Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Don't Mean To Complain But ...

Enough with the relentless sunshine.

DayWeatherMax. DayTemperature
Min. NightTemperature
Wind Direction and Speed
Clear Sky
Clear Sky
16South Easterly759%N/AVery goodMore info for Thursday's weather
FriDay weather
2916South Easterly934%1022mbVery goodMore info for Friday's weather
SatDay weather
2915South Easterly849%1022mbGoodMore info for Saturday's weather
SunDay weather
2913East South Easterly639%1024mbVery goodMore info for Sunday's weather
MonDay weather
2815North North Westerly437%1024mbVery good

I am ready for some nice fall weather. Connell thinks I'm not going to get much sympathy here, especially from the Irish followers.

We have rented a car for the weekend to get in a bit more beach time but then enough is enough, 20 degrees please.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pardon Me?

Monday is Ailbhe's home for lunch day. When I went to pick her up, the man teacher (she is still calling him that) helped her get her bike out, and then jumped on and biked out the door. Ailbhe thought it was hilarious. At dinner I asked her if she had told Daddy what the man teacher had done today. She gave a little giggle and then said "Daddy, today the man teacher locked two kids in the closet". Pardon me! Not what I was referring to!

After we interrogated her, it was clear that the man teacher and kids were just playing.

Beach Day

There are many benefits to living in the south of France, beach days at the end of September for one!

Finian's Progress

In the last two weeks Finian has seen both his orthopedic surgeon and pediatrician. The orthopedic surgeon was happy with his feet, he thinks that his muscles are still weak but that he is making progress. The pediatrician was also happy with his progress but is now concerned about his weight gain, or more accurately, lack thereof. Since his last appointment in June, Finian hasn't gained any weight. Not a big surprise, since he hasn't really eaten much since he was sick in August.

In the past week, his eating has improved. He's still not a fan of breakfast but will generally eat something at both lunch and dinner. He loves toasted cheese sandwiches, pizza, and quiche. He scorns anything on a spoon. I just keep offering him food regularly throughout the day and try not to get stressed about it.

He is getting closer to crawling and can manage to pull himself across the floor if there is something really tempting in his sight, like marbles. He is babbling loudly now.

Even though the doctors say that his muscles are weak, Finian actually has a good throw. On Wednesday, Finian, Ailbhe, and I were on our way home on the tram. Finian was playing happily with his rattle but I guess he was finished with that game because he suddenly flung it across the tram. He shoots, he scores - straight into a man's bag (unnoticed by the man). It took a bit of explaining but eventually I got the rattle back.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Be Careful What You Listen To!

This morning, I was listening to this Glee song on Youtube.

Fiacra and Ailbhe were playing together and didn't seem to be paying much attention to the music, until Sue Sylvester walks in and shouts "SHUT UP". Their heads snapped up in shocked silence. Eventually Fiacra said "WHAT was THAT?".

It's a catchy song and I was singing it awhile later, "I'm kinda busy, I'm kinda busy". Fiacra shouts out "SHUT UP". My shocked silence this time. "But Mum it's part of the song". Yeah - I think we're done with this song.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Budding Mad Scientist

We saw a video about this and gave it a try.


Fiacra, Ailbhe and I went to a decathlon and a heptathlon that were in town this weekend. It was right by our local pool, so we were able to ride our bikes. It ran over Saturday and Sunday, and was a lot of fun.

The most exciting thing to watch was the pole vault. Here is someone's second try at 4.40 meters.

By 5.00 meters, most of them were out of it. At 5.10 meters, there were only two guys left. One guy made it on his third try, but the other guy didn't get through. When they moved on to 5.20 meters, the guy missed on his first try. Then a new guy came out. He had declined to jump each of the earlier heights, and was only joining in now. He made it on his first try. This was a complete shocker for me! He might just as well have parachuted in.

He kept going. Here is his last successful jump, which was 5.40 meters.

It was pretty cool.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

La Rentrée - Week Two

The kids had another good week at school. Fiacra likes his teacher, she is strict but not as strict as his teacher from last year. We joke with him that he will never again have a teacher that strict. Even if all the kids in his class are complaining about a teacher, he will be able to say "you think that's bad!!! Let me tell you about my CP teacher." He loves it.

Fiacra is getting homework now, generally reading some paragraphs of a poem and spelling. We have to push him a bit to do it. He's just not interested and let's face it, spelling??? It's just not that interesting. He has said, "why do I need to learn to spell? When I invent the way to detect the Higgs boson, I'll be a millionaire". I explain that he will have to write up his methods in order to publish it, (and so become a millionaire and buy me a holiday home in the south of France). His answer "Ailbhe will be in charge of all the writing. AILBHE - have you done your reading practise today?"

Ailbhe, on the other hand, is such a keener. She loves to practise her reading and she insists I give her writing practise everyday.

Fiacra started Multisports on Wednesday afternoon. It runs from 1:30 to 5pm. A bus picks them up outside his school at 1:15 and drops them off again at 5:15. A snack is provided. The cost for the year? 140 Euros, pretty good! He was a bit hesitant to go at first but of course loved it. Some of his friends from school are also doing it. This week they did sprinting and ultimate frisbee. He is already looking forward to next week.

Fiacra also started weekly swimming with his class on Friday afternoon. What a great way to end the school week.

Finian and I had a good week. He had a doctor's appointment on Thursday morning. We were a bit early so we wandered a bit before going to the doctor's office. We came across a thrift store which I was interested in because we will have lots of stuff for donation when we leave, and we haven't found a charity drop-off yet. There were lots of old ladies sorting clothes and they were cuckooing at Finian ("Cuckoo" is the standard French way to greet a baby). They asked where we were from, I said I was Irish and then that Finian was Canadian. The cuckooing increased tenfold. Is a Canadian baby that much more interesting than an Irish baby? Apparently yes!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gate Climbing

On Saturday, the main park in town had displays from all of the activities and clubs in which you could register your kids (or yourself) for the year. The kids saw a mobile climbing wall and wanted to try it.  After a long wait, the kids were strapped into harnesses, had put on helmets and were starting to climb.  Moments later, we were done and on our way.

The next day, the kids decided to try it at home.  Safety gear included:
- a belt and rope to use as a harness,
- an air mattress in case of falls,
- helmets in case of rock slides,
- a chest plate in case of barbarian attacks (common enough at our house).

 Putting on the gear

She's on her way

Every climber needs a partner to work the ropes 

Friday, September 9, 2011

La Rentrée - Week One

Fiacra and Ailbhe have finished their first week back to school, Fiacra in CE1 (cours élémentaire 1) and Ailbhe in la grande section. They both had a great week. We haven't fully adjusted sleep-wise to the school schedule yet. Fiacra and Ailbhe didn't fall asleep before 9 any night this week, which then meant that we had to wake Fiacra each morning. This morning when I woke him at 8 (school starts at 9), he said "thanks for waking me Mum, but I'm actually still tired so I'm going to sleep more". I don't think so buddy!

Last year, Ailbhe's teacher was also the principal of the school and Ailbhe always referred to her as "My teacher, the principal". This year Ailbhe's teacher is a guy and she calls him "the man teacher". Ailbhe's class will start to write in script handwriting this year. Ailbhe is very keen and has been practising.

There are definite curriculum differences between France and Canada for Fiacra's age, script handwriting for one. Another that I have particularly noticed is the lack of creative writing in France. I don't think I've seen a single sentence that Fiacra constructed himself. They do read a lot of poetry here which is great but even in JK in Canada, Fiacra's class was drawing pictures and attempting to write a sentence underneath to describe it. I think Fiacra, who has never been a fan of reading or writing by himself, will get a shock when he returns to school in Canada.

It's a bit inconvenient having Fiacra and Ailbhe at different schools. We did have the option of moving Ailbhe to the Ecole Maternelle beside Fiacra's school this year, but she loves her school so in the end we decided not to change her. Finian and I always walk Fiacra to school, while Connell and Ailbhe bike. I really like the time alone with Fiacra. Connell feels the same.

The kids were off school on Wednesday. We went to Finian's doctor in the morning to get medical certificates for Fiacra and Ailbhe, which they need for their Wednesday sports programs, as well as for swimming with their schools. This was their first time to see a doctor in France. In the afternoon, the kids and I biked to the pool in the rain, with surprisingly little complaining.

Today, Connell and I (and Finian) had our first Friday lunch since the beginning of the summer; it was delicious as usual. It was really hot this afternoon, so after lunch, Finian and I went to the water mirror to cool down.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

False Accusations

This morning, Fiacra and Ailbhe were packing for battle. Fiacra ran up to his room to grab something. Fiacra, always the drama queen, yelled down "Mum, Mum, I've been robbed". I knew straight away what he was referring to. I couldn't find my purse yesterday so I borrowed 25 Euros from his wallet, and I had forgotten to replace it.

I went up to explain to him. His response, "Now I've got to tell Ailbhe about all the thieving you've done."

"AILBHE, bad news, Mum's a thief."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You've Got Mail

Look at what we have gotten in the mail recently.

Ninja cookie cutters

Starbucks Via Coffee

The ninja cookie cutters were a birthday present for Fiacra from the Bulmers. The Via coffee was a gift from Trish. Thanks friends, you know us well.

Monday, September 5, 2011

La Rentrée

Starting back to school in September is known as La Rentrée in France. When I dropped Fiacra off at school this morning, there were lots of parents and grandparents at the school all wishing "Bonne Rentrée" to their kids as they went in.

Our usual alarm clock, Finian, slept in this morning, after being awake A LOT during the night. Luckily, we have a back-up alarm clock. Ailbhe woke me just after 8. It was a bit of a rush but both Fiacra and Ailbhe got to school on time.

This term, Ailbhe will come home for lunch on a Monday and Fiacra will come home on a Tuesday. They'll both stay for lunch the other 3 days. There is no school on Wednesdays, kids typically do extracurricular activities then. All activities begin in September and run for the full year. When we arrived in January, we weren't able to register the kids for anything. Today I registered Ailbhe for "Eveil Corporel" and Fiacra for "Multisports". 

I'm not exactly sure what "Eveil Corporel" is, but know that it's some sort of physical activity for young kids. It runs for an hour on Wednesday mornings. Multisports introduces the kids to 7 sports over the course of the year, it goes from 1:30 to 5 on Wednesday afternoons. Both programs are run by the Mairie (city council).

Fiacra and Ailbhe both had a great day at school today. Fiacra is in the same class as his good friend from last year which he is happy about. He declared his school lunch today to be really delicious.

Bonne Rentrée Canada!