This is what a block of Breton butter looks like. I've put Eleanor in for a sense of scale. :-) The alarming thing is that our family can go through one of those in about 10 days. "Pain et beurre, maman, s'il-te-plait" is a very common phrase around here. So we have a routine now: we pick up the kids at 4:30 p.m. and chat with teachers and all three of them try to tell us everything at once, and then we spill into the house, still with everybody talking, and because there are no snacks at school, we all settle down for a nice big slice of baguette with Nutella or, yes, beurre. No snack? you say. But why would you need a snack after a lunch of, and I quote: "Some kind of yummy soup appetizer, then sausages with mashed potatoes and something green with corn, and a hunk of baguette, then cheese or yogurt, then chocolate mousse with whipped cream on top." These lunches are astounding, I tell you! But still, the kids come home and are ravenous:
I mean really. :-) I really love this new ritual, and the kids get to transition into home and the evening with tales of their triumph. Oliver related a story in which he started saying "Je suis monsieur fromage" (I am mister cheese) and "Je suis monsieur l'éléphant" and apparently his little classmates cracked up laughing! That makes me so happy! They also all had a chance to draw on the blackboard (what was that activity, I wonder) and Oliver drew a shooting star - as in a star shooting a gun. Nobody got that one (totally doesn't translate). But hey, he had another perfect lunch (a perfect lunch is when you get exactly what you think you asked for) (and no gizzards).
There's one more pictures from our afternoon "goûter" (snack, but literally, it means "to taste," or, I guess that we could translate it as "the tasty" - mmm). The other day we had a camera lens violently meets cobblestone scenario that caused a lot of sadness, and thus have had to purchase a new camera. It was stomach-churningly expensive, but it's just fantastic! One of the settings is for food photography. Check this out:
Be sure to double-click on the picture to get the bigger version. I'll be looking at this picture months from now and drooling, or weeping softly. How does the camera capture every little air pocket in that crusty bread? Sigh. A thing of beauty, truly. You can see some little kid's teethmarks scraping the Nutella off of there. :-)
It's funny, but these days it's Eleanor who is being mysterious about school. I've heard of this from another parent of a little English boy: he said that his little guy speaks French all day long at school now but absolutely refuses to at home. He's made some kind of distinction/divide and that's that. Don't know if that's the way Eleanor will go, but for now, we know lots about the green reading couch and how "incredible" the bathroom is and that there's dancing and singing and painting - which is all swell. Iris wrote another book today. Her teacher said she's just amazed at how determined and focused Iris is all day about her writing. I know that they find her handwriting totally wild (since they're already teaching the kids cursive at this age), but the words are just pouring out of her faster than she can really write them. Take this page (which we laughed and laughed over) for example.
If you'll allow me to transcribe, it goes: "I am learning French. I learned a French name: Floriane, flower. I have, at school, learned that they don't want us in the snow." And on the right you see the word "snow" at the top with the arrow pointing down to the wide expanse of snow below and then down below, a bit under the glare, you see the word "cones" with an arrow pointing to those blocks. Wow - way to learn, Iris! Warning cones around snow - those poor kids! :-)
Mac and I spent our day as usual, reading.
Ah! but Mac finished his book review (huzzah and three cheers!) and sent it off. Having read the edition's introduction, I am now ready to embark with Jean Thenaud as he goes from Angoulême to Cairo. Anon!
1 hour ago