Monthly Archives: August 2012

This is our street! !!!


Two tee-tiny street cars! So cute! (Ignore the digger, that’s probably temporary. Also not itsy-cute.

In which I am alone. And it is weird.

The Sniglet’s in the Willage with his grandparents, for reasons stated elsewhere.

Ignatz is in Prague with his godfather, for reasons of touristy vacation fabulousness which he will totally not appreciate it should be ME in Prague, dammit! Except I’d be hanging out with the godfather, and um, no. We try to be civil, but we will never be BFFs.

And DrBob is in Portugal, learning Portuguese. Because he’s a professor of Latin American Literature, and it turns out, there are parts of Latin America where Spanish isn’t spoken! Some obscure little corner called, um, Zabil? Bizzle? Whatever. He’s been saying “Gah! I should learn Portuguese!” for oh, about ten years now, which means that I’ve been saying “You know, if you’d started studying it back when you started complaining about not knowing it, you’d be fluent by now” for about five years. I guess he got tired of hearing me say the same thing over and over. (I have no idea what that would be like…)

Oh, and Lilu? Well, it’s summer so she spends all her time outside, except once a day when she comes in to take a very noisy bath, or curl up on my lap for a long snooze just when I’m thinking that I kind of have to pee.

All of this means that I have the house to myself, which yay! Clean, swoosh, declutter, organize! But also I have no routine and no job to go to and no clear sense of what day it is, and by the time DrBob had been gone for three hours I was talking to myself in my normal tone of voice instead of my usual whisper-mumble. At this point I’m probably shouting to myself in another room, “HEY, COULD YOU COME HERE FOR A SEC – whoa, that was quick,” but I wouldn’t know, since I have no one to feed back on what constitutes normal behavior.

I’ll be joining him in Lisbon on Thursday night. Let’s hope I’m not permanently psychologically altered by then. I’ll try to take pictures, and even try to post them! But I still have the photos I took when we went to Würzburg for our anniversary last month, and you haven’t seen those yet, so, you know. Set your expectations accordingly.

Song du jour of the day: I’m bringing back a recent choice, because I found a much better video for it, one that fills my little heart with all kinds of geek squee: Starships, music by Nikki Minaj, video by my new hero, Bironic. (Ahem. The password is “starships”, no quotes.)

I’m sorry, did you say “Boarding School”?

Well, er, yes. Yes I did.

Of course, DrBob called the Dorfen school first, because it’s across the street from our house, and they immediately said no. Because they’re douchewagons, something we kind of already knew. So then he found a couple of the middle-level schools (here’s a description of the system by the Bavarian Ministry of Education, if you’re confused) in other towns (so, school bus, yuck), and they seemed welcoming enough, but we felt a little bit meh about them. Then we went to dinner at some friends’ house and they recommended (ulp) this boarding school south of Munich.

Well. The She of the family is a lovely, lovely woman and a good friend, but she is also a total hovermom who would be on serious medication for her panic disorder if she weren’t in Germany, so if she was able to consider this place for her kid, it must be pretty nurtury and unthreatening. And the He of the family is a colleague of DrBob’s, and wouldn’t even have looked at this place if it wasn’t academically sound. So it must be good, right, because they have way higher standards than we do. And we visited it, and it’s really quite spiffy and located in the super-‘spensive southern suburb-type willages of Bavaria;  people move there because Munich is just too affordable. It’s in a beautiful setting and the people seemed serious and concerned and capable, and we talked fast enough to convince them to give the Snig a shot.

Because here’s the thing. When the Oompas agreed to kennel him until we could move down there, Oma made all the right noises about being the grown-up and making him eat vegetables and do his homework (nobody has any hope for Opa, so we didn’t even ask) but when we were there everybody fell into the same old patterns.

Moreover, Opa is getting older, and Oma was in the hospital right before we went down to visit. They didn’t fix whatever was wrong, she just got bored and checked herself out, so um. Even though they assured us the Snig could live with them, no problem, in practice, well… we have concerns. And in fact when we floated the boarding school idea they did seem to seize on it with something like relief.

And here’s the other thing. I cannot make my kids do homework, I just can’t. They always find some way to weasel out of it. I’ve tried. I’ve failed. It’s time to try something else, and this school will assign homework and the person who supervises will know what’s been assigned and will make sure the kids have the time to get the work done and if he forgets his assignment book he can just go to his room and get it and no weaselling will be allowed.

And, here’s another thing: there was a boarding school for Ignatzes, back when we were in Germany and Ignatz was… being all ADHD. And we didn’t send him there because I wasn’t ready to miss my kid so much. I figured we’d just muddle through somehow, and that was a mistake. He is not doing well by any rational assessment, and if there’s a way to prevent the Sniglet from going down that road, then we have to try it.

So, yeah. I’m trying to convince the Sniglet that it’s just like Hogwarts? Only without, you know, giant snakes in the pipes and evil notebooks.

We went to Bavaria for two weeks in July…

… and I didn’t get a lot of visiting done because I didn’t take any vacation days because the company has an office in Munich so I took my work laptop and went to a fair bit of trouble and expense to go to the city almost every day to do my job, which was kind of stupid, in hindsight.

Anyway. Ack, where should I start? Let’s start with the Sniglet. As you may recall, I was NOT happy with his first school – you know, where they help foreign kids integrate by making sure they don’t interact with any actual Dutch children for at least a year? Yeah, that one. They finally ran out of excuses to hang onto him, and we got him into a real school, with Dutch children and Dutch teachers who did mention that the integration-school thing wasn’t really a requirement and we probably should have gotten a second opinion. Argh.

But it was a pretty good school, and he had a good time and made friends and all that, but… well… um… if you’re used to Bavaria, the standard of education is not what you’d call rigorous. Frinstance, his teacher did sort of casually mention that the Sniglet hadn’t been doing his homework for the last few weeks – about a week before the school year ended. Huh? I mean, what do you expect me to do about it now? Which shows how much I’ve changed, doesn’t it? Because the German teachers were all over that $#!%, and at the time, my line was, “You’re the teacher, not me. Figure something out.”

Stop looking at me like that. Consistency is for the gainfully employed.

Where was I? Oh, right. So um, Snig really missed Germany, and we kind of felt he was losing out academically, and his German is really slipping, and… we have other reasons, which I will probably address in other posts, for wanting to return to Germany, so we floated the idea to him and he was VERY keen. But we can’t move yet.

But he really shouldn’t do another school year here, because by German standards, he’s well behind his agemates, and after another year here, he’d be even behind-er: see, he’s headed into 8th grade, which is the last year of primary school in the Netherlands, and it’s ALL about testing into  secondary school. The Dutch themselves admit that there is little or no real academic work done in that year, just the CITO test. Which, fair enough – it’s really important to get into the right secondary school (which I don’t mean in the snobby way, it’s just that there are a skillion options and it’s important to find the one that best suits your kid’s personality and needs, and make sure he meets their requirements, which I don’t know what those would be because all the homework I’ve seen was laughably easy but whatever), but he’s not going to a Dutch secondary school. He’s going to a German one, eventually, and the more time he loses, the rougher that transition will be.

So, he’s there, with the Oompas, and in September he’ll start as a fifth grader. At a boarding school.

Um, ack?

Song du jour of the day: The Hogwarts School Song

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog…

I was thinking I’d post weekly, and the next entry was going to be the photos and not-much-of-a-travelogue from our trip to Bavaria, about how we left the Sniglet down there and brought Ignatz back, and all about why we were leaving the Sniglet there, and it was all going to be several entries’ worth. But then I went to work on Monday morning (that’d be July 30th) and the first thing on the agenda was a meeting whose purpose was to announce the company wide restructuring that has led to the elimination of my job.

Yeah. I lost my job. Which doesn’t change any of the things that happened beforehand, but it changes how I feel about them, and how much I want to write about them.

Not much. Not now.