We’re well into the preschool year here. It’s created a whole new set of routine life for us. Rosalyn enjoys it immensely and comes home, repeating the phrases and songs she’s learned, hundreds and hundreds of times over. I’m amazed now, watching her interactions with the other kids at the bus stop and the kids at church. She uses what she knows and isn’t afraid to try anything, anywhere. She’s even occasionally called me “Okaasan” (mom), which gave me a double turn.
Speaking of Okaasan life… boy, it’s a new dynamic! I am so thankful for our neighbors– my next-door neighbor’s older child is a 3rd year preschooler and enters 1st grade next year. So, she’s beginning the process of preparing for her son to enter elementary. To that end, I’ve been with her when she’s stopped another mom in the complex to ask about rules and “how-tos” of elementary school. Yet another mom in our building was asking recounting her experience searching for a “randoseru” (bookbag) for her daughter– that she will use during the 6 years in elementary school.
As you can imagine, the bookbag with such a life as this, comes with a price tag– anywhere from $300-$800.
I had to take a deep breath after writing that sentence.
So, 9 months in advance and moms are already looking for the right randoseru. I asked about a certain store close by where I’d seen bags in the $300s and I kinda got the squinty -eyed blah look about their styles. Mental note to mark that down as “not cool”. Apparently the decent ones should run us some $600.
Anyway, that’s the future. We’ll start saving now, but that’s the future.
There’s a lot to pay attention to for school right now. I frequently reference the file folder bin on my refrigerator that has all the paperwork sent home from school throughout the week. Every month I have get a paper with the list of dates that I need to know.
Ok, kids are having dental checks on this day. She needs her toothbrush packed. They’re doing water play on Tuesday and Thursday this week– she needs her specified pool bag with towel and swimsuit. Bento days are also on Tuesday and Thursdays. I must do laundry as soon as she gets home on Fridays so that all her bags and shorts, uniforms, socks, towels and handkerchiefs are clean and ready to be sent Monday morning. (We don’t have a drier, so I can’t wait until the last minute to wash things). Parent-teacher meeting on this day. This form needs to be filled out and sent to school with her by this day. Money for this must be signed, stamped and sent to school with her on that day.
Occasionally, I get emails from the school with important announcements or happenings. For example, the kids at school grew cucumbers and eggplant (which Rosalyn points out at the grocery store every time now) and they made some kind of soup for the kids. That’s pretty cool!
I have a Bus Stop Group on the messaging app we use here. In the group, the 4 of us moms let each other know if our child is sick, will be absent for X reason or if we’ll take them directly to school that day. The other moms will communicate that to the bus helper, who communicates that to the school. Although– if it’s a school lunch day, I have to call the school too.
I also have a Class Moms Group. We have 3 moms who are official… somethings… in the class. They help organize something, though I don’t recall exactly what. One thing they are doing though is organizing a group lunch for all us moms of that class, which is next week. One mom reserved the spot and sent us the menu and we had to reply with our order and if we were bringing younger children. So, we’ll see how that goes!
Back to the bus stop. We typically gather about 10 minutes before the bus is expected. So, it’s 20 minutes a day to chat with the other moms, which is a great chance to learn and develop more friendships as well.
It’s very interesting how everything works. I feel mostly like I have the hang of things, though that’s in big part thanks to my neighbor and another class mom at our bus stop. I see how the cultural dynamic of “sempai-kohai” works. It’s kinda like a mentor-mentee system, but a lot stronger. I can feel the kohai-ness of my position. I feel like the system in general can be so complicated that this dynamic of sempai and kohai are necessary. It’s a lot of food for thought as I explore this dynamic in a personal but still informal way.
Well, it’s time to head to the bus stop to pick up my kiddo. Sayonara for now!