Starting off school – Sept 2011

Sept 9th Rude Aunt Mathilde

Mia was walking back from the park with Farida and Luca.  Here comes a beautiful bride, dressed up for the photos

“Mathilde!”, says Mia pointing to the bride [Mathilde and Etienne just got married in July this year and Mia saw her first bride – after Tatiana when she was 6 months old].  Mathilde, rude as always, doesn’t even say hello. “Mathilde”, repeats Mia, pointing to the bride. “Mathilde!  [pause]  coucou, Mathilde”?


Sept 8th tough going to school

Luca’s been crying every day going to school.  “Je veux pas aller à l’école” (I dont want to go to school).  Half hour after I put him in bed last night he was crying his eyes out, sweating « Je veux pas aller à l’école ».  So I explained – “every boy and girl his age has to go to school, and most of them love it, blah, blah blah.  Plus, if you cry in the morning when I drop you off, I wont play with you tonight”. He fell asleep, mostly cheered up by his sister who was trying to make him laugh by putting her doudou on her head and making funny sounds.


Getting started in the morning is always a enormous task to overcome for the little guy – blame papa’s genes.  So I wake him up 45 min before departure time. He started his crying face about 15 times in that interval – didn’t want to eat his cereal, didn’t want to put his shoes on, didn’t to put his coat on, didn’t want to get in the elevator, etc, etc, etc. He even got punished with a time out in the bathroom and a threat to stay there all day if he continued to complain.


We finally made our way up to the classroom. He started to cry again, and I repeated the deal again “If you don’t cry, I’ll play with you tonight”. I needed to put a sticker around his neck, the one every boy and girl wears the first few weeks of school till the teachers remember the kids’ names. For Luca, wearing that sticker is symbolically assimilated to getting handcuffed. He fights it off. I repeated the deal we had stricken and I could see him trying to swallow his cries. He got a grip on himself, we sat to read a story with 5 other kids. They all had a good time. And I stood up to leave.  He started to cry and followed me to the door.  I repeated: “If you don’t cry, I’ll play with you tonight”. He was struggling really hard to accept his mum’s departure and he said “mais j’ai pas pleuré pour le sticker…   [sniffs].  Tu pourras jouer avec moi [tears]?” (I didn’t cry for the sticker.  You’ll play with me?)


Sept 7th – Mia stays with HER nounou

Mia’s learning the good life.

–      Where is luca?

–      Uca Ecole (Uca at school)

–      And Mia?

–      Mia nounou! She says with a huge smile.

She’s adorable. She’s been putting on hair clips and she walks around saying “Belle ma fille” (my pretty daughter) repeating what I told her the other day. 

Then she tries to jump off of a book she put on the floor.  “Ga’de, ga’de” which is her way of saying “regarde” (look). I was busy with something else so to get my full attention she said, loud :  “EEEga’de, EEEEga’de maman!!”.


September 6th Mia eats her cake, one ingredient at a time

So tonight we’re making a yogurt cake. Both kids are sitting at the kitchen table, with a bowl each in front of them and their aprons tightly tied.

I give Luca a yogurt, and Mia a yogurt.  We add yeast.  By then, Mia has already eaten 3 spoons of her yogurt.  With yeast which she finds weird. We add flower, sugar.  Mia has eater another 2 spoons of yogurt + flower.  I reduce the proportion of ingredients I give her, down to a mini spoon each so she doesn’t feel left out. 
Lesson learned – next time, I should probably not make them cook right before dinner time…


September 5th Luca’s first day in school

We’d been talking about it for while – Luca is a big boy, he’s potty trained, he can put on his shoes on his own, he’s ready to … go to school. 


We had blackmailed him wholesale for the last few months “if you don’t eat your dinner on your own/brush your teeth/go on the bathroom/put on your shoes/etc, you cant go to school in September”. 


Of course there was some angst mixed to the excitement about the experience –  maman, il y a beaucoup d’enfants à l’école (are they lots of children in class)?  On ‘cravaille’ beaucoup (we work a lot in school)?  C’est qui ‘une maitresse’ (who is “a teacher”)? On fait des gommettes a l’école (can we play with stickers at school) ?


We prepped him up, explained that Mia was too young to go to school, boosted his morale up.  To the point where he’d walk up to unknown people and say with pride “moi je vais aller à l’ECOLE” (I’m going to school soon), as if school was this guarded treasure he had earned privileged access too.  We got him new shoes for school, a backpack. I was very proud and thought  – what great parents we are, he’s going to be excited about school.


Last night, the little guy was all over the place – didn’t want to eat his food, splashed water around the bathroom, ran away when was time to read a story.  And I said with all my parental force “if you don’t eat/behave/listen/shut up/brush your teeth/etc, you won’t go to school tomorrow”.  Once finally in bed, he said

–      Je veux pas aller à l’école (I don’t want to go to school tomorrow)

–      Quoi (What)??????

–      Moi je vais pas à l’école demain.  Je joue à la maison  (I dont want to go to school tomorrow. I want to play at home)

–      Mais tu n’as pas ENVIE d’aller à l’école ?  Tu as un nouveau sac à dos pour l’école !! (But dont you WANT to go to school?  you’ve got a new backpack)

–      Le sac il est dans mon lit.  Je vais pleurer à l’école (the backpack is in my bed. I’m going to cry at school) ?

–      C’est pas grave si tu veux pleurer.  D’autres enfants vont pleurer aussi (it’s OK if you need to cry. Other kids will cry too)

–      Je vais pas aller à l’école (I don’t want to go to school)


Call me naive, I was unprepared for that and had no plan B.  


This morning, he dragged his feet.  Mia was watching her brother –  “Uca Ecole”  (Uca school). She clearly understood what this meant –  staying on her own with all the nanny’s attention, a dream come true.  Ecole is good J


Luca and I headed to school, around the block, talking about the games he might play in school.  We hiked up the 3 floors (Jesus, why do they put the youngest kids on the very top?? Beats me). We first hit the bathroom, so the little guy would know how to take care of the basics.  As we entered the classroom, his fingers were clawed on my jeans.  He hid behind me as the teacher Catherine greeted him.  We worked our way to the games with difficulty and he started to enjoy himself – puzzles, dolls.  Over time, the kids next to us would start crying as their parents left but would stop shortly after.  Luca would walk to a few of them and bravely say “faut pas pleurer (don’t cry)”. As I was ready to leave, most parents were gone and the classroom was in peace.


“Bye Luca, have fun, mama will pick you up for lunch”


Luca started to cry (“more like a scream”, as the teacher pointed out), and embarked 80% of the children with him- bringing down hell in the classroom. Now that’s true leadership. Clearly, that kid has a bright future as a leader – he displays integrity (faithful to his mum), vision (“don’t leave my mum”) and an ability to bring his team along. 


By the time I had closed the door, 20 children were crying and screaming. I ran out and left the mess to the teacher…


I picked him up for lunch, he was totally fine and had probably cried for 3 min until he stopped, overwhelmed by the scary sounds of 20 crying children.  All he said, disappointed, “we didn’t go to play in the park”


I put him to bed for his nap after lunch and he threw a final attempt at distressing his mum  “et si vous venez pas me chercher?” (what if nobody picks me up?).    Who says kids live stress-free???


September 3rd  Luca and Mia spin

Mia started to dance and she turns around on herself till she falls on the floor.  She loves it and repeats.  She surprisingly changes the side of the rotation.

Luca spinned too. Fast enough that he fell, gently, on the floor.

–      Maman, maman, la maison elle a bougé!!!  (the house moved !)

–      The house moved?

–      Oui.  Pourquoi elle a bougé la maison?  (yes.  Why did it move ?)

–      The house didnt move Luca. IT’s because you spinned so your eyes keep tracking and think the house moved.

He looked at me confused.  I told him to try to turn again and see what happens.  He did, fell down, open his eyes and looked very confused

–      Maman, maman, la maison elle a encore bougé!!!  (the house moved again!)

–      The house didnt move Luca. It’s your eyes who think the house moved.

–      Elle a bougé comment la maison?  (how did it move?)


Sept 1st Luca visits his first aquarium

–      I saw…. sharks

–      Really?

–      They did not eat me

–      Oh, that’s cool.  What did they do

–      Y’avait une barriere (there was a fence)

–      So what did they look like?

–      They eat fish

–      Big fish?

–      The small fish.

–      Oh

–      The fish is in the water.  Is the fish cold maman?

–      No, a fish is never cold unless it’s frozen

–      [blank]

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