Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kindergarten calculus

We were all sick over the weekend with a "death must be better than this" kind of illness.  Alex decided he was sicker than the rest of us (he wasn't) and slept all day, leaving me to fend for myself with two kids who passed the time by throwing up on me.  and the furniture.  and the floor.

I would occasionally drag myself to the bedroom door and yell at the prone figure on the bed, "WTF, AL?  I'm sick, too, why am I dealing with this alone??"  He'd mumble something like, "Seriously, MJ, I think I have it a lot worse." (he didn't)

It's kind of like the house caught on fire and Alex jumped out the window to save himself while the rest of us stared after him and whimpered "Daddy....?"  He's hanging his head in shame now and singing my praises, declaring me "much stronger" than he is.  Agreed, bed boy.

We're all fine again but the place still reeks of sickness and misery.  I've washed all sheets and towels a million times and Alex is getting upset because I keep spraying him in the face with Febreze.  Here's hoping we get accustomed to U.S. germs very soon.

Anyway, before it all went to hell healthwise (again), we went to the neighborhood post-holiday party.  By "the neighborhood" I mean the neighborhood where we're trying to buy the goddamn house.  Everyone on the street knows so much about us and our now ten-month-long headache, we're even getting invited to the street's parties.  We're de facto neighbors (better than "insane wannabes").

What a great group of people on that street.  Some are still knocking themselves out to do "blog-worthy" things, though.  One friend, Seattle Dad, tried coming out as a proud homosexual man at the buffet table.  Man, I sure hope he wasn't serious -- otherwise the eye roll and the "I still ain't putting you in the blog, dipsh*t" probably weren't very sensitive responses.

Things are going very well for the Loosh in U.S. kindergarten.  I don't have time to get into the differences between his two schools just yet, but am happy to say that being loud does not equal being bad here.  Huzzah!  His teacher likes him, kids like him, smiles all around.

Unfortunately, he's lost his "self manager" badge already (this is apparently a very big deal to the kindergarten set) because he kicked some kid named Finn, but every day at the end of school he promises his teacher he's going to try "super harder" to earn it back the next day.  She ruffles his hair and tells him she knows he will.  He's happy.

But hang on, hang on -- there's homework in kindergarten?  That's insanity.  It's not "draw a pretty kitty cat" kind of homework, either.  One of his math problems was "draw a symmetrical picture that has 2 squares, 2 circles, and 3 triangles."  I read it to him and then we looked at each other with question marks in our eyes.  He slowly asked what "symmetal-cul" meant and I agreed that was a good place to start.

I've come to the conclusion there is no such thing as "reverse culture shock."  This is the culture in which I've lived my entire life -- three measly years somewhere else isn't going to shake it out of me.  Maybe if you lived outside your culture for twenty years it would be different, but what we're experiencing now is nothing like real culture shock, the kind where you get smacked around and your head dunked in the toilet by totally new things.  This is more a slow, "ohhh yeeeeah... I remember that now."

So no need for the dramatic term -- there's no "shock," just "getting-to-know-you-again, culture, and by the way, you look lovely today."  It's like putting on your favorite pair of jeans straight out of the dryer.  At first it's "What the hell's happening here?" but soon enough it's "These jeans are nice and roomy.  So comfy."

Hope I can write again soon, but I may be too busy helping Lucien understand particle physics.
(Kindergarten's not for the weak, people),


  1. Loving how the time diff is working for your Seattle blog..now I'm home when you post ..before I was at work...

    Anyway Mitt Romneys 5!!! Sons are freaking me out.....

    Knew the loosh would fit right in at his new school...he's a star....

    Sorry you guys were all sick ..again...may I suggest you javex or pinesol the entire apartment...especially that wimpy Canadian you are married to...tell him he's letting down the whole country

    Live it up kid!

  2. mj don't tell anyone you are not in culture shock--- remember that is your reason (excuse)for not having to buy presents entertain and all other sorts of stuff. (glad you are adjusting and feeling better)YEAH LOOSH- i knew he would be a HUGE SUCCESS that kid has moxie-oh wait so does his mom- enjoy your week!

  3. I hope Al is well recovered from his man flu, did he know that there are now support groups out there to help sufferers of this terrible affliction?

    Hope Loosh is doing better at the particle physics than I.

  4. To The Little Physicist: Draw a robot. Nice and symmetrical. Maybe it'll earn (or be programmed to grab) back the manager badge!

    To The Fabreezer: We live on a Rue de Party. The streets the laissez les bons temps rouler really are the ones to habiter, n'est-ce pas?

    Keep on fabreezin'

  5. Hey there, this is your very rarely commenting but always reading your blog, Como, Italy living gal here... Great post!! So funny. Where did you take the photo of America? It's really great.
    Thanks and take care!

  6. My favorite difference-in-schools story is this: when we first got back, my 1st grader was attending the school where his Nana is the principal. After about the third day of school, we were riding in the car and he said "Nana, you know that thing we do after the announcements where you put your hand on your chest? What is that?" My mom and I looked at each other and it dawned on us - OMG he doesn't know what the Pledge of Allegiance is!?! Of course he didn't - he'd never gone to school in the US, but stuff like this (American money, the 12-hour clock, homework involving actual thinking rather than memorizing) kept sneak-attacking us those first few weeks. Fun fun! I'm glad Lucien is loving his school!
    NC Buckeye

  7. You think it's tough now, wait till he gets to 3rd grade and he comes to you looking for help with math homework that in no way resembles anything you've ever seen before! Yeah, don't laugh it happened to me and my background is accounting! Sure, 2+2 till equaled 4, but for the life of me I could not figure out how they got there.

    Glad you all are feeling better.

  8. Not cool, Al... not cool!

    So, whether in Paris or in Seattle, you were doomed to get that pesky gastro... glad it's out of your systems (and milk that guilt for all it's worth!;)).

    Wow! When I was in kindergarten, we learned sweet FA, so I used to skip school all the time out of boredom (I'm a third child... by the time I was in kindergarten, my mom had already dealt with two thoroughly bored kindergarteners who skipped school, so she just rolled with it! One of my bros even asked her "Mom, why do I have to go there and share toys that I don't have to share at home?"... can't argue with that kind of logic, so she didn't;) But first grade... Oh My! I loved it!:)

    So wow! Math in kindergarten, eh? And they don't mind loudness and gusto? Yihaa! The Loosh will have the time of his life!:) I'm really glad:)

    Yup. I agree with you about going back home after a few years abroad. All in all, it's huge fun:) Especially in restaurants and at the grocery store!:) The mere thought of being able to eat Korean, Mexican or Ethiopian food for lunch on a Saturday because 1) these restaurants actually EXIST in Ottawa!; 2) these restaurants are actually OPEN at lunch time!, gives me little intra-uterine contractions of happiness:)

  9. @ Debs

    "especially that wimpy Canadian you are married to...tell him he's letting down the whole country"

    I think Betty White sums up the difference between men and women quite well:

    “Why do people say "grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding”


  10. Glad you all are recovering, that is awful to be sick and have to take care of the sick.
    I think there is a weakness in the male gene that makes them ALWAYS be-more-sick-than-anyone-has-ever-been-in-the-whole-wide-world. Last time my hubby was sick and having stomach cramps he claimed "You have never been in this much pain." "Yes darling, I'm sure it is like childbirth..."

    Good luck to Loosh on getting his badge back and on the homework. School is crazy these days, whatever happened to playing and coloring in kindergarten? I've heard of some children having an hour of homework AND tutoring to help with reading and writing...in kindergarten. Crazy.


  11. Okay, I laugh when I read about how EVERYONE is sick, but the MAN has it worse. I used to have that problem. That EXACT problem. I've got tales, girl, I've got stories. But, I will tell you the cure for that: kidney stones. No joke, when Mr. had kidney stones while on the ONLY get-away we've EVER had (kids are 12 and 14), and had to endure it for two weeks while we waited for them to pass, and they never did, so he had surgery, that cured the "death by cold" issue we had once before. He's all tough like a lady. And I ilk whim that way. So, maybe there's hope for you. You just have to wish for a bad case of kidney stones.

  12. Well hello there.

    Hi Debbie -- ha ha, told Al he's a wimp. It's not like he can argue with me now that I've got proof.

    g -- moxie all around. Good point on the "culture shock as excuse for sucking at life." I'll keep it hush-hush that I don't feel it in the slightest.

    Jenn -- ugh. man flu. They're just the worst when they're sick. Can't stand it.

    Bonjello, I like the idea of taking the self-manager badge by force. Can I come visit you on rue de party?

    Christine! Como, Italy? Really? Lucky duck. The America picture was actually taken at Denver's airport. It's a goofy little thing, points out all the strange attractions in the U.S.

    NC Buckeye. Err... just realized Lucien has no idea what the Pledge of Allegiance is, either. Do they still do that, really? It's actually a really weird thing to do, now that I think about it. Hmm.

    Tara. I believe you, and I'm not looking forward to it. If this is what they're doing in kindergarten... holy crap!

    Duchesse! We are doomed to catch everything. Absolutely eff'g everything. And I cannot tell you how much I enjoy having really, really good Mexican food in the 'hood again. You may go a bit nuts when you return home! OH,I missed it so.

    And Betty White should run for President. She would probably win.

    Melanie! Hilarious...typical dude thinking his stomach cramps are worse than anything you've ever felt. Why all the drama, menfolk? I had no idea kindergarten was this nuts in the U.S. I mean, really -- hey, I guess there's a bit of culture shock there!

    Mrs. -- *crosses fingers* come ON, kidney stones! Some much-needed perspective there!

    Bye all, thanks for stopping by and visiting me.

  13. I don't know if you've seen this before, but it does a very good job of depicting the general attitude of sick men. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbmbMSrsZVQ


  14. Comfy jeans, no shocks, slight pangs for Paris. My feelings exactly.

  15. Not so much a comment but a question. Can Coco decide between three nationalities to claim a passport at 18...USA, Canada AND France her birthplace? Decisions Decisions.

    1. Hi Danna. Coco has dual citizenship -- U.S. and Canada, and two passports to prove it. Doesn't work like the U.S. in France -- have to have at least one French parent, being born there doesn't mean squat. Too bad -- we could have given her the entire E.U.!