The school year is coming to end. Actually, the end of the school year in Poland is long and drawn out in my opinion especially for older kids. The younger ones are just having a good time with trips to the zoo, around the city, the movies and spending lazy afternoons outside in the school playground. Older kids seem to have endless worksheets or in-class movie watching with comments from teachers “…but we’ve finished all the material for this year”.
My girls have had good years. Lizzie has very good grades, has graduated to using a pen instead of a pencil, has started learning Russian with a native speaker, and has learned her multiplication table (more or less). She has also joined the local soccer team, and I can proudly report that she is just as bad as the other kids. I’m joking, of course. She is great. Bring on 3rd grade.
Rosie is constantly praised by her teachers and when asked how she got so smart and who was so smart at home, Rosie replied, “Me”. Naturally, she is correct. This year Rosie took part in a city-wide diction competition and did very well. When asked to repeat the same poem a few months later at the Mother and Father’s Day show, she did so proudly although with her diction much less clear as she had lost 3 teeth on the top all in a row just the week before. But on a positive note she made 30 zloty in one week (current tooth to PLN exchange rate is 1:10). Bring on 1st grade.
I’ve had a good school year as well. I managed to attend one parent/teacher conference myself – Misiu usually goes. I was able to look down at all the other parents who didn’t come and received a reprimanding e-mail from the class secretary. I managed to avoid finding myself seated near “hot mom” from the group, thus keeping my self-esteem mostly intact. I’ve managed to perfect the facial expression I reserve for exclusive use at school when the priest or the nuns greet me. I feel it exudes a proper “you don’t belong here” to “leave me alone” ratio with maybe a pinch, just a pinch of F-off. I’m still working on it. I agreed to do a favor for Rosie’s teacher making the rookie mistake of not asking what the favor was first. That’s how I came to play the starring role of “sick mother” in the Mother and Father’s Day show. Bravo to the teachers who cast another father about 15 years my junior in the role of father to my mother. Bravo to me for holding my tongue when said father inquired loudly, “But who will make my breakfast!?” upon discovering his wife was ill. It was part of his role.
We have no big summer plans. The kids don’t want to go to any camps although I’ve begged them to go to the swimming camp that they loved in the past. They still refused even when offered, well, some pecuniary assistance in making the “right” decision. No go. I guess we will split our time between the city and the village and try to catch some attractions as they come.
One thing I plan to do is read a lot on my new Kindle. I am very pleased with my Kindle and my library membership which allows me to borrow books for free. Prior to my Kindle I was at the mercy of Empik’s foreign language book buyer. I’ve read just about every book they have excluding Leszek Czarnecki’s Risk in Banking which I am sure I will get to eventually. The best part about the Kindle is that I can buy books in English for the girls, just like that. We are currently reading the Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary. I remember those books fondly from my childhood as I was a bit like Ramona. I hope that my gamine little Lizzie will see a bit of herself in Ramona as well and know that not all girls have to wear pink dresses and play with Barbies.
Lizzie often reads to herself from one of her many, many books in Polish, but I have noticed that she avoids her English books. With some pestering on my part, Lizzie has started to read more in English but is not satisfied with her own progress. Rosie is so frustrated with reading in English that she actually cried herself to sleep last night. Hence the launch of our Summer of English. My goal is to help the girls catch their English skills up so they are in line with their Polish skills. I’m not sure how to do it exactly (besides just reading together) so I am in the process of brainstorming (with myself) and researching on-line. Any suggestions would be appreciated!