These days I find myself increasingly desire the luxury of being able to quit my job to raise Titus, to read to him, to play constructively with him, and take him on educational outings, instead of leaving him at home to watch TV and face the same toys day in, day out.
At 18 months he says only a handful of words – keys, car, star (which he pronounces most adorably as “gar”) and nice (as “nai”). He doesn’t call out to us, or even attempt the closest sounding “mama” or “dada”. And I wonder if this was due to the limited opportunities to learn at home.
Several months ago I enrolled him in a half-day nursery programme at a renowned school for young children. The curriculum involved group play, story time, song and dance, arts and craft, outdoor play and more, to get children aged between 18 and 36 months to learn basic skills in a fun way.
And I wanted him, so badly, to have opportunities to learn something, anything, in a structured environment under the guidance of early childhood educators.
My dad, who is Titus’ main caregiver on weekdays, went to the school for a spot-check and returned to vehemently object to my decision. He lamented that the school left the young ones alone during mealtimes, allowing them to make a mess of themselves while they ate (that’s how they learn independence!); and stripped them naked as they stood in line for a shower after lunch (OK, I don’t like this part too, but half-day programmes exclude shower time).
I don’t remember why I gave in and withdrew the enrollment, resulting in almost S$400 in registration fees being forfeited.
But I remember feeling increasingly upset with myself for giving in to my dad and for forgetting the reasons why I wanted Titus to be in school.
And now that Titus is 18 month old and not learning new ways of expressing himself, I get madder still.
This week I’ve restarted my search for a weekday school for him and I intend to stick to my guns this time round.