Back to Kindergarten by Rhianon

German kids don't start school till about age 6 so we've had to put ds1 back into nursery for a year (hopefully not two...). Great stroke of luck that there's a bilingual nursery on campus right next to dp's lab. Even greater luck that ds1 became utterly besotted with this teacher when he met her during an open day in July. For weeks he's been asking if she'd be pleased if he told her he loves her and now he's too shy even to say 'hello'!
Here's how it works: there are always at least two teachers, one of whom will always speak to you in German, the other in English. The rest of the (all German-speaking) kids are utterly freaked out by English speaker Katherine, but ds1 just looks utterly bemused when the others chatter on in German, like it's a kind of game he hasn't got the rules to, yet. My heart bleeds for him.
I guess what's weird for both of us is that ds1's effectively gone back a year: the preschool he went to last year encouraged independence and followed the basic preparatory curriculum. Now he has to tell someone he's going to the toilet again and the emphasis is more on learning social skills than formal learning. He says it's strange that he has to tell someone he's going to use the toilet and I can't help this nagging, pushy-mother feeling that this might be just a tiny bit of a waste of his time... except that he'll learn German. Hummm.
His baby brother's going to the same nursery, which I think is terrific. The settling in process is dazzlingly thorough, compared to the three days of conditioning we had for ds1 at his old, British nursery: the first week I just go in with him for the morning, the next week I go in with him until lunchtime, and then maybe in week three, I can begin to leave him for an hour or so between half nine and midday. Gulp. This is the standard way they do it for babies, and what kind of a mum do I look like if I say 'no, really, just call me if he's beside himself!'?
I guess it would be easier if me and dp were sharing the load, but he's off on a boat for these crucial first few weeks and I'm in survival mode: something odd and unexpected happens about once an hour. I can't remember anyone's bloody name, the German rubbish system has me utterly in a tiz, I can't find anything equivalent to nappy sacks AND we've run out of Marmite. Would be worse if Grandma hadn't posted us tea bags. I'm too old for all this fun. Hurumpf.

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