Saturday, September 08, 2007

How was it for you...?

So, how did this first week of the Rentrée go? Mostly fine although I'm swimming in a vague haze of confusion about my eldest's school.

He has started in sixième, being nearly 11, so that's what I would have called secondary school, first year in my day except that that's all changed now too, so really I don't what anything is in the UK system any more.

My eldest has to take the bus, a bus without a clearly defined schedule, or itinerary. Sometimes it stops at the Mairie, sometimes it doesn't. Is this dependent on the whim of the driver, or are there certain buses that don't stop where children want to get off? Who knows! The only timetable I have is a photocopy obtained from the Mairie which is mostly illegible...

In a normal week, they have Wednesday afternoon off. I was expecting my eldest to have this Wednesday afternoon off. But he didn't. Without any form of warning in the shape of a letter or note, I was told he had to be in school on Wednesday afternoon, exceptionellement... I have an honest child, so I wanted to believe him except that we are trained to expect written communications for any divergence in school schedules, such as strikes, to enable us to plan our time accordingly. I might have arranged to take him to the dentist, for example.

Not only did they stay in school for the Wednesday afternoon, but they were off the whole day on the Thursday, as part of the staggered Rentrée. Back in June, written on the school dossier we had to fill in was a sentence informing us we would receive a letter at the end of August giving us information on what was going on during the first week.

No one received such a letter, so we were left to bathe in the floue artistique. As far as organisation goes, ça laisse un peu à désirer... and I hope it doesn't continue! Actually, I'm half expecting the teachers to go on strike next week.

I missed the parent's orientation meeting too. It was at 5.30pm on Thursday - the day they weren't at school - and I had had to take the afternoon off so as not to leave my son alone for the whole day. As it was, I barely saw him as he spent most of it with his girlfriends, which meant he forgot to remind me, and I just completely forgot because I thought it was to be held next week (the 16th). Bollocks, I thought, wanting to bash myself over the head! I got my son to make my excuses the next day, but it seems I was not the only one not to have gone. This is not surprising; at 5.30pm most working parents are still working, or on their way home.

The primary school my youngest attends is much better run. I delivered him with no trouble on the first day although he was pretty anxious about starting at the new school (CP - 1st year junior, in my day). Since the first day, however, he's been as happy as a sandboy; his teacher is delighted with him, and he got a blue spot for perfect behaviour on Friday. (I was so proud!)

Today it was the Journée des Associations where you sign on at any of the clubs you or your kids want to join in the community. My youngest wants to do Taikwendo and footie this year - no music ("I don't like music, mummy!"), and my eldest is going to learn to play the electric guitar ("Because it's cool!") and do gymnastics. He's giving up the violin, to my chagrin. Not cool enough, obviously.

I signed up with the tennis club so we can go and knock a ball about. At over 100Eur, it makes each bounce of the ball worth its weight in gold, in my opinion, but my youngest was dead keen, so I succumbed...

Desperate mothering...!


  1. Similar debate going on here right now about musical instruments. Oboe or guitar ?

    I have to say that the guitar gets my vote. I so wish that I had learned from a young age.

    On the other hand, there's no chance of parts in the mixed inter-school orchestra like there would be with the oboe.

    What lies in store for my eleven year-old ? Urbane connections with the cultured ladies of the string section - or a foray into cool guitar which might end up a loser's lifetime with just a heavy metal garage band for company ?

    It's tough for a father to pick the right path sometimes. I'll leave it up to him.

    But meanwhile, I showed him how to use the plectrum anyway ...

  2. We went and got the electric guitar and ampli this afternoon. Roaring success! He's at it even now.

    I think your prognosis is a little dire re electric guitars. The guy over the road is an accountant at the tax office but plays the electric guitar for the fun, and in fact played for us on Sunday. It was terrific fun. It's such a convivial instrument.


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