Archive for September, 2008

not quite the Olympics..

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Kaitlyn started gymnastics this morning. When we got there, the woman inside the gym said “bonjour, Kaitlyn.” I asked Kaitlyn if she knows that woman but Kaitlyn said she didn’t. It kinda freaked me out. Finally the woman said she’d been the roller skating teacher at school last year. At least there was an explanation. And it’s good to know that Kaitlyn is as good at remembering people as her dad is.

I watched a little bit of her gymnastics class through the window in the door. They were hopping on a small trampoline, walking on a very wide balance beam, then climbing on a 4 foot tall foam square and jumping off. Kaitlyn looked like she was having a blast. I think it’s the perfect activity for her. Much more physical than ballet was last year.

After the class, I was sitting outside chatting (in English) when a familiar face walked by – his daughter is Kaitlyn’s one little French friend. She’d come to Kaitlyn’s birthday party last January and I tortured her parents with my feeble attempt to speak French. Anyway, today he walked by and smiled and asked me (in French) how I’m doing. I answered then asked if his daughter is taking the judo class. He said she is, so I asked her if she likes it. Nothing terribly difficult, but I was pretty pleased with myself because it all came fairly easily. I didn’t even find myself struggling to think of the words first in English then in French. And the best part is, this French guy complimented my French! He said I’ve improved a great deal and that I speak with a good accent. I’m sure my next French speaking encounter will be a disaster… but I’ll cling to that compliment as long as I can.

School Meeting Quite Revealing

Friday, September 12th, 2008

This evening we had the start-of-school parent-teacher meeting. Six o’clock on a Friday night. Who schedules these things?

I made Bill meet me there. I thought it was important for him to at least see and be seen by the teacher once. I got there a few minutes late and his eyes were already glazed over from the flow of indescernable French. Kaitlyn was fairly fidgety so I sent them on home. I stayed and tried to figure out what the teacher was trying to tell us.

When it finally ended a little after 7, I waited to talk individually with the teacher. First, I told her that I can help out when she needs, but that I don’t speak French very well. Another American mom standing with me said she could put me with the Anglophones to help. Oh no! The teacher said she’ll put me with the French kids to help me learn. Nice.

Then I asked her if she thinks Kaitlyn can understand what’s going on. “Elle comprend tout.” She understands everything. Ok. But does she ever say anything in French? “Oui! Elle parle tres bien!” She speaks it well. Figures.

I asked Kaitlyn one afternoon in the car if she thinks she’ll keep speaking French (that was when I was just assuming she does) once we move back to the U.S. “No way, Mom! People in America speak English.”

HEY! That’s not fair!

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

This afternoon I met a friend at the fruit and vegetable store to shop. So it isn’t the most exciting thing you can think of. But she’s been telling me she’s never gone to this store and would like to go… blah blah… so I invited her along because I needed to pick some stuff up.

We got there a little after two and had to wait with a growing crowd in the parking lot for the place to reopen after lunch at 2:30. By the number of people outside when they finally opened the doors, they need to eat faster.

Turns out, everyone waiting with us in the lot shopped at the same pace (it isn’t that big a store… after all it’s mainly fruits and veggies) and we all got in line to check out at the same time. Given that this phenomenon likely happens every day at the same time, you’d expect them to have every cash register open. No way. Maybe half. Maybe. So we stood there in line waiting for all the extremely slow old people ahead of us to check out. As we were creeping toward the front, an old lady who had been in front of us came up next to us, waved two bags of rabbit-food lettuce in front of us and said something. I thought she’d paid for it and wanted to leave. (Once I was at this store and they were having a 2 for 1 sale on pineapples and the cashier MADE me go get a second pineapple which, you guessed it, we didn’t end up eating. So I figured she had been ordered to retrieve an abundance of rabbit food.) We let her ahead of us. Turns out, she just wanted to get ahead of us because she’d forgotten the rabbit food and since she’d already checked out she felt entitled to jump to the head of the line. I was annoyed. So I turned to my friend and said in French that it isn’t fair and that if I forget something which I do a lot I then just wait. My friend was completely confused, had no idea what I was saying (I really didn’t, either) and was tyring to figure out what was going on… when the old lady turned to me and started telling me how it was totally ok to cut in line in her situation. My vocabulary can’t quite keep up with an old lady, so I just kept repeating that I’d wait. Finally the man in front of her let her ahead of him, I think because he was tired of listening to us. She got her way so she didn’t care. I felt better because at least I’d spoken my mind, sort of, rather than just get walked on. Ok, so she still jumped to the head of the line. But at least she knew I thought it sucked.

too tight!

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

I’m not saying the parking spaces here are small… but this morning when I left my French lesson, I had to get in my car in the back seat on the passenger’s side then climb over to the driver’s seat. It was the only way into the car. And I had to leave to get Kaitlyn from school for lunch, so I couldn’t just wait there for the person who parked too close to me to come out. It was probably someone toothpick skinny who wouldn’t have even seen there was a problem anyway.

dear teacher…

Friday, September 5th, 2008

This morning after getting up and getting dressed and brushing her teeth (but still refusing to brush her hair), Kaitlyn insisted on making a card for her teacher. She sat and very carefully covered a blank card with some of her favorite stickers. Despite my protests, she skipped breakfast for the task.

I don’t know if it’s accepted to be making cards to give to your teacher. It isn’t the first or last day of school. It’s just something Kaitlyn felt the burning desire to do. And since I don’t know if the practice is frowned upon or welcomed, I had no idea what would be appropriate to write inside. Kaitlyn babbled on that she wanted me to write how she wants the teacher to come to her birthday… as her editor I opted to omit those thoughts. I finally settled on a simple “bonne journee,” which is basically “have a nice day.” I wrote it on Kaitlyn’s dry-erase easel and made her copy it. She cried when she messed up a letter, which I fixed with some white-out.

When she kissed me goodbye at the gate and ran off, Kaitlyn was clutching the card tightly in her hand. She wouldn’t let me write the teacher’s name on the envelope; she was adament that she’d hand it to her. I suppose I may never know. Unless I’m scolded for it, I suppose.

La Rentree

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Kaitlyn was so excited this morning she couldn’t even sit down to eat the piece of bread she’d finally agreed to for her breakfast. She got up without fussing, put on her new pink (of course) dress, new Hello Kitty sneakers, and had me put a ribbon in her hair. Today was the first day of school. And Kaitlyn couldn’t wait to start in the big kid class. “Grande section.” That isn’t to say she wasn’t nervous. Another American girl who’s a few years older told Kaitlyn what to expect in Grande: learn to count to 100, do mazes and dot-to-dots. Kaitlyn couldn’t sleep last night for fear she’d connect the wrong dots. Despite the looming dot demand, she was in the car five minutes early.

We were among the first to arrive at school. Normally, only parents of the very littlist kids get to walk to the classrooms; today was different. Parents are given two hours this morning to take their kids to school. And they did. (No, Bill did not. And he was not the only CAT-dad to be in the office instead of on the playground.) Kaitlyn said hello to some of her friends, then marched up to her new teacher and said without me prompting her: “Bonjour, maitress.” (That’s literally “hello, teacher.” ) The woman smiled and said “bonjour, Kaitlyn” (I think everyone at the school knows Kaitlyn) and then asked her “comment vas tu?” No answer. “Ca va bien?” No answer. So much for her French. I tried to tell the teacher that I think she understands a lot more than she says.

We went inside the classroom to check it out. Kaitlyn’s class is a mixture of the Grande Section… or kindergarten… and CP…. or first grade. The kids in CP have desks with their names on them. The others sit at little round tables in the back of the room. It could turn out to be a good transition for Kaitlyn from pre-school with the hours of finger painting and play doh and dollies to a real classroom with real work. She won’t have homework this year, but she’ll see what it’s like to be an even bigger kid.

When I picked Kaitlyn up for lunch, one of the other moms was wiping away tears, saying how hard it is to take the kids to school. I was thinking how hard it was to have to drop everything to rush to the school to pick mine up for lunch. Don’t get me wrong, I like spending that time with her. But it still just doesn’t make sense to me. Anyway, the teary mom’s kid cried when she left him in Kaitlyn’s class this morning. Hhhmmm…

When we finished up lunch and we were about to head back to school, I asked Kaitlyn if she needed to go to the bathroom. “Mom! They have toilettes at school.” She must think I’m a real moron. She went on to inform me that now she uses the “big kid” toilette. As long as she uses it, that’s fine with me.

On the way back to school, Kaitlyn and one of her friends ran ahead of we mom’s… into the school yard on their own… without even saying “bye.” They’re so grown up.

At the end of the day, I asked Kaitlyn’s teacher “elle va bien?” (basically, she did well?) The teacher smiled and said “bien!” Sounds good to me. Sounds promising for a good year.