Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What do you mean I need a doctor's note if I'm sick?...

Gerrit thinks daddy's work shoes are
much more interesting than his own.

This morning was a mad dash to get everyone up, showered, dressed, breakfast, and dogs walked so we could try out the English preschool in Garching. Gerrit had refused to sleep at a decent hour the night before so the morning was more chaotic than I would have liked. The school runs just in the morning from 8:30-12:30. When we arrived, everyone was dropping their kids off for the day. There are only 6 - 8 kids attending in his age range (2-3 year olds), and Gerrit is by far the youngest at just under 2. I was a bit worried about Gerrit's obvious age difference this morning and wondered how he would handle the routine. This school seems extremely structured. In fact, probably more so than it ought to be for 2 -3 year olds. Thankfully, I had one of those days where a super obnoxious child there made my child look fabulous by comparison.

The school seems really academic for the young age it teaches. It's preschool, not kinder, and for two year olds with short attention spans, it's a tough day. I would have liked to see a bit more exploratory learning, language development, and learning through play going on for the little ones. I Perhaps it was just today's lesson as it was a rainy day. We'll have to go back and compare multiple days before making a major judgement. Even so, I still like Gerrit to interact with other kids, and if I can't find an english-speaking playgroup, he will likely continue hear one or two mornings per week. I will also look for a german playgroup or something he can do, too.

Their day went something like this:
8:30-9:00 Free-play while parents dropped off kids, said goodbyes, etc.
9:00-9:30 Lessons on the days of the week, months of year,
and alphabet.
9:30-9:45 Storytime with today's theme (Spiders)
9:45-10:15 Morning snack time and free-play
10:15-10:45 More lessons on alphabet, phonics, and sounds.
10:45-11:00 Worksheet activity on alphabet (Gerrit was given
Aa with an apple to color). This was followed by a
little free-play until all had finished coloring
Music and movement (including some songs related to today's theme)
11:30-11:40 Craft on today's theme (We used glue and glitter to make a spider web)
11:40-12:00 Second morning snack and free-play
12:00-12:30 Normally they would go outside but since it was
raining we had more music and movement inside.

Gerard had dropped us off and met us at 12:30 to drive us home so we could all have lunch together. I wasn't about to walk that far again with Gerrit after yesterday's fiasco. Even though Gerrit was really tired, he fought going down after lunch. When he finally did, Gerrit and I both had a long and much needed nap.

Gerard met up with an insurance agent after work (personal liability, dog liability, renters' and life insurance) while I *tried* to cook dinner. I'm not a very good cook to begin with, and learning what ingredients are called here, and how they may be packaged or used differently is quite the experience. It's always a gamble as to how meals will actually turn out as I never really know what I actually bought at the store. I'm learning, but it takes time. For example, tomato paste comes in a tube (like a giant toothpaste tube). Diced tomatoes come in a cardboard carton, and tomato soup comes I've only managed to find as a package in dry form. Tonight's dinner, which was supposed to be salisbury steak and rice, ended up looking more like camp food goulash. The hamburger patty mixture ended up too loose to hold it's form so I eventually gave up and just browned everything crumbled up in the pan. Far from gourmet. It looked more like dog food, but at least it tasted good.
Gerrit and his favorite dog, Niki.

We broke down and bought another futon from IKEA. Although we have an air mattress arriving tomorrow in our air shipment, Gerard has decided that he doesn't want to sleep on it until our furniture arrives. Oh well, 150 euros later and at least we'll have a second futon for multiple guests (hint hint). On the way to IKEA, Gerard mentioned that he discovered something peculiar at work. If he calls in sick more than three days in a row, he needs to provide a doctor's note. Any teachers reading this, doesn't this sound familiar? I started laughing and told him that is the same policy that LCUSD holds. He always thought that policy was absurd so I find it hilarious that he now has to deal with it, himself. "Ah, welcome to Germany," I told Gerard. "Haven't you realized there are a ton more rules here? Just wait until they start making you pay for your own copy paper or ink cartridges."


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