Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fly my Pretty!

My daughter was in a huge tis this morning. She had forgotten to do some homework. I have a bad memory but I was fairly certain I had sat with her, painfully unpicking what she had to do for Maths (Math if you are American) I remember because I had to look up isoceles in the dictionary. It wasn't there because I have an English dictionary. They miss out an extra c here. (isosceles) Surplus to requirements I guess. She struggles with maths. There is a Mathnasium nearby where 'math is fun'. Having a quirky play on words doesn't make it fun! I noticed one of these homework type places in Sainsbury's when I was at home last month. When will we learn to stop taking silly ideas from America that don't translate to Britain? It was empty! Shop while your kids do mathnasuium exercise! NO! Get them to look at weights and measures on the things you buy and work out if the BOGOF offers are good (they never are).  I also heard her reading (out loud) before she went to sleep last night. It turns out she hadn't done homework from the day before and there was a note from the teacher. She had forgotten because we, that is me, my daughter and my neighbour's girls baked bread. They had a great time and learned something.  Not enough for teacher.
When we moved here voices of wisdom would tell us: Hubby would settle, the kids would love it and I would be a nightmare. Well that goes without saying but actually it is me and my son who are fine. my Daughter struggles and hubby absolutely hates it. Given it is Hubby's 'fault' we are here I don't worry for him but I do worry about my daughter all the time. She is desperate to fit in and in American company puts on a grating American accent. Sometimes she falters because she'll come across a word she can't get her fake accent around. Sometimes her choice of words give her away. She came home very upset when the whole class had laughed at her for asking for a rubber. The teacher had exacerbated the situation by asking 3 times to repeat what she wanted. It took another British girl who has been here 4 months longer to explain, much to the relief of the teacher,  that my daughter wanted an eraser and not contraception!
She told some stories when we first arrived - not because she is manipulative or mean but because she is 8 and wanted friends. They were ridiculous stories. She told some neighbours a friend of hers in England had a shopping Mall in her house because it was so big. She also told them we had kittens in the garage as a surprise for my birthday. The girls asked me when my birthday was. It is in January - it was July. They gave those knowing sidewards glances at each other and smirked at my daughter. They knew she was lying. They were offended and didn't want to be around a liar. I'm sure they found solace and comfort from God in Church that Sunday. My daughter cried for days and tried to take comfort from her mother's arms while I wondered where I could get some kittens from! They later told her they forgave her. God had done his work!
School has been tough for her. It was my niece she finally confided in that she was being bullied by one girl. She had been given a choice - clean the toilet or steal from the teacher's desk. She chose the toilet. I was outraged but had a reassuring note from the teacher that the principal would speak to the girls as would the counsellor. Great! Lets have some circle time and all be friends again... swap cleaning tips! The school here is massive. The equivalent of a British first school or Primary, it has over 950 students and between a 6 and 8 form entry. They have to stagger lunch from 10 am til 2pm. It is as big as most secondary schools I have worked in.
In England I never worried about her at school. By accident more than design she went to a private 3-16 girls school (that took boys until they were 7 - it was 9 before they met my son!). There were ten girls in her class. Ten girls in the whole year. She had gone there for nursery since she was 2. We tried to send her to the local school but I fretted - I didn't know anyone. I wasn't a mom on the gate. She fretted too. Within 6 weeks she was back in the girls school. I knew everyone and my little girl was back to her bubbly self within 24 hours. When we went back for a pre-Christmas visit she went to her old school Christmas party. Her bezzies Mom got her a ticket. All the girls welcomed her and were so happy to see her. She had a lovely time. A reflection of her former bubbly self for a short time.
I feel like a stranger in a strange land all of the time. I can't imagine what it feels like for an 8 year old but, when I get worrying glimpses like today, it is hard to balance the rationale that it will be a great experience for the kids and give them a better and wider perspective on the world with my urge to get the next flight out of here!


  1. I just don't know what to say. That made me cry. All i want to do now is give my grandaughter a big hug and kiss. I can imagine just how hard it is for her and equally how hard it is for you.xx

  2. All im gonna say is it could happen anywhere! Not nice wherever it happens, but it happens here too x