One of the sub-sub-sub themes of this blog is that Iris keeps losing teeth at school - and only at school. She's lost three over the past four months, and always at school - sometimes we wondered if she (or the tooth) (or the tooth souris) were waiting for school. The remaining front tooth was quite loose before the five-day Ascension break, and so we thought for sure that she would break her record. This morning, literally within seconds of stepping onto the school grounds, as she giving Oliver his big, messy, wet kiss good-bye, out it came!!! I think that I nearly always have my camera with me now, and woo-ha! I whipped it out and caught her terrific bemused/amused gaze as she proffered forth the tooth. Her dad took it (yish!) and now today, we will wait once again for the magical tooth souris ad her Euro. After losing four teeth on school grounds, does this element of Iris's experience get to move from sub-theme to leitmotif?
Is there anything cooler than losing your second front tooth and being able to tell your friends immediately? Uh, I certainly can't think of anything. There was much squealing this morning, and this dear (really, really dear) little friend of Iris's was beside herself with glee. At this moment, I think that Iris was still a little uncertain as to how to work her new smile - you'll see in the last picture for today that she's got it how she likes it now. I'm going to love this picture always for its spontaneity, but also for realizing the depth of emotion and time of friendship that it entails: since the end of spring vacation, Iris has had some really tough mornings, a really hard time saying good-bye. This little friend is always there and, like Iris, doesn't necessarily use a lot of words: just hugs and long looks and holding hands. It's strange in some ways that Iris is going through this, because she was so bubbly for the first four months, and I would think those would be the hardest part. What's interesting, and can't be coincidental, is that she is doing incredibly well with the language. Eleanor's class was combined with hers today (no substitute available - a real problem in the French school system, and something to be addressed another time), and apparently Iris translated (needlessly, I was told, but still impressively) almost everything for her sister. Eleanor's teacher had not yet seen Iris in action, and was the teacher in charge today and was telling me this at the end of class - she even emphasized it with this great French facial expression that I love: eyes big, cheeks puffed out, slow exhale to show being impressed (and, of course, looking gorgeous and dignified for the duration of the expression). "Etonnant" (something between surprising and stunning, I would say towards stunning with the eyes big, cheeks puffed out emphasis) is what she said. It could well be that Iris is approaching fluency (at least of comprehension) and could be feeling some anxiety about losing English (which is laughably impossible, but still a destabilizing idea for a kid). Oliver has told us that he's dreamed in French (a little friend of his from the States had moved to France and now spoke only in French, no matter how hard Oliver tried to get him to switch back to English); the other day when Eleanor woke up from her nap in the car (always a cranky event), she let us have it in French ("Mais c'est pas possible!" she yelled sleepily - yes, she can do that) - so this language is finding its way deeper into the kids' consciousness. And Iris understanding so much, possibly nearly everything, is finding herself between two more pronouncedly different worlds than she has before - and perhaps finding it harder to move between them. I was so moved by Rozenn (Eleanor's teacher) comments that I tried, just for fun, speaking only in French with Iris on the walk home. She spoke to me in English the whole time, but understood every single thing I said - and I was asking about a variety of topics, jumping from one thing to another. It's no wonder she's exhausted by 7 p.m., my bird - moving back and forth between language likes that is intense.
Meanwhile, when I asked Eleanor what they had for lunch today, she produced the enigmatic (and slightly disgusting) answer of "Beef with fish sauce." nouvelle cuisine? (Oliver and Iris assured us this was not so - just beef tips in a mushroom sauce over rice).
Oliver had his usual restless Monday night (must be his switching between week-end and school world) and came back down to tell us that there's a bat (a tiny one) in the shed at school and that he's enjoying sitting under it while he reads.
Almost mantra-like, Oliver's question "Was he happy?" about Mike the Headless chicken keeps coming back to me. How can you tell if a headless chicken is happy about being headless? How do we know that catnip tastes like hamburger to cats? Ok, I'd better stop.
This ought to help!
1 day ago