Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A new routine

We are gradually settling in.

Littleboy 1 is having to get to grips with not only wearing a school uniform at school, but having to get changed at school or either PE or games- something he never had to do in the US. This means that he a) loses items of clothing on a regular basis (at least he has the name tapes) and b) often appears at the end of the school day with something on back to front or inside-out. On Friday he told me "Today is my favourite school day." I expected that it was because it was almost the weekend but no - it was the only day he didn't have to change clothes.

Littleboy 2 is getting to grips with swimming lessons through the school, which involve wearing a swimming hat for the first time in his life. After the first one, the teachers asked me: "Can he swim?". "Yes," I replied, surprised, "He's a really good swimmer." The swimming coach had reported back that he wasn't obeying any instructions and he wondered if he spoke English. When I enquired, Littleboy 2 informed me that he "couldn't hear". I've worked out that it must be the swimming hat......

The Doctor has finally started work, having cleared all manner of CRB checks, identity checks and occupational health questionnaires. Of course, when he took in all his official certificates to say he's a qualified doctor, no-one really gave them a second glance.....

For me, it's just been incredibly busy. As well as working, childcare and catching up with my UK friends, I've been working out how the heating in the house works, and trying to contact a piano repair man who only answers the phone on a Monday and won't allow you to leave an answerphone message. Fun, fun, fun.

I still haven't met many fellow parents at the school, but there's a coffee morning later this week at which I hope to make some connections. At the moment I feel like the only Mum outside Littleboy 2's school gates who isn't chatting gaily to a friend, and because of the dash between the two schools, I usually arrive at Littleboy 1's school a hot mess, dragging little brother behind me.

I also hadn't realised how much difference it makes with the school day being slightly longer than in America. By the time we get home from pickup, it's ten past four, and almost time to start homework and piano practice. They also get homework on weekends (a bit much, I think) so in some ways it feels as if you never get a break.

I'm already looking forward to half term....



11 comments:

Expat mum said...

That piano tuner sounds like s/he needs to learn customer service.

Conuly said...

I had assumed that "games" was another term for PE or gym. If he has both, does that mean there is a difference?

Nota Bene said...

The American way must seem so distant now!

Was Living Down Under said...

I may be off the mark but you sound like you're trying to be positive if a little weary. If it helps, I can relate to that feeling. It's weird feeling new in a place that is at the same time so familiar.

nappy valley girl said...

Expat Mum - It definitely wouldn't happen in America...

Conuly - yes! He has a different uniform for PE and for games (which at the moment is football. But in a few weeks will be rugby.). Different clothes entirely, and a different coloured bag to remember for me.

NB - it's beginning to seem so

WLDU - a little weary? I'm exhausted. But yes, trying to be positive.

Clare Taylor said...

Hanging out for half term here, too! (Although given the weather here, my two may already be in snow pants by then).

Iota said...

I agree about the shorter school day. I think it's a shame the way most children are just so tired all the time these days.

You will soon make friends. It always FEELS worse than the reality. It looks like everyone else has friends, but this time next year, you will be one of those, and there will be a whole bunch of newbies who assume you've been around for 5 years!

Metropolitan Mum said...

I am not far, if you fancy a coffee... Just let me know whenever. Dxx

MsCaroline said...

Completely agree with Iota - it does always feel worse than whatever the reality is. We have moved 3 times during the boys' school years, and I have very clear (and awkward) memories of those first days - the one in Phoenix, where everyone (except me) knew where to go outside to meet the teachers on the first day; the one in Texas, where the boys started midweek in February well into the semester and I had to walk each child past a gauntlet of (to me) unfriendly, unhelpful parental stares while looking desperately for the (unmarked) entrances-with no offers of help; the one in Seoul, where half the parents were speaking Korean to each other and the other half seemed to know exactly what they were doing and where they were going (with no interest in me and my obvious confusion) while I wandered hopelessly around the enormous campus with (apparently) not a soul available who knew where anything was. I only say this because, in every case, it really changed within a few short weeks or months. By the last time, I actually remember saying it to myself like a mantra as I found myself (with burning cheeks)in yet another wrong room/corridor/building: "In just a few weeks, I will know where things are and I won't feel so strange." Of course, it doesn't help when you're experiencing it, but do know that many of us have been there and sympathiz(s) deeply. I think I 'know' you well enough from your writing that I predict you'll be on the lookout for new mums next year and will do your best to help any lost and lonely souls you see and truly pay it forward. Maybe this awareness is one of those intangible gifts that living abroad/moving away gives us....xx

Muddling Along said...

Another one hanging out for half term - part of me feels that the homework and extras they want us to do are just designed to make life harder for parents (because face it I already know what the secret of Loch Ness is...)

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