Last night before her bedtime, Madeline sprinkled fish food into Pearlie's tank for the last time, and told him not to be scared about the next day's journey. She assured him that he'd like having two other goldfish as room-mates, and that in August, he'd make friend with "a bunch of new kids". Pearlie had been a good pet, and she was sad that he missed his departed buddy, Curly.
This morning, we delivered Pearlie to the aquarium in Madeline's kindergarten classroom.
Five Years Ago: Madeline was mastering crawling.
Four Years Ago: She was tasting playdough for the first time ever.
Two Years Ago: Madeline was loving Fancy Nancy. Not that she doesn't, still …
Yesterday, Madeline read her first "real book" – Dear Zoo – to me and her little sister. We were on an airplane heading home from Singapore, and I was so excited and proud of her.
Uniform shirts are optional at Madeline's school next week. They're hosting an "International Week" and (among other special things/events) the students can wear patriotic shirts from their home countries instead of their regular polos. The sort of unfortunate thing about this for my child is that International Week collides with a week with several organized political rallies in Bangkok, and it's probably not a great time to be wandering around Bangkok wearing a red shirt. Guess what colour most of Madeline's Canada tees are?
I think that we'll be going straight home from kindergarten so that she can change …
Maybe I am overly sentimental about the small preschool that Madeline spent two years at here, but the afterschool pick-up in the kindergarten quad leaves much to be desired. I was feeling quite down at the beginning of the school year because her new school does not have the same "cozy community" feel – a great number of the kindergarten students are picked up by mae baans or ride the Montri buses into Bangkok, so I don't get to meet, let alone befriend, their parents. And the people who I would sit beside on a bench and chat with, waiting for our three year-olds or four year-old to come flying out of the door at the preschool? Well, they are at the new school as well, but more often as not, they are hanging out, mostly silently, outside their child's classroom door. As am I, outside the door of Madeline's. No one ever hangs out in the middle of the quad, having a conversation. Can I blame the architecture that puts the classrooms along the outside of the square, or is this just the culture of the international school?
Onto my second gripe about the kindergarten pick-up, and the one that I referenced in the title of the post! Madeline has taken to flying out of her classroom door and the words, "Mom, can I have a playdate today? Please! Please? Please! Please? Please! Please? Please! Please????????" escape her body even before the straps of her backpack are squarely on her shoulders. Now, I am not against socializing outside of school hours, but I get really frustrated at being bombarded by the LOUD and the BEGGING and even the on-the-spot-ness of this frequent request. I outright loathe the Playdate Beg. I've even created a new rule, whereby a Playdate Beg will be met with an automatic "No, not today". I just can't think, amid the chaotic dismissal of sevety-five kindergarten students and the throng of people fetching them, if it's a good day to have someone over, if I have enough fruit for a snack at home, if Sadie has something going on that needs less-divided attention. I feel bad telling Madeline, "how about we plan something for tomorrow?" but I can't allow the Playdate Beg to get the desired results without setting myself up for bigger trouble in the future!
After several months of attempting to convince Madeline that it's a sign of good luck to have a gecko in one's bedroom (instead of a reason to shriek in teror), we have success. The tiny little gecko who has been hanging out behind her chest of drawers for the past five days or so has been named "Squiggly" and Madeline gives me updates throughout the day about whether her new pet is hiding, peeking out from behind the chest of drawers, or basking in the heat atop the furniture.
I have no idea, honestly, if geckos are viewed as a sign of good fortune in this culture. It was just the quickest thing that I could think of to put a positive spin on a renegade reptile.
Today, the five kindergarten classes at Madeline's school celebrated their one hundredth day with song and cupcakes, sharing collections of one hundred things (Madeline took one hundred of the beads that I bought somewhere on Sampeng Lane), and very occasion-specific eyewear. My girl was really excited to go to school, and it must have made a big impression on her because when she came home, this is what I overheard:
"The Infinity-st Day of Kindergarten – that will be a really special celebration!"
I wonder how long it will be before she stops counting …
… is the number of days that kindergarten has been in session. Madeline's class is having a 100th Day of Kindergarten celebration on Monday morning, she seems to be looking forward to it as much as she was looking forward to Christmas holidays. I am not sure what other classes and schools do to mark this occasion (if they do anything – I certainly didn't when I was in K), but my girl has to bring in a collection of one hundred things. Madeline initially assembled a hodge-podge of Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, My Little Ponies, and wardrobe pieces from her Snap n Style dolls, but this evening, she asked if she could change her collection. She counted out ten sets of ten beads, and after Sadie was tucked into bed, Madeline and I sat on the floor and threaded the beads onto pipe cleaners. It was only about ten minutes of work, but I really enjoyed spending the down-time helping Madeline with her project.