Saturday, April 4, 2009

This week

Well, we knew this was bound to happen.  Our luck finally ran out with Griffin and poop.

Monday morning I got a call that he was sick – I headed over to school and found him alone, crying, in the bathroom – poop in his pants. I mean, I know he stinks and all – but it just seems absolutely cruel to leave a 3 year old all alone and crying for 15 minutes just because he pooped outside the toilet.

He claims he asked them to take him to the potty and they said wait and then when he said he couldn’t, they said to go all alone.  Well, he hates to be lonely so he chose to poop in his pants instead.  There are two things to know about Griffin – he can’t wait and he doesn’t want to be alone!  Well, when I asked them about what happened, they said he was lying and he never said anything – that they would have taken him since they don’t want a mess/problem etc…. So, I don’t know what happened.  I had him practice asking with Cecile this week.  It is very frustrating. His teacher was really mad and talking about what a big problem this is etc…. etc…. I spent some time thinking about it and, the reality is, since coming back to school after the new year, he has had only one other poop accident (Feb 12th) and has had no diapers in school since the end of the February break with no accidents.  I think 2 times in 3 months is annoying, yes – but not a HUGE problem – couldn’t they be a bit more kind?  And really, the way they handle it is not at all labor intensive – they give me a call and then stick him, alone and crying, in the hallway or another room – until I show up – how hard is that? It’s not like they clean him up or lose a staff member to stay with him in his misery (heaven forbid).  I really wonder how they would treat a child that puked two times in 3 months and their mom had to come and take them home – would they stick that child alone in a room too? No wonder the kid doesn’t like school. I wish they would be a bit more sensitive to his intestinal issues due to his intolerances.  You’d think they could try to understand how difficult it is for him to make it to the potty with poop.  He truly does try – but only makes it about 2/3 of the time.  They keep asking me if he’s sick – and I tell them that, yes, his allergies make his poop always runny and sick – he can’t hold it – but I don’t think they believe me.  The thing is, even if you think this is all my fault (although why they think I would encourage him to poop in his pants I have no idea) why would you take your annoyance at a parent out on the child?  Be mean to me, go right ahead, but don’t abandon a crying 3 year old.  I suppose they think they are being super gracious, just allowing him to stay in school at all.  I sent him back the rest of the week, with no incidents. His best friend, Julia, seems to be on vacation or sick though so that is making him sad – hope she returns next week! 

In other news, Zander is starting to do his own homework – he has been getting bad marks for not doing it so he has really been trying.  When he tries, it is pretty easy for him.  He seems to want his teacher to be proud of him – so that is good.  We have hit on a new trick for controlling his rages - drag him outside in the courtyard for the neighbors to see.  Sobers him right up and our belongings and persons remain uninjured. Probably won’t last long, but I’m glad for now to have an effective way to protect myself! He has a new partner (person who shares a long desk) at school that he is getting along with, which is nice. He also did great work with Cecile this week.  Haven’t heard back yet from counselors – so we’ll wait some more.  But, all in all, a good week for Zan.

Callie is her usual chipper self.  The latest is that she’s decided that she no longer needs a night light – although the boys still want it – a bit of a problem when they all share a room – we are still brainstorming on that one. Also, for whatever reason, no one wanted to play with her one morning this week (I think this has never happened to little miss popular before) and she was absolutely inconsolable.  Luckily, things turned around by the afternoon…. One other day this week she (and 2 others) were feeling sick in the morning – unfortunately I was running errands in Centre Ville and (since I don’t have a car) it took me almost an hour to get to her.  At lunch, Dad asked her if it was hard to wait… conversation below

C: Well, at first Riahan and Sofian were with me, but their moms came and took them home.

D:  Oh, and you had to wait?

C: Yeah, well, their moms just sit home and read books all day, while the kids are in school. So it was easy for them.  They just jumped in their cars and came right over.

D: And what does your mommie do while you are at school?

C: Works!

D: Well, why don’t the other mommies work?

C: They do all their work in the early morning, while the kids are still sleeping.  That’s how they can lie around all day reading the rest of the time. You should try it, Mom!

Zander then jumped in, informing us that it is different in France – they do all their cooking for the whole week in 2 days – then eat leftovers – that way there isn’t so much work.  He then said “You could try it the French way, mom, if you want.”  Always nice to know I have options.


I went to yoga on Tuesday – the teacher seems to be ramping up the curriculum a bit to suit me more – this week we did shoulder stand AND downward dog.  (I should say I did them – the others just watched – which is a bit disconcerting for me) She wants to know what kind of yoga I practiced in the US – I have no particular type that I was dedicated to – I have done hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, pre-natal yoga, water yoga, hot yoga, iyenger yoga – whatever classes were taught at the gym, I took them – some were vigorous, some were stretching, some teachers wanted flow, others holding poses, some emphasized breathing, others didn’t.  So, whatever!  I liked it all and actually liked the mixture of styles – kept me in well rounded workouts. The French teacher seemed mystified by this and kept asking which was my favorite.  Well, I can’t even keep straight which is which, mostly, so I couldn’t really answer that.  I like sun salutations???

I returned to riding this week.  Each week I have a different mount – this one’s name was Hirma.  Hirma was NOT too happy about being groomed, saddled and bridled for the lesson. Since Andre’ can’t get home before 6 and I have to be at the stables by 5:30 to get my horse ready for class, the kids come with me to watch the preparations until Andre’ can pick them up.  Zander has become increasingly interested in horses and, earlier this week, told me he wanted lessons as well.  He also wanted to help me groom my horse.  I am thrilled that something in France might catch his interest so I told him no problem…  UNTIL I started taking care of Hirma – who laid her ears back, bared her teeth and generally was pretty pissed off!  I told the kids to stay out and I managed to get her all set up (even put the bridle on solo – thank you) and once she was all set, she resigned herself to her fate and was a great horse.  Andre’ got there and the kids immediately informed him I had a ‘mean’ horse.  I tried to explain that she wasn’t mean, just maybe feeling a bit lazy and not wanting me to interrupt her hay eating.  They may have bought that if I didn’t end up with a sprained thumb later that night.  Let me explain.  Our instructor (you all remember The Maimer, I’m sure) is still working hard on having us find our seat – or keep our balance on the horse. This way if you drop a stirrup or lose your reins, you don’t fall off.  I do pretty well at this and I actually find it fun – it is much more similar to Western style than English – you just relax with the horse instead of all the upright posture stuff.  I am having such a hard time with holding the reins at the correct tautness and height.  However, Hirma decided, for whatever reason, to stop cantering and start trotting while I was on her back, with (as per my instruction) no hand touching her and no feet in stirrups.  I guess I haven’t found my seat yet since I promptly fell off – and jammed my thumb.  I got right back on and started galloping around again (yes, with no stirrups, but I did keep one hand on the saddle)The instructor informed me I am now obligated to bring a gateau (treat) to all my classmates  next week.  To atone for my sins, I suppose.

I guess the last thing that I spent lots of time on this week was getting a mini_DSC07408package together for the 2nd birthday of my niece, Livi.  Zander and I worked together to make her a purple fur stuffed snake.  See, we really are putting all that fake fur to good use!  I really enjoyed making it for her – hope it gets there by the big day.

We went out to dinner Thursday night at Severine’s house and we got to meet an Irish friend of Severines, Aoifa (pronounced Eefa – that’s Celtic for you) and her beau, Cedric.  She has been in Besancon, on and off, for 4 years and speaks excellent French, with an Irish accent which is a bit disconcerting!  Because of me, during the entire dinner, everyone spoke English for the most part – a first since we’ve been here and fun.  The food was excellent too.  I just can’t get used to the lateness of the French dinner stuff, though.  We didn’t start eating until about 9:30 and we had to leave for our babysitter at around 11:30 – which meant rushing through dessert.  I was so tired by the end I’m not sure I made much sense in the conversation and I felt sick going to bed with so much food in my tummy.

So, we all know that Andre’s carte de sejour (green card) has been held up since we moved here.  The reason for this?  He took my name 10 years ago.  We were waiting, interminably, for the word from the French Foreign Minister.  Well, I guess he finally cleaned out his inbox since word came that the carte de sejour is officially….. still not approved (did I get you?).  He doesn’t know if the name change was legal, so he can’t approve the carte.  So, this means we have to pay a US lawyer $270.00 to write a legal document supporting the fact that his name is, legally, Dhondt.  Once they get this, I suppose he might get the carte.  Of course, this means that we still don’t get our full family health benefits, money from the government etc, etc…. until it is all worked out.  Oh, and the lawyer is having Andre’ translate French documents for him so he can understand what it is they need.  I just hope the document proves us right!  At first, we didn’t understand WHY we needed to pay the lawyer for a document, I mean, besides the fact that he has been doing everything in this name for over 10 years, Pennsylvania passed the ERA so it should mean it’s legal, right?  Can’t he just say that over the phone or in an email and be done? (This is the logic we used, successfully, to change his name on the driver’s license, social security card, etc… 10 years ago)  Well, the lawyer says that although PA has the ERA that doesn’t mean Pennsylvanians have Equal Rights under the law for different groups of people (um… then why did they name it that?)  If it meant that, then gay marriage would automatically be legal in PA, which it isn’t.  So, I think that means that Andre’ may have been blatantly breaking the law all these years.  Remember, just because he didn’t KNOW he was doing something illegal, doesn’t mean he isn’t guilty.  What is the penalty for illegal name change?  Do you think they’ll extradite him for prosecution?

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