Monday, January 5, 2009

The beginnng of the petit vacances

Monday and Tuesday the kids and I spent lots of time together - we went grocery shopping, read books, played outside and just generally had a good time. On Tuesday afternoon Griffin had his first ever playdate - with his school friend Julia. I dropped him off, then Callie and Zander and I headed down to the local community center (we call it the Blue House) to catch a marrionnette show put on for free for the community. It was a very interesting experience, the kids loved it although they still had a hard time understanding it, as did I. I saw Olivier's kids there, as well as Griffin's teacher and a few other parents from the school that I recognized. I guess we are slowly starting to become a part of the Besançon community - strange. The puppet show was really neat - the puppets were amazing. They had one main puppet with lots of stereotypical side kicks that did dances - the ballerina, the can can dancer, the rapper etc... and a funny muppet-like creature (her theme song was the muppet show music) that kept sneaking out and doing 'bad' things. The kids in France are very into audience participation - they were so excited and were often (no exaggeration) screaming messages at the main puppet to let him know what the 'bad' puppet was up to. After the show Père Noel came for a visit. Here is an interesting cultural difference. First off, Père Noel is everywhere. In the mall, at the school, at the community center - and is always carrying a basket of free candy. He is NOT locked behind a gate while people wait in long lines to see him. When Père Noel makes scheduled public appearances before groups of kids and is about to appear (this has happened 2 or 3 times so I know it is a common practice) all the kids have to chant, screaming, louder and louder "Père Noel, Père Noel, Père Noel, PERE NOEL" until some gods decide the force of the chant can allow him to appear (perhaps directly from the North Pole?). Well, he does appear after the puppet show, and gives out lots of christmas crackers (chocolates with little snappy fireworks wrapped up next to them) We also all got hot chocolate and little cakes. It was a perfect afternoon activity. Griffin did well on his first playdate, no poop and made some beautiful art--all was well and hopefully Julia can come visit our house sometime. I can't wait for André to be off for 11 days....

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