Sometimes I feel as if I am getting the hang of being a Mommy. That's as opposed to an English Mummy, who is blithely ignorant of customs and culture (I am often baffled by Littleboy 1's homework - for example this week he was asked who is pictured on the 'penny'. I had no idea that in America, this is a one cent piece).
I now know that if the preschool sends home a message, pre Valentine's Day, telling you how many kids are in the class, this means that you must buy, and write, cards for every single child as well as providing a 'treat' (we were even told to provide a bag with handles for 'all the goodies'). And that there is no opt-out clause, unless you want to be a complete killjoy. But also that there is no need to panic - every shop sells huge packs of tiny cards to which you can attach lollipops, precisely for this purpose.
I know that in the summer, it is imperative to have organised some kind of 'summer camp'; with school finishing in mid June, the summer holidays would otherwise be interminably long. And I also know - for next year - that you sign up on the day camp registration opens. I thought I was being incredibly organised signing up the boys at the beginning of February - luckily we scraped in by the skin of our teeth, getting the last two places available....
I know that it is not just customary, but obligatory, to send out a Christmas card that features a photograph of your children. I know this because I happened to glance at a school noticeboard recently where all the cards were pinned. Every single other parent had sent a glossy card depicting their grinning offspring (and sometimes themselves too) with a message like 'Happy Holidays from the Waltons'. Our card, a run-of-the-mill picture of a snowy scene, looked, frankly, crap and lazy.
However, I am still clinging to my Britishness in some regards. For example:
We did not give, or attend, a Superbowl party. We watched a very short snatch of the Big Game (which was extremely baffling) and rather spectacular Halftime Show. Then I turned over to watch the BBC's adapation of Emma, which was being shown on PBS. I suspect that I was one of the few people in the whole of America to do this. We also missed Barack Obama giving a key interview on CBS just ahead of the match (can you imagine if Gordon Brown addressed the nation just before the FA Cup final?)
I still refuse to drive a large people carrier, and am happy to zip around town in a little Honda (the Dodgy Dodge having being relegated to the status of The Doctor's car.) No doubt this is viewed as very eccentric.
I still call my children 'darling' and 'sweetheart', not 'honey' and 'buddy'.
We will be having pancakes next Tuesday. According to the internets, cooking up a pancake with lemon and sugar is a firmly British tradition, despite celebrations of Mardi Gras etc. But, I might serve them with maple syrup. After all, when in Rome......