Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New form of parental cruelty revealed: refusal to let children mop

It's a laugh a minute with this one...

Noah: I did a lot of work on the computer.
Me: Oh, you did? Are you going to make a lot of money?
Noah: Yes. And Daddy doesn't want.
Me: Daddy doesn't want you to work?
Noah: No.
Me: He doesn't want you to work and make a lot of money?
Noah: No, he doesn't.
Me: Well, that is because he wants you to be poor so you will live with us. If you were rich, you would buy your own house, and not live with us.
Noah: That is what I want.
Me: You do? You don't want to live with us?
Noah: No. Because if I had my own house then I could do the ménage [housework].  Because here you don't let me mop the floor.

I guess we need to start some chore charts or something. Or we could just let him get a job and get his own house. He spends his free time looking online for houses for sale. And I am not making that up. He is pretty sure that he can buy one with the money in his piggy bank.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Outsmarted by a Six-Year-Old

Noah has figured out that in 4-year-old preschool, there is more work and less play than in 3-year-old preschool. As a result, he's been giving us a hard time about going back to school after lunch, and saying that he wants to stay home.

Today, I was explaining to him that if he stayed home, he'd have to take a nap all afternoon, and there would be no playing. Whereas if he went to school, he'd have to work some, but he would also get to play some, at least at recess.

I said, "If I were you, I'd go to school, so I could play at recess."

Benjamin interrupted, "No, Mommy, if you were Noah, you would have Noah's brain, and you would not want to go to school."

Sigh. They are smarter than me already.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Village Scavenger Hunt

For the past six or eight years, our village events committee has hosted a scavenger hunt. This was the first year we were able to participate. Our friends came from Paris to join in the fun.

The theme this year was "pirates", so the hidden envelopes we had to find had our team's pirate-themed stamp on them (a pirate hat for our team, a treasure chest for Benjamin's team).

To Benjamin's immense surprise and joy, his best friend Léa showed up. He was extremely disappointed when she wasn't in school this year, since she is moving, so he was thrilled to see her here. Her mom agreed to take Benjamin with them, so he got to spend the entire day with Léa. ( Lea is next to Benjamin in the pink and white baseball cap.)

We had another surprise in the form of a parade of classic cars through our village. Puiseux was a stop on the circuit before they got to the car show in Villers-Cotterêts. So several groups of classic cars (and their drivers) came through, and we took pictures of most of them.

More came through as we were looking, unsuccessfully, for more clues by the bridge.

At one point, we took an entirely fruitless walk through the forest looking for a "cave" which turned out to be not on this path at all. We tried a different path as well, but didn't find it there, either.

And while Manu and Rose Mary climbed a hill looking for a house with blue shutters - or perhaps formerly blue shutters that were recently painted burgundy, how's that for tricky? - their girls and Noah posed for photos for me at the bottom of the hill.

Our village is so cute! (And one of those may be the house with formerly blue shutters. Or not. At any rate, we did not find a hidden surprise package there.)

At one point, our neighbor, who organized the scavenger hunt, took pity on us (again, actually; she took pity on us the first time when we were still in the center of the village) and told us to go up to the water tower to find some tokens we were looking for. Look how far that is! It's that tiny building at the end of the road in this picture! 
We got all the way there, and found.... nothing. That was when Léa's mom called me, saying they were leaving, so I came back down to get Benjamin, and we waited around til the other players returned so we could count up everyone's score. We did not win... in fact, we might have been the very last ones, score-wise, but we had a great time.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Rocket's Red Glare

Pretty sure that Frédéric won the "coolest dad" award with this afternoon's project... soda bottle water rockets. AKA Project "Power washers: Not Just for Power Washing." Maybe they ought to use this in their ads.

Benjamin the Artist

made a "dinosaur sculpture" today.

It's an interactive piece, where you get to pretend to be a dinosaur as part of the sculpture.

And the return of.... the Spider Brigade?

I'm not actually sure if this is the Spider Brigade, all grown up, or whether it's more of a Parent Brigade, to keep us from coming in to check on him. Perhaps it's a multifunction brigade. At any rate, Benjamin was very well protected last night.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Return of Child Labor

Frédéric finally got around to cleaning out under the car-wood-and-random-stuffport this week, so that we can have our firewood delivered before (hopefully) it gets too cold. He powerwashed, and then had some help finishing up.

They still think I'm "mean" when I don't let them do dishes, or sweep, or mop, or whatever. I guess I need to start letting them while they still think it's a fun thing to do.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

La Rentrée !

Between Frédéric, the kids, and me, I'm not sure who was most ready for school to start. I think we were all pretty excited about it.

Noah is starting second year preschool, which is full day and no naptime (Noah is thrilled about that!), and Benjamin is starting second grade. Here they are at home just before heading out.

This is the road to school (I just find it amusing that we drive through fields to get to school). We call this road "le chemin de vaches" (the cow path). Both boys are in the same schools this year as last year, and each has the same teacher he had last year, and both are happy about that. (Benjamin is already a bit worried about having to have a new teacher next year!)

In front of Noah's preschool, which this year hosts only the 3- and 4-year old preschool classes full-time. The kindergarten class has moved up to be with the 1st and 2nd grades in Benjamin's school this year, to keep all three schools at around 20 students, but the kindergarteners will still spend a few afternoons a week with the former kindergarten teacher and aide in the preschool. The organization will be a bit of an adjustment for everyone, but we are just happy we still have three schools / classes for our 3-year-old preschool through 5th graders after last year's drama and resolution.

Benjamin in front of his school.

Frédéric and I enjoyed the blissful silence at home this morning. The hours flew by all too quickly before we had to go pick the boys up for lunch, and the glorious silence was of course shattered by the constant bickering and fighting when they got home. A bit more exquisite silence after they went back this afternoon, and my friend came over for coffee. We enjoyed the sunshine and the peaceful, quiet yard with no one clamoring for our attention. But alas, all good things come to an end, and we had to pick the kids up again from school.

And tomorrow is Wednesday, which means no school. Dear French Government, if you are listening, I think it is just cruel to start school on a Tuesday and make us deal with a Wednesday immediately afterwards.

Both boys were exhausted by the time they got home, but poor Benjamin ended up in tears tonight because he found out that his best friend, Léa, moved and won't be going to his school anymore. We had no idea. I just saw her in the grocery store last week, so we hope that means she hasn't moved too far, and we will try to find her family's phone number to see if they can at least have a play date or something some time.

(And another "rentrée" today - Frédéric took up ping-pong in a club again, after having stopped playing about six and a half years ago! Any guesses on who is going to have sore muscles tomorrow?)