A few minutes later, to the beat of a tambourine, all the grads came marching out in matching outfits. The boys is turquoise sparkly caps and the girls in cutesy little pink "prom dresses". I am guessing the decision to match all the children was made after I was told to dress her up :)
The children sang a few mandarin songs with actions then marched back out. I figured the production was over... NOT!
Next came a little choreographed dance by the girls (minus Li Lin). Li Lin only goes two mornings a week as opposed to full-time so I realize she was not around for most of the practices. The dance was adorable!
Following the dance, there was a play done by some of the children in mandarin; "Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf". The children knew their lines well and spoke loudly. It was obvious lots of work had been done by the teachers to prepare them for this production.
What followed was a familiar song preformed by the junior kids... "yi sheng yi sheng yan jing jing". You likely know it too. It is "Twinkle twinkle little star".
I thought surely we were wrapping things up now, as the juniors marched out. But no, wrong again. The tambourines clanged again and in marched the graduates in black cap and gown. Li Lin was not impressed to be wearing this bulky mass over her pretty dress. It showed all over her face. She was clearly embarrassed. Since neither Logan or Rykauna's grad ceremonies incorporated the traditional cap and gown she had never seen these black gowns before. After a few minutes she relaxed and got into singing the "thank-you song". It was cute to hear these kids giving credits and thanks to their parents and teachers.
When it was time to give out the certificates, Rykauna, who was "womanning" the camera, had a very difficult time getting a shot of Li Lin. Li Lin was so embarrassed by her 'dreadful attire' that she kept putting the certificate up to her face so that Rykauna could not take a photo!
After the photo op with her teachers, Li Lin told me she wanted the ugly hat and dress off. LOL! I guess compared to the beautiful gown she was wearing underneath it, the black robe was very plain and boring.
Next came a speech by one of the parents, singing the praises of the staff, and saying what a wonderful place this preschool is. The lead teacher then said a few words about how they were going to miss this kids that were graduating. She broke into tears at this point and wound up her speech as she was so choked up. It was touching to see that these Chinese teachers truly love the children they look after.
Once the gown was off, it was time for a quick birthday celebration for one of the graduates. This girls' kind parents bought a big cake to feed everyone in attendance. They also gave loot bags to all the preschool kids. Rykauna was in awe of some of the cool Chinese pens in the loot bag, specifically a pen that looks like a hand lotion container.
It is hard to believe where this school year has gone. A couple of weeks ago, after struggling through Li Lin's frequent complaints about not wanting to go to school (preschool) I was thinking Li Lin would be pretty excited when I told her she would not be going back there next year. Instead, she burst into tears and said, "But I love my Chinese school, I like my teachers and my friends there. How will I keep learning my Chinese to talk to nai nai when we go back and visit China when I am bigger?"
I couldn't have been more surprised. She has frequently told me she doesn't care if she keeps her Chinese language. Nai nai can learn English. She doesn't like school. I knew she did like it though because as soon as she was dropped off she would happily run off to play with her friends. She would also take the time to finish her meal when I arrived to pick her up at noon. So guess what she says now? "I don't want to go to English school. I want to go back to my Chinese school. I miss my Chinese school. I miss my friend Christen so much."
As the saying goes, "It is a girl's prerogative to change her mind." I need to pray she has another change of mind before September. I briefly thought of schooling her myself for this year, but teaching her would be incredibly challenging. She already knows it, or so she thinks, and gets very frustrated if you insist that yes, six, is necessary. It is tough to explain to a four year old that just because she doesn't want it in the line-up of 1-10 it still is there.
I was shocked tonight though that she sat down at the table and let me teach her some more letters and sounds of the alphabet. Usually if I am teaching her something, it needs to be heavily cloaked in play or else it doesn't go down at all. Tonight she actually said to me excitedly, "Hey mom, it is like you are being my teacher!" It is with mixed feelings that I say my little girl is growing up.