moderate sized gash on her right cheek.  It  very obviously looked like she was scratched by someone with very long nails.  I immediately interrogated Haru for some answers on how she got the gash, but of course since she is only 3 years old, much of her story was inconsistent and and didn’t make too much sense.  I did get that it was a boy, and the boy grabbed her cheek, but she didn’t want to say who or why that boy did it.

Kids being kids, I wasn’t too concerned too much as to who did what or why per se,  I was more concerned as to why the teacher didn’t say anything to us about it.  Even a simple note pinned to Haru’s uniform explaining what happened (like in the old days when kids were sent home for being bad) would have sufficed.   Since the orientation meeting last week, I haven’t been too crazy about Haru’s teacher.  She seemed to be too young, too inexperienced, and just lacked control of the kids in the classroom.  I suspected that she she would lose control at one point or another, but didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

Having said all of this, Haru seems to like this teacher.  She says that she’s nice, so I guess at her age that’s what’s most important.  But I will definitely need to step in if Haru comes home with anymore unexplained gashes on her face.  I am not trying to be an overprotective parent, and if Haru comes out and tells be that she fell or that it was in some way her own fault, I wouldn’t mind it so much.  But an unexplained bleeding gash on her face, with no intervention or explanation from the teacher is not acceptable.




Yesterday, I finally got a day off from work. It was the first day off since I joined this company and the first day off in what it seem to be ages.  I cannot even begin to articulate how much I needed a day away from work.  Unfortunately, its not without cost, because I now have to work next Saturday to make up for it.

At any rate, it was Haruka’s kindergarten initiation day.  She got to wear her uniform for the first time and see all of the other children as well.  I was expecting an emotional out pour of “I don’t want to go’s”, and “please don’t leave me’s”, but Haru has a real trooper.  While a lot the other children cried and threw tantrums when separated from their parents, Haruka kept her spirits well, and even managed to try to cheer up the other kids.   Her classmate and neighbor, Yuka  in particular had a real hard time adjusting to the changes and often needed her father nearby to give her moral support.  Haru even tried helping by standing by Yuka’s desk and cheering her up.

The one and probably only thing that really annoyed me about the school is how little control the teachers had over the children, especially Haru’s teacher.  After stuffing all 30 kindergartners in small cramped room with their parents (some even came with their grandparents -which I thought was absolutely preposterous and unnecessary considering that it just an initiation), Haru’s  teacher absolutely bored all of us to quite literally to tears reading a handwritten announcement about milk being served.  The children had already spent most of the morning listening to an incredibly boring speech by the head master, and paraded in and out the auditorium to take pictures and do what I thought to be other highly unnecessary things.   By this point, 3 hours have passed, the children were getting irritable and hungry and so was I, and yet we had to endure the torture of listening this twenty-something girly teacher in pigtails ramble on and on forever.  Haru had been good and even supportive to others all day, but by this point she couldn’t take it anymore and broke down in tears.  I was getting frustrated; I’m sure other parents were too, as this woman completely ignore the fact that there were 30 three-old’s in her class who were completely bored out their wits screaming to get out an release pent up energy.

I was starting to lose faith that this teacher was going to be any good for these kids.  She was completely out of touch and pretty much ignoring everyone except the sound of her own voice.  But I suppose she’d change (I hope) once school starts up on Monday.  We’ll just have to see.

Riddled with Guilt

For the last few months at my new company, I have been putting in very long hours. I have been averaging about 10 to 13 hours a day, sometimes working as long as 16 to 17 hours, literally doing the job of 3 to 4 people. On top of that, I haven’t been able to take any days off even when I really needed it or when I am sick. Frankly, I am exhausted and getting to the point where I have to decide whether or not this is all worth it. For the most part, I do like my job. But having said that, I am starting to wonder if this sense of “like” for my job, is really just a false sense of gratuity for even having a job in the first place.

If life were just about me and me alone, this would be no big deal. Sure, I would still be exhausted, but I think I would be able to “suck it up” and deal with it better. However, life is not just about just me anymore. I really have to think about what is best for my family, especially Haruka. As her she gets older, she is starting to understand that I have to work, and that I cannot be at home all the time. What she doesn’t understand is that when I am at home, I am both mentally and physically exhausted and really don’t have the capacity to do anything with her.

Until recently, I didn’t think she really cared whether it was me, her mother, or her cousins who played with her, as long as she had someone to shower her with attention all of time. However, that wasn’t the case. Lately, Haru has been asking me, and with quite frequency, when I don’t have to go to work. And when I tell her what days I am off, she would then ask if I can play with her or take her somewhere on those days. This made me realize that she does value the little time that I am able to spend with her, which makes me feel extremely happy but at the same time, extremely guilty and saddened for neglecting her so much.

To add to the pain, Haru has been having nightmares again lately, and waking up in the middle of the night. The last time she did this was when I had to work late for several nights in a row, and I hadn’t seen her for days. I have a feeling this is due to a deep seeded feeling that she feels due to the fact that I hadn’t been spending enough time with her.

So starting from this Monday, I’ve decided that I will not work too late anymore, and to make an effort to come home earlier. And although I am exhausted, I will try to give her some attention and read to her before she goes to bed. Leaving work earlier everyday will probably not go down to well at the company, but I have to get my life/work balance back for my sake, and more importantly for Haruka’s sake. And if this means that I have to have my responsibilities reduced, or worst case scenario, look for another job that takes better consideration of my out of office life …well, so be it.