Since we are suddenly without ayi, Zoe – my two and a half year old daughter will have to start school. Thankfully the wonderful principal at Max’s kindergarten has found a place for her starting next week. So, as of now, this blog is dedicated to tracking her journey as well.

Before starting preschool all kids must undergo a health check. So Friday morning I took Zoe to the clinic on the outskirts of town. The procedure is highly routinized, after paying a fee you are handed a booklet, whose sections must be checked off at various stations set up on the 2nd floor.

At one weight, height, head and tummy circumference are all measured and recorded. Another tests hearing and mental development. In previous years this involved tricks of various kinds. After her son stumbled, a friend of mine was told that hopping on one leg was something she should work on at home. The demands on Zoe were extremely minimal and, even though she wouldn’t tell the doctor her name, she passed.

The last station, which demanded a urine sample, posed an enormous challenge. How do you collect pee from a toddler when all that is available is a squat toilet? Apparently Chinese families have no problem with this but to me it seemed a near impossible task.

However, after 4 frustrating attempts, which enlisted the help of both a nurse and a member of the cleaning staff, intermixed with numerous glasses of water, we did it.

The book complete, we registered for school.

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