Well, that’s it. They’re in! That’s the first day in French school done and dusted… With mixed results.
Iz was bursting with excitement this morning and even exclaimed, “I’m so happy!”. I hope that’s no reflection on spending 4 weeks almost exclusively in our company.
“His new teacher gave me international sign language for ‘don’t worry, just bugger off’.”
T, on the other hand, wasn’t so keen but seemed OK when we got there and met another English speaking boy at his cloakroom. He didn’t look back when I called after him “Bye T, have a good day!” as he wandered into the classroom, looking a little unusual in his fluffy fleece, bright blue long johns and enormous green dinosaur feet slippers. I took it as a good sign and the right time to sidle off. Wrong!
As we said our goodbyes to Iz a few classrooms away, the wailing suddenly reverberated down the corridor. I peeped round the corner and his new teacher gave me international sign language for ‘don’t worry, just bugger off’. We left Iz with a new friend discussing who could speak the most Spanish (eh?). I hoped she wouldn’t need to back up her claims, as counting to ten wasn’t going to be difficult to trump.
We drove slowly back to our new apartment, both a little shell shocked at having to leave T upset and feeling a bit strange about not having them with us for the first time in 4 weeks. It was definitely quiet. It gave us a good chance to get stuff done before picking them up at lunchtime though. You can leave them in school for lunch or pick them up and take them home for an hour and a half or so. Only a couple of kids in the whole school go home but we decided we’d start off by doing it to ease the transition a little. They were starting in a new French speaking school in the middle of a year after all.
By the time we picked them up, Iz had made several friends and had decided already that she wanted to stay for school dinners from tomorrow onwards. The menu said cauliflower cheese for the next day and she was in! Weird because we normally have to order pizzas with no cheese due to a melted cheese aversion. Hey ho, long may these rose tinted glasses last.
T, however, didn’t want to go back and threw the mother of all tantrums when we tried to take him back after lunch. It didn’t help that we mistimed how long a visit to the supermarket would be and he had to rush down a pot of cold pasta and a carton of orange on the journey back. Nina’s attempts at consoling, then reasoning, then bribery fell on deaf ears and she had to resort to a heart wrenching handover and retreat. We drove back even slower, in silence and an even more sombre mood than this morning. Ah well. This was always going to be a difficult bit and at least one of them was happy.
Feeling pretty drained and low when we got back, we perked ourselves up with an emergency cup of Yorkshire Tea. (Brilliantly formulated for use with hard water no less). The two hours ’til pick up whizzed past and we waited at the doors nervously nodding and flat-mouth-smiling at the other parents, wondering whether we might make some new friends aswell on our first day of school.
“He proudly told me that he had been asleep since we dropped him off and they had just woken him up for home time!”
T rolled out looking much chirpier than when we last saw him. I picked him up and he proudly told me that he had been asleep since we dropped him off and they had just woken him up for home time! I cracked up. There are kids as young as 3 in his mixed class and there is a room with beds for them to have a sleep in the afternoon. When we looked round the school, the teachers seemed quite surprised when we said T no longer had a sleep in the day. Evidently he did today and he looked pretty pleased with himself. I hope he sleeps tonight!
Iz skipped out with the rose tinted glasses still in-tact. They’d done some French lessons for the English kids, playing Simon Says (Jacques a dit) and she’s just spent the rest of the day since we got home saying everything in English with a French accent. At least she’s practicing the pronunciation!
T is still not convinced and continued to argue his case for ‘no return’ right up until we tucked him in and kissed him good night. The promise of another round of Bambins Du Bois tomorrow night is the only bargaining chip showing any sign of leverage right now.
I must say I’m not looking forward to this over the next few days. I truly hope this is the right decision and will be good for them both in the long run.
I’ve just looked at the weather forecast and there’s a bit of sunshine and blue sky forecast for the morning. It’s been snowing all evening and I think Nina and I might need to squeeze in a cheeky blast after the school drop off, just to re-energise the positivity reserves of course. 😉