So the Littleboys have completed their first full week at their new preschool, and I'm pleased to report that it's gone pretty well.
There were a few tears; from Littleboy1 on day 1, and Littleboy2 on day 2 (although the teacher was at pains to explain that this was only because another child had been crying, and he came out in sympathy).
On picking them up on the first day, I was a little worried that my firstborn might not be up to the high-achieving academic standards of some of his peers. Children start school (confusingly known as 'kindergarten' for the first year) at five plus here, rather than four plus. However, the 'pre-K' year, as it's called, seems to be pretty academically focused. As I arrived,Littleboy 1 was arguing with a little Japanese boy about whether the teacher had written his name right on his homework folder (yes, homework. I still can't believe my little boy has homework now). Littleboy 1 knows his name, but likes to write in capital letters. So he didn't recognise the small 'l' in his name as being, well, L. The four year old Japanese boy then primly pointed out, 'No, that is a lower-case l'. Oh Lord, I thought; Littleboy 1 has just about grasped that there might be a 'big A' as well as a 'little a'....
However, a week later and Littleboy 1 is gagging to do his homework the minute we get home (long may that continue...) and enthusiastically his tracing letters and numbers. His brother, meanwhile, reports each day that he 'did drawing'. I have yet to find out what else goes on in his classroom....
I, meanwhile, have had fun negotiating the minefield that is parking at the preschool. Each morning at 9am, an army of mummies in SUVs congregate on the narrow hilltop road where the school is, and try to park themselves in the tight space outside. Backing out is nerve-wracking, because the SUVs are all so massive. I've already seen one prang, and that involved one of the teachers. So not only am I embarrassed to be driving the rusting Dodge, I am also terrified of damaging the car and raising our already outrageous 'new driver' insurance premium even further.
Nevertheless, I have been making the most of my child-free time, before the reality - that I might need to earn something towards the extortionate fees - sets in. The first day I celebrated by sipping a latte on the beach and reading a novel in silence. I've also found time to visit the hairdresser, do an exercise class and have a coffee with a fellow British expat (yes, I found one). It's not exactly shopping on Fifth Avenue, but it has felt pretty relaxing compared to chasing the boys around town.
Every day when I pick them up from school, I ask the boys 'did you have a lovely time?' 'Yes, Mummy,' they dutifully reply. But yesterday, Littleboy 1 added: "And what about you Mummy, did you have a lovely time?"
"Er, yes," I replied. "I had my hair cut and went to the supermarket."
"Wow," he said, reverentially.
Yes, how exciting life is for Mummies.