Claire went on an overnight excursion with her class at Japanese Kindergarten a couple days ago, a tradition for final-year students, and a culmination of the yochien experience. I had been warned by several Japanese moms that kids WOULD cry bring away from their moms for 2 days. And that especially at bedtime most of the Japanese kids would cry, for being away from their moms. There was even a meeting at the school about the trip, part of which revolved around the moms worrying about this very thing. So I bought it, of course, and warned Claire accordingly; afterall, many Japanese moms sleep in the same BED as their kids, and have seriously never separated from their 5 year-olds, except for the 4 hours a day they’re at school. So I gave Claire a little pep talk, telling her to be strong if this happened, and not to let the other kids’ crying make her cry!
So after I picked her up on Thursday afternoon, she told me all about her great time over ice cream. The greatest tidbit from that conversation? She informed me that NONE of the kids cried at all the entire trip. I was surprised and asked her about bedtime. She said not even one kids cried at night. Hmph! was about all I said. And then there was a long pause, in which Claire was obviously thinking. Then she said it,
“Mom, I think the moms just THINK their kids cry when they’re away from them.”