September 6, 2019
In 2016, the police issued an order to all the kindergartens, including all the early education centers in Beijing’s Shijingshan District (石景山区) to not accept my son at their schools. My son, Quanquan (泉泉), had stayed home, unable to attend school since May 2018. Then, by luck and coincidence, I found a private school that accepted him. Quanquan finally was able to go to school, joining the top kindergarten class there.
It was a hard-won opportunity for Quanquan, and he was very excited. On the first day of school [in 2018], he woke up at 6 am. He tugged at me, acting cute one moment and threatening me the next. I had to get out of bed. We washed together, and after getting dressed, he wanted to go to school. Reluctantly, I told him that the school bus wouldn’t arrive at the gate until 7:48 am. His single-eyelid eyes flashed with ardent hope, and he said to me pleading: “I want to go early to wait at the gate. Please?”
So I gave in, unable to say no to his adorable face. So, we sat on the side of the street waiting for the bus for more than an hour before it was due to arrive. Quanquan was a little anxious; he would stand up and sit down, stand up and sit down again, making me dizzy just watching him. His small pudgy face was full of worry, and he asked me over and over again: “Mom, are you sure we’re waiting in the right place for the school bus?” It was annoying and amusing at the same time; all I could do was answer “Yes!” over and over again. At that time, I thought, it was only children who’ve been unable to attend school who could feel such excitement about going to school.