Two days ago Lucien came home from school and said, "Mom, I got in trouble today!" Perhaps it was the shade of enthusiasm in his voice that gave me Paris flashbacks but my heart immediately sank a little.
It happened in Spanish class, a class that is making Lucien's head explode on the daily. The teacher calls on him often in an attempt to give him as much practice as possible, which he claims is "kinda mean" since he can't answer any of her questions. He studies lists of Spanish words in his bed at night; we know he's doing it when we hear a lot of "aghh!" and "this is impossible!" coming from his room.
Two days ago, the teacher was giving him a particularly grueling time, quizzing him on vocabulary and verb conjugation. Another student raised his hand and asked to go to the bathroom. As that student walked across the room and placed his hand on the classroom's doorknob, Lucien yelled, "SAVE YOURSELF!!"
The class cracked up. The teacher did not. She warned him that if he was going to be Mr. Funny Guy in class, he was going to find himself in the office more often than not. Well that's just great and here we are again. Those still reading from the Paris years probably remember Lucien did not fit in very well at his French school. He stood out from the much more subdued French children. He was in trouble all the time, had teachers tearing their hair out on the regular. La betise! La betise! The Loosh was an...ahem...spirited child in a non-spirited environment.
Thankfully it's been smooth sailing the past handful of years. He's matured so much, is a good student and is finally able to control the more severe of his spaz-tastic impulses. He's the class clown for sure but good natured, rarely in trouble, and his teachers usually get a kick out of him. Maybe Americans are more flexible with those kinds of things, I don't know, but it seems apparent the teachers at the British School, at least the Spanish ones, are not as amused.
I gave him a talking-to about picking his moments. The classroom is not an appropriate place to crack jokes. Save it for the playground, save it for the bus, save it for anywhere besides the Spanish teacher's classroom because IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE for principals in foreign countries to be part of our daily lives again, comprendes, little dude?
Lucien replied, "But Mom, I'm funny and I think my classmates have a right to know that." Great. This should go fine.
Coco's head is also exploding in Spanish because not only does she not speak Spanish, but everyone in her class is already writing cursive. Her First Grade classmates are writing Spanish in cursive, two things that could not be further from Coco's wheelhouse, goddammit, and I have to help her with her homework every afternoon.
Her homework, twice the amount of what other kids have because she's so far behind, is the most godawful painful hour... or two....or three.... of the day. She whines and throws pencils, I cry and scour the kitchen cabinets for wine. It's pretty awful. Paulina has swooped in to save the day on a couple Spanish lessons and that may become the norm because when it comes to Spanish, surprise, I'm not much help. I wish Paulina could teach cursive, too.
Speaking of Spanish, the building's cleaning lady tried to chat me up in the elevator today. She sees me around the building daily and probably couldn't tell from my simple "buenos dias" and "hasta luego"s that I didn't know many more words than those. She stepped into the elevator with me this morning and immediately launched into some incomprehensible thing. There were definitely questions involved based on her inflection and her looking at me with her head tilted slightly to the side.
The realization struck her immediately that she was talking to a wall, probably because my eyes had gone wide and I was just staring at her frozen-like. I finally managed a "no comprendo" and she nodded, seemed embarrassed for the both of us. She hustled off the elevator a couple floors later.
Poor lady tried to be friendly and get to know me but ha! She won't try that again.
PS. Spanish in small elevators is much more uncomfortable than Spanish in larger open spaces. I need the breathing room, and the option to run away if/when I need to.