Stuff ‘n Recess

Apparently, Tad is flunking recess. Or, more accurately, recess is not going so well for him these days.

Throwing sand on the playground is a no-no. I know he’s in the sand pit every day because I empty it out of his shoes each afternoon. And I know he’s throwing sand because I emailed his teacher.

I miss the day-to-day contact that I had with his teachers last year. It was easy to ask the quick question at drop-off or pick-up time, especially about Tad’s behavior during the school day. I feel funny about shooting off an email once a day to ask how he’s doing. I did email his teacher earlier this week because I did have a legitimate question about a book that came home, so I snuck in a question about his behavior then, and she responded promptly. I’ve been told that teachers LOVE email so much more than phone calls because of the convenience of it.

But still, I’m not sure I want to email every day. Maybe once a week.

I know he’s doing mostly all right in class, because he had both language group and individual speech therapy this week, and came back with good reports indicating that he was cooperative and participating.

While the bus is a wonderful thing for Tad, I have to admit that I feel more disconnected this year. It’s more or less up to me to keep up the connection, aside from the parent-teacher conferences that happen throughout the year.

Meanwhile, Ane’s teacher just wrote up a volunteer schedule based on parent feedback, so I will be working in her class one Friday a month. I think that’s all Ane can handle for now. As we know, she’s never been a big fan of me hanging around at her school. Fridays are the best day for me, because Tad is out of school, so I only have to coordinate/beg/bribe Grandma to watch him and not have to plan for someone to pick him up from school or wait for his bus to arrive.

And in other stuff… my Japanese language skills are really rusty.

There is a little boy at Cubbies… I will call him Jay-kun. Some years ago, before he was born, his older sister Sally-chan began attending Cubbies. We were told her primary language at home was Japanese, because mom and dad are native Japanese and speak it full-time at home. I was actually looking forward to having her in Cubbies, because nothing is cuter than little Japanese kids speaking Japanese. However, Sally-chan’s English was quite good, so my Japanese didn’t get quite the workout I thought it would.

Enter, a few years later, Jay-kun. Now, Jay-kun was told by his parents from the start that I speak Japanese… so this same boy last year expressed a large amount of surprise that I spoke English so well. He does like to talk to me in Japanese, though his English skills are also quite good. He just prefers speaking in Japanese.

This has come as a surprise to some of our new helpers in Cubbies this year, who have done some double-takes at this little boy saying something in a completely different language – and me responding in kind without missing a beat.

On Wednesday night, Jay-kun spotted the paper birthday crowns and asked – in Japanese – if it was birthday night. I replied that it was, then I said, “Your birthday’s in May, isn’t it?”

“No, my birthday’s December 10th.”

“Oh, that’s right, it’s Sally-chan’s birthday that’s in May,” I recalled.

He shrugged at me as if to say I don’t keep track of my sister’s birthday.

And remember, this entire conversation is in Japanese – and little kids are listening.

At the end of the evening, I said good-bye to Jay-kun and his father (who had picked him up) and told him – in Japanese – that I would see him next week. One of the other little boys got my attention and said, very seriously, “You know, I can understand you when you’re speaking in Spanish.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Really? Because that wasn’t Spanish.”

I don’t think that was the answer he was looking for.

2 Responses to “Stuff ‘n Recess”

  1. Ressis
    September 25th, 2009 06:32

    Hey, I guess I know more “Spanish” than I thought! Though it’s still not enough to get me very far.

  2. Webmaster
    September 25th, 2009 09:02

    It’s just indicative of the times. There’s so much bi-lingual education going on — some valuable chunk of class time focused on non-English — that when the poor kid doesn’t hear English they automatically assume it’s Spanish!

    I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to get kids learning a foreign language at a young age. I’m saying let us not sacrifice other education basics (math, science, writing) in order to accommodate such electives.