Rob touched a little on Braden’s first day of school in the last blog post, but I wanted to do a post just about that! Yes, our youngest, and last, child had his first day of school on Tuesday. He is attending Kindergarten Lumiere, the same Haitian preschool/kindergarten that Drew and Tessa attended. This is a MEBSH school (MEBSH is the church association we work with here in Haiti) that offers 3 “grades” equivalent to K-3, K-4 and Kindergarten in the US. The plan is for Braden to do his K-4 and kindergarten years here, just like Tessa did. He goes 8 am to noon Monday thru Friday.
Life for Braden has been much different than for Drew or Tessa. He’s 4 now, but he was 20 months old when we moved to Haiti, so Haiti is pretty much all he knows! When he started talking, it was in both English and Creole. He’s gone to Sunday school in the States for 3 months, but has never really been in any school of any kind outside the house. Drew and Tessa attended preschool when we lived in the States, so they had some memories of what to expect at school. Braden did not. Braden has the advantage of understanding and speaking Creole that Drew and Tessa did not have when they started.
He was so excited getting ready for school in his uniform and new sneakers! He was even excited riding to school and walking in the school yard with me. School starts with an assembly every morning then the kids form a train and march to their class. Braden was looking anxious during the assembly standing there with his classmates, but he broke down in tears when he had to make a train. Anyone who knows the culture in Haiti, knows there is no such thing as personal space. Braden was getting squashed in the line and started crying “the kids are squishin’ me!” I got him out of the line and walked him to his class and sat outside his room (he couldn’t see me) for 30 minutes while he sobbed “I want Mommy!” That was so hard! I wanted to go rescue my baby! But I remember Tessa crying the first week of school at 4 years old too, and wondering if we were making the right decision. Heck, it’s hard enough dropping your crying kid off at school for the first time, but it’s even harder dropping off your kid at a school where he is the only one who’s primary language is not spoken there and is the only foreigner at the school! I sat and prayed for him, his teachers and classmates for those 30 minutes. I had to keep reminding Rob how much Tessa thrived there and assuring him Braden will do the same. Rob already told you it killed him!
Each day there is less crying. In fact, he tells me he hasn’t cried in his class at all the last few days, just a little in the assembly time. Yesterday he told me he made two boy friends and one girl friend! And at lunch yesterday, he was speaking SO MUCH Creole, Rob and I were looking at each other amazed like “Do you hear this? Who is this kid!?” He’s always understood everything said in Creole but didn’t speak it much. What a difference 4 hours of school has made!
If you think about it, please pray for Braden as he adjusts to school, that he would have a great year! Pray for his school Kindergarten Lumiere and his teachers Mme Wilnese and Mme Kittley.
Oh, and I have to put together this picture of Drew and Tessa’s first day at the same school with one of Braden. I can’t believe how much they’ve grown! Tessa was the same age as Braden here!