Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mr. Men moments 2

While we were reading "Little Miss Birthday" Graham noticed that Mr. Wrong wore a flowerpot for a hat. "He has a flowerpot on his head. That's disgraceful."

Mr. Men Moments

When Jason came home from house-hunting in England, the gifts he brought the kids were the books "Mr. Happy" and "Mr. Messy." I find these books just as wonderful as when I was a first grader & my teacher Mrs. Klein put me in a corner to read to myself while the other students learned how to read. (Yes, I suppose I'm bragging.)

Anyway, I read Mr. Messy to Graham at least once a day. And lately, with a few other Mr. Men & Little Miss books on loan from a friend (Cami's male counterpart is a four year old American whose dad also works in the philosophy department at Leeds), I read more than just Mr. Messy.

With Cami at school, Rose asleep, and the house picked up, I spent about an hour reading "Little Miss Birthday" to Graham. He noticed that the title character had a "snake" for a mouth, because she was "puzzled." That led to a mini-discussion about how our mouths & eyes best express our emotions. I showed him my "puzzled mouth & eyes" and asked to see his "happy mouth and eyes." But he wouldn't look at me. Finally I asked him, "What do your happy eyes look like?"

Rather than look at me, he replied "Brown."

Monday, September 22, 2008

"That Was Nice of You to Say"

At the Canal
Sitting on my Dresser
Crushing peppercorns -- and yes, I staged this, because when we were actually grinding up the peppercorns, I had to hold the pestle with him.

With Cami in school, I am getting to discover Graham for the person he is. That's not to say he's a stranger to me, but so much of our time together gets interrupted because he is "the middle child." But for six hours a day, he and I get to hang out.

So we read stories and build his train tracks while Rose is napping. And, when she wakes up, we go to the park. Or, as the photos show, we walk to the canal bridge (which is gorgeous & just over the hill is the real train tracks where we say "Hi" and "Bye" as "Thomas," "Percy," and "James" pass by). Or I let him join Rose in sitting on the furniture, because I love watching them watch themselves in the mirror. Or he helps me cook. . . it's more enjoyable for all of us when there are only two cooks instead of three.

Today we dropped Cami off at school & didn't even bother to go back home. Rose was in the hiking backpack, so we just headed down the hill for the canal, because Graham wanted to see the boats. When we were leaving the canal, I told Graham "Thank You" for taking me on this adventure.

I fell in love with my little guy all over when he responded, "You're welcome, Mommy. That was nice of you to say."

School Daze

1 September 2008.

School registration works a bit differently here in the UK. Generally, you submit your child's information about a year before school starts. Since we didn't have a confirmed address until August 7th, that wasn't a deadline we managed to meet.

Jason took Cami to Leeds Education on August 9th to submit her application. And then we waited for "The Letter" (just as if we were hoping she'd been accepted to Hogwarts.) But it didn't come. And didn't come. And didn't come.

So, on 1 September, the official start date for schools throughout the UK, we walked by the school around 9:30. It looked completely closed. No sign of life. Jason phoned Leeds Education and asked if there had been a hangup. The administrator reported that Cami's file had been sent to her school & that our letter should have arrived. Then she gave Jason a phone number for the school & told him to call.

We learned a couple things from the second call. #1. School had begun at 9 a.m. #2. They had Cami's file & just hadn't bothered to confirm that she was enrolled. #3. We should bring her in at 11 a.m. to meet the headteacher (the PC version of Dumbledore).

We arrived on time for her appointment. Mrs. Rhodes, the headteacher, interviewed her & took us on a mini-tour of the school. We spent about twenty minutes learning about the school dinner (aka lunch) program which Cami decided she wanted to buy into (simplifying my life) and purchasing her official school polo shirts & a jumper (aka sweatshirt).

Home for lunch, a quick change into her uniform (I LOVE uniforms -- she doesn't come home every day lusting after another child's clothes), & then my girl started school at 1 p.m.

So, when Cami grows up & has to provide some random tidbit of personal trivia she has an easy one: I skipped kindergarten & missed the first four hours of Year 1.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Place to Remember

We have "bank holidays" in England. They get treated as the equivalent of Labor Day or Memorial Day -- the post office & banks are closed, while lots of shops have special sales. We used the holiday to go to Kirkstall Abbey, a medieval ruin that's about two miles from our house. Jason passes it every time he rides the bus to work and I see it whenever I go into City Centre.

It's an amazing place to walk around. I'm not sure if it's because of the holiday or just because, but there was a murder mystery set up within the ruins. It appeared that the mystery was based on an actual incident in the thirteenth century. It was a great way to engage Cami with the ruins & to get a better understanding of what the abbey was like when it was up & running.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Montana's Where They Move To

Jason and I took the kids into Leeds City Centre on Sunday to meet up with a philosophy friend from the States. Riding the bus back home, we were seated near a ten year old boy. When we were almost to our stop, the boy got brave enough to ask the usual question of "Where are you from?"

Jason was nearest him & responded, "The States."

"Which one?"

"I'm from Montana."

"Is that where all the posh people are from?"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Absolutely True

Graham was just pulling on my leg, begging me to read him a story. The book he handed me is "Where's My Baby?" When I read the title aloud, he responded, "Upstairs."