So yesterday was Cole's first day at the middle school. Here in Mexico, elementary school (primaria) goes through sixth grade and middle school (secondaria) is 7th grade - 9th grade. Cole was bummed to find out that he would be in the youngest grade (again). We had picked up his uniform the day before, and it looks very much like his boy scout uniform - khaki pants and button up shirt with pink tassle on the shoulders to indicate his grade. The boys have to wear their shirts tucked in, but, apparently, leaving the shirt unbuttoned to display a stylin' t-shirt underneath is all the rage. We had learned this on our visit so Cole had prepared by cutting off the arms of his coolest T and laying it out the night before. Honestly.
Anyway, the middle school goes from 7AM-1:30PM. So yesterday morning I checked him in with the principal and then a nice looking boy, also with pink tassles, took him to the "Primer A" classroom. They distinguish between grades by calling 7th grade "first", 8th grade "second", and 9th grade "third". So the principal put Cole into the "First A" class (there are two 7th grade classes) which has another gringo. Yeah. The kids stay in the same classroom, and the teachers move from class to class. There really are no educational supplies or decor in any of the classrooms so any subject can be taught in any room. Very good. Anyway, when I dropped him off I told him I would meet him in front of the school at 1:30. So you can imagine my shock when he walked through the door of our house at 12:30. My first thought was he had hated it so much that he had jumped the fence and made a run for it. But when I asked him what happened he said that his last two period teachers were absent and since they don't have substitutes the kids had all walked home early. Oh my. It was like a 45 minute walk (up hill, in the snow...) and he was dripping in sweat. But, at least he looked cool with his cut-off, sleeveless t-shirt! So then I asked how his day went, fearing the worst, and he said, "It was soooo much fun." Oh yeah!! That was music to my ears, let me tell you. I have spent many a sleepless night over the last few months fretting about the potential negative impact of putting our kids in a total immersion situation. And the kids have been worried (of course) about going to a school where they understand nothing. Needless to say, I was delighted that he had had a good day. Phew!
And Evie and Emerson had a great second day and were both smiling ear to ear when we picked them up. Hallelujah! Emerson had discovered pogs (called tossles here). Do you remember pogs?? Anyway, they are all the rage down here with the primaria boys. So Emerson had traded a couple of his little finger flipper skateboards for a sweet little collection. Some of them are so well loved that the pictures on both sides are rubbed clean off. When we picked him up he said, "I love school in Mexico!" Oh yeah. Do you hear the symphony? And Evie can say her alphabet in Spanish. Yippee!
Today was Mexican Independence Day, and the kids had the day off of school (Emerson was so bummed). There was a big parade this morning and then dancing and food booths in the square. The kids were dressed in traditional Mexican folk clothing, and the middle school kids did a reinactment of the war against Spain complete with fire crackers and fake blood. Then they all sang the national anthem and saluted the Mexican flag. Very cool. Viva Mexico!!
So last night I was sweeping the kitchen and I swept a scorpion right out from under the sink. Yikes!! Great. I'm already sharing my house with geckos, now I have to cohabitate with scorpians? Unacceptable. BTW, it's amazing how having children can turn the gentlest of women into ruthless bug killers. I used to spare all varieties of creepy crawlies by getting a paper, coaxing said creepy onto the paper with encouraging words and then nicely setting it free outside. But no more. Setting them free outside does me no good because I have a half inch gap under all of my doors. They come back in! So I have been squishing spiders and centipedes and scorpions for the last four days with ruthless ferocity, for fear that they will crawl into bed with my kiddies. No spankyou! Not on my watch. Give this mommy a shoe! And that is exactly the fate that befell the scorpion in my kitchen. Ruthless, I tell you. And then we gave the kiddos a quick lesson in scorpion safety (always check your shoes before putting them on, don't walk around barefoot in the dark house, you know...the basics). Like we know anything about scorpions! Yikes. But according to our caretaker as long as you get to the clinic within a few hours of a scorpion sting for a shot of...something (what it is? epinephrine? I don't know.) then you should be OK. But, that only made me feel a little better. Maybe one of my Arizona friends can shed some light on the whole scorpion thing. Ladies??
Anyway, aside from the creepy crawlies we're doing great. Glad for the weekend. Thanks for checking in. ~Heather