Baengy started attending daycare around the time of her first birthday. While she seemed very young, we thought it best for her to interact with others of her species as early as possible. And by that I mean chubby, drooling, like-minded and often hairier-headed Korean babies. We hoped it would help give her a headstart on such important lessons as Social Norms 101 and Introduction to Different Toys.
She has been attending the Geumbit ("sun ray") Daycare Center, a small but cosy place in Nakseongdae. These photos were recently given to us by the Geumbit staff, as it's now time for Baengy to move to a much larger daycare center.
We were a little worried about how she might settle in, and Mother Farrand stayed with her all day during her first visits.
We get filled in on the day's events every time we pick her up. It's fun to imagine what went on during the days passed by looking through the photos.
One can speculate that during those crucial beginning months, much of her surroundings elicited mixed baby feelings of confusion and curiousity.
"...but where's Mum?"
Eventually the surroundings became less menacing, as food could be accepted from familiar strangers.
While barley water of our own was preferably drunk in private.
Birthdays were celebrated, despite obliviousness to the occasion.
And bridges were built. And crossed.
New friendships were formed, although no one can quite remember how.
And the wild outdoors were explored in fantastic detail.
Shapes, colours and sensations all coalesced into an educational experience that would somehow become meaningful in future.
While energy levels cycled through periods of depletion and replenishment. Somehow, our daycare mummies were uncannily tuned to the instant when our tiny bodies were exhausted from a morning of play.
And when we awake, those same friends remain.
New items invite endless new experiences.
And then we suddenly realise that we are no longer the youngest or the smallest.
As the sun sets on the first episode of Baengy's experiences amongst peers, we remain cognisant of the fact that she'll be leaving friends and familiar faces behind. But every ending is a new beginning, and we are very much looking forward to the next patter of baby steps forward.
All in all, we've found the quality of daycare in Korea to be excellent.
Here's hoping that the next center will be as good as the last!