I was contemplating my navel again this evening watching my youngest have his swimming lesson. There was a new girl; the only girl in fact, in a class of 5 boys. She was none too happy; I think because she didn't want to swim rather than being in a class of boys.
The instructor, who at the end of last half term had been getting grumpier and more impatient, had returned refreshed, short-haired and patient. He persuaded the reluctant girl into the water (at which point her father decided it was a good moment to beat a hasty retreat) and to hang on to the sponge 'frite'. That was as far as she got before she started wailing.
She wailed up the length of the pool. She wailed back down the length of the pool. The boys were swimming nonchalantly up and down, overtaking her, chatting to each other as they swam, and generally minding their own business.
Eventually she stopped wailing and found that she was enjoying herself. Then she found she was doing pretty well and ended up frite-less, swimming, and even learning how to dive from her knees. Just goes to show really, doesn't it?
Meanwhile, my eldest was suffering 'solfege', the bane of the lives of French children who study a musical instrument. Rare are the teachers who make it a pleasant lesson, and it's often enough to stop the child from carrying on learning their instrument. My eldest is at that point. He hates going to solfege lessons (music theory) and says that next year he's going to stop learning to play the violin so he can stop solfege. Can I get away with not making him go to solfege? Maybe. Afterall, it would be a shame to stop something he enjoys just because something not very important is spoiling his pleasure. He's not going to be a professional musician, so why torture him with unnecessary crap?
Ah the French. They do love their due processes!