Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Meet Season!

Who is this? Nî shì shuí?
你是谁?

Once upon a time there was a baby. Her name was Season…
以前有个宝贝,她的名字叫Season

“Hello, how are you?”, I said on her very first day of school. She said, “Who is this?”, looking at her mom. I said, “I’m Glow. Do you want to play with me?” Instantly, we played, laughed and explored her “new home” happily interacting and talking with all teachers. Right up until naptime, all was ok.
她来到学校的第一天我问她:“ 喂,你好吗?”她看着她妈妈回答说,“你是谁?”我说:“我是Glow,你想跟我一起玩吗?”我们很快地一起愉快地玩耍,开心地笑,并在我的陪伴下一起探索她的“新家”,她可以和所有老师开心的交谈。直到睡午觉之前,一切正常。

Then Season’s mom said, “Season only falls asleep if she’s holding my hand. And she takes quite some time to fall asleep.” As she slipped away, Season’s contagious laughter turned into deafening crying and seemingly endless tears. Naturally, as a two year old, Season was unable to understand why her mom had left. In her mind, she was abandoned to strangers. This is by far one of the most transformational experiences for children during their first days of kindergarten. As with all children Season was now in a new environment with new friends, new routines and new caretakers. Trust needed time to grow.  
然后Season的妈妈告诉我们:“Season入睡的时间比较长,她只有握着我的手她才能入睡。”当Season妈妈离开后,Season富有传染性的笑声变成震耳欲聋的哭声和止不住的泪水。对于一个两岁的Season来说这是正常的,她没有办法理解为什么她妈妈会离开她。在她的心中,自己就像被妈妈遗弃给陌生人。这是迄今为止孩子们在幼儿园第一天最具变革性的经历之一。

For Season this came quite quickly! Two hours later she finally calmed down and allowed for a conversation with me. I was so happy! This is one of my favorite moments with all kids: winning over their trust!
Season来说这个来的太快!两个小时之后她终于冷静下来同意和我交流。我非常的高兴。当我赢得孩子们的信任时,这是我最爱的时刻之一。

That first week she followed me everywhere saying, “Can you hold me please? Can you hug me?” As long as she was holding someone’s hand she didn’t cry. Although, she was content without her mom she was still relentless in her need to be near another adult. This a very natural 2nd phase for many kids as they transition into a comfortable enjoyment of independence.
在第一周我走到哪她跟到哪对我说:“你牵我好吗?你可以抱抱我吗?”只要她牵着别人的手她就不哭了。尽管她可以没有妈妈的陪伴,但她仍然迫切需要接近另一个成年人。对于许多的孩子来说当他们需要过渡到非常舒适并能享受独立这是非常正常的第二阶段。

As the weening continued, a stormy season ensued for Season’s mom. Several mornings in a row during her second week, Season would come to the school with wet cheeks. Her mom said that on their drives to school, Season kept crying and saying, “I don’t want to go to the kindergarten”. Now, there was good reason for this. At school, we had started encouraging her to pull up her pants by herself after going to the potty. Many children do not like this. It feels like the “new” adults in their life don’t care. During lunch and snack all children must learn to sit and eat at the table without an adult next to them. Season didn’t like this. Naptime was also very difficult. Season didn’t have her mommies’ hand anymore.
在我们的意料之中,随后Season的坏情绪影响了她的妈妈。第二周的连续的几个上午,Season都是泪流满面地来到学校。她的妈妈说在他们来学校的路上,Season哭不停一直说:“我不要去幼儿园”。现在,这一切都找到了原因,因为在学校我们开始鼓励她上完厕所自己穿裤子。许多的孩子都不喜欢这个,感觉像一个“新”的成年人一点都不关心他们的生活。午餐期间,在没有大人陪着他们的情况下,所有的孩子都得自己坐着在餐桌旁、自己吃饭。Season一点都不喜欢吃饭,同样睡觉对她来说也是很困难,因为再也没有妈妈的手可以牵着。

But as it goes with all children that come through our doors, finally, the sun shone again for Season and her mom. One day, during her 3rd week, Season went through a whole day without crying. That day we celebrated big time! Season went with one of our teacher’s on what we call, “A Special Big Girls’ Walk”. Her prize would be an ice cream but probably more importantly, in the long run, the praise and the feeling that she was now growing up! Waiting for her back at school, was her friends, teachers and mom chanting, the popular Chinese words of, “Jiayou!!”
但是,所有的来幼儿园的孩子都是一样的,最后Season和她的妈妈的脸上再一次充满笑容。在第三周的一天,Season一整天都没有哭,那天我们庆祝这个伟大的时刻,Season和我们的一个老师一起出去,我们趁它为“大女孩的特殊出行”。她的奖品是冰淇淋, 但更重要的是, 从长远来看对她的赞美和她的感受, 她现在长大了!她的朋友、老师和她妈妈都在学校里等她回来,并高呼 “加油”!

As new kids came to school, during the weeks thereafter, many of them went through their “crying seasons” too. The funniest part is that, Season, started acting like a big sister. And was often found helping other children put on their shoes or saying, “Don’t cry! It’s okay. You can do it.” Or my personal favorite, “You want an ice cream!”
作为新入园的孩子在此后的几周内,他们中的很多人都经历了像Season一样的哭泣。最有趣的是Season开始像一个大姐姐一样,帮助其他的孩子穿鞋告诉他们“不要哭哦!没事的,你可以做到的。”或者是我个人最喜欢的“你想要冰淇淋!"

by Glow Alvarado





Saturday, February 10, 2018

Meet Momo & her Mommy!!

Zozo and Momo
Hard to forget 2-year-old Momo's first day visiting our Master Tree lead class. She quickly let go of her mother's hand and giggled her way right into the middle of the of our kids and their play time with blocks. 'Who are you?', I remember asking. 'I'm Momo!' 

Though Momo's quick initial adjustment to pre-school isn't unique, it is largely uncommon, especially here in China where there is so much coddling and protectionism by well-intended grandparents. There seems to be a debt that the elderly generation at large is attempting to make up for which dates back to their time as parents back when long work days impeded a healthier bond and balance of time as a family. Momo's family is lucky in this way for their current family arrangement has allowed Momo, up unto this point, to grow up under her mother's immediate care. But as the Chinese philosophy of the Yin Yang suggests, in all whiteness there is a speck of black. Quickly it became clear to that the one to suffer most through this transitional period into kindergarten would not be Momo but instead her Mommy: Tracy!! 

Momo, her Auntie and Mom: Tracy
Upon completing our 3-month lead class, right before running off to the hills for Spring Festival we had a chance to sit down for some tea with Tracy and asked her to reflect back on the changes she went through, as a Mom, during her daughter's first months staying away most of the day from home, 

"The greatest difficult I have had to overcome, of course, has been learning to be apart from Momo! While Momo is learning, so am I. While she cries in school, I cry in my heart! 2-year-old Momo, who's always been there for me...was all alone in a strange environment. I was so worried those first days." 

Tracy has been quite gracious all along in recognizing the ongoing support she has received upon joining the MT family, 

"...separation is one of life's first lessons! Each day, I whispered soft prayers hoping for her to adapt quickly. This process was difficult for both of us. I needed to fully trust MT. Seriously, if it wasn't for MT, and Carl and Glow's both firm anwarm guidance, I certainly would not have allowed her to start kindergarten at such a young age."

Undoubtedly, Tracy's apprehension's about Momo being ready for kindergarten heightened as Momo underwent a relapse of sorts upon catching on to the fact that kindergarten equating an entire day without her mom. What 2-year-old gets excited about being away from mom?

After the relapse, "It took a lot of effort to get Momo to learn to be independent--to accept MT subconsciously. Glow taught me how to guide Momo and enlightened me to the wonders of a well-timed 'time out'".

About 4 weeks into the program we had a major breakthrough upon Tracy adhering to our advice to allow Momo to participate in our Yule Sleepover activity. Time and time again we have seen how moments like these are of an incredible bonding quality. Tricky no doubt for the kids but always far more so for the parents! But the results are always so evident. The next day for pick up there is a shared joy of, parents and kids, seeing each other again. Then in the weeks to come, parents and the school staff begin to see how much the children have changed as they take on a brand new manifestation of independence. After all, sleeping away from those you have slept with for every single night since being born is no small thing!

Year book signing.  
Step by step we continued working closely with Momo, Tracy and their family; making sure that this important adjustment was accompanied by ample tender loving care, creativity and counsel. 

Great job Momo!! But an even greater high-five to you Tracy! Thanks for your trust in Master Tree Kindergarten!


"You only lose what you hold onto."~Buddha