School ready

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School year has officially started and we have gained one more student in our household- Rosie has started Junior Infants. I was just as excited and emotional as her upon leaving her in her classroom. But she loved it and called it “a day of surprises”.

When we were still in Poland, Misi prepared girls room for a new school year. By replacing their beds with a bunk bed, we gained space for their new desk.

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For weekends we have encyclopedias and activity books. Don’t look at me like that ;-). I am not some over ambitious dragon mom who wants to make geniuses out of her kids by taking their free time and making them memorize encyclopedias and learn even on their days off. However, they are eager to learn and often ask if we can do some books so I keep them for those occasions.

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After our visit to Poland I also promised myself and girls that I will make time to teach them Polish. Books are my weakness and I decided I wouldn’t buy a new book for myself until I read all I have, so I bought lots for girls 😀 .

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And in my parents attic I found that book for first class that used to be mine. We will definitely go through it.

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I still  love the idea of lunch box notes. It’s a way to connect with your kids when their at school and to surprise them. I have a big collection of them on pinterest and I print some every month. And now, when Anabel is a fluent reader, every day I put a new joke into her lunch box to make her smile.

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You know how kids love to wake up first thing in the morning on summer days but as soon as school starts it is nearly impossible to get them out of bed on time? And then, when you manage to drag them out of bed, they take ages to eat breakfast, get their uniforms dirty while brushing teeth, can’t find their ties or shoes. Yes, school day mornings can be hard. That’s why it’s so important to be as organised as possible. I tend to plan girls lunches way ahead so they always get some sandwich, fruit, yogurt and snack. But recently I started to also plan their breakfasts. Girls really love american pancakes or waffles but what puts me of making them in the morning, is that you have to measure up and sieve dry ingredients. So even if I tell myself the evening before that I’ll make them for breakfast, we end up with toasts or cereal. And so I keep dry ingredients all measured up and ready for when I’m too lazy, which is nearly every morning ;-).

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Give it a go

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Today was a very exciting day for both girls. It was the last day of school for Anabel since we’re leaving for Hungary on Monday. She signed a card and gave presents to her teachers. She was both excited and upset. She got so attached to her teachers that realization that she won’t meet with them in September (since she will have a new teacher) made her cry. Only my promise that we will send them postcards from Hungary and Poland calmed her down.

Rosalie, on the other hand, is starting school from September and today she met with her new teacher and the class. I had to leave her there for 40 min and I was a little worried since she can be a bit shy and she is such a loner. But when I went to collect her, she didn’t want to leave. She’ll do just fine.

And since we got all Anabel’s work from past school year, I thought I’d share the best bits. They had a notebook called “Give it a go” in which they got to write their own stories every week. They could make up whatever story they wanted, just to practice writing. Most stories were about ponies and princesses but few were different.I had never seen that notebook before and when I opened it in a car while waiting for Rosie, it made me cry from laughter. Seriously, I had to fix my make-up before leaving the car. You have to read this.

Once upon a time there was a woman. She had too many kids, she did not know what to do.  So she gave them soup with nothing and gave them a kiss and sent them to bed.

Here is another one, with reference to Poland 🙂 . It’s a good thing we will spend summer in Poland because it looks like Anabel has a very grim vision of our homeland.

Once upon a time there was a girl. Her name was Emma. She lived in a poor house and she lived in Poland. She worked very hard but they got little money. Emma said why don’t I get a new job? and then they got lots of money. the End

Teacher commented that she was happy for Emma 🙂 .

And the last one is from the “weekly news” notebook . It’s not that funny but it’s, well, honest.

On Friday the 3rd of June we went to the church.The class and Claire and Ms X were there. We sat and genuflected when we found a seat. It was boring.

For last two weeks I have been packing and repacking us. Either I pack extra things because they seem absolutely essential, either I unpack them because I packed too much again. I am ready for all kinds of weather, from heat- wave to snow storm, because you never know :-),  and all kinds of occasions, from weddings to funerals. And there’s an even more intensive weekend ahead of me of checking everything and most likely repacking again. Packing took Misi, though, less then 30 seconds: 2 t-shirts, 2 shorts and some underwear. Yet again, the differences in functioning of men and women hit me. Because there’s 3 hours of travel by car, then another 3 hours on the plane and again 2 hours or so in a car, thinking of girls, Misi is packing tablets, laptop and game console, while I  am printing games, tests, crosswords and coloring pages from printoteka.pl and superkid.pl. Gender differences are truly fascinating. 😉

Dzisiejszy dzien byl niezwykle ekscytujacy dla obydwu dziewczynek. Byl to ostatni dzien szkoly dla Anabel poniewaz w poniedzialek wylatujemy na Wegry. Wypelnila kartke i podarowala prezenty nauczycielkom. Byla zarowno podekscytowana jak i smutna. Tak bardzo przywiazala sie do swoich nauczycielek, ze na mysl o tym, ze nie beda jej uczyc we wrzesniu (bedzie miala nowa nauczycielke), rozplakiwala sie. Jedynie moje zapewnienia, ze wyslemy im mase pocztowek z Wegier i Polski, ja uspokajaly.

Rosalie natomiast we wrzesniu zaczyna szkole i dzis miala spotkanie z nowa klasa i nauczycielka. Musialam ja zostawic sama z dziecmi i nauczycielka w klasie i troszke sie tego obawialam poniewaz Rosie bywa niesmiala i jest raczej samotnikiem. Kiedy jednak przyszlam ja odebrac, bawila sie w najlepsze i nie chciala wyjsc. Wiem, ze sobie poradzi.

A skoro dzis otrzymalismy wszystkie prace i notatki Anabel z calego roku, pomyslalm, ze podziele sie najlepszymi fragmentami. Jeden z notatnikow byl przeznaczony do kreatywnego pisania. Co tydzien dzieci pisaly krotkie, zmyslone przez siebie opowiadania. Chodzilo o praktyke pisania. Wiekszosc opowiadan bylo o ksiezniczkach i konikach pony ale kilka bylo innych. Nigdy wczesniej nie widzialam tego notatnika a gdy otworzylam go w samochodzie czekajac przed szkola na Rosie, poplakalam sie ze smiechu. Serio, musialam poprawiac makijaz przed wyjsciem z samochodu.

Dawno, dawno temu byla sobie kobieta. Miala za duzo dzieci i nie wiedziala co robic. Wiec dala im zupe z niczym i pocalowala i wyslala do lozek.

A tu kolejne, z odniesieniem do Polski. Dobrze, ze spedzimy lato w Polsce bo wyglada na to, ze Anabel ma bardzo ponura wizje naszej ojczyzny 😀 . 

Dawno, dawno temu byla sobie dziewczynka. Miala na imie Emma. Mieszkala w biednym domu w Polsce. Pracowala bardzo ciezko ale mieli malo pieniedzy. Emma powiedziala dlaczego nie znajde nowej pracy? I potem mieli duzo pieniedzy. Koniec

Nauczycielka skomentowala, ze cieszy sie szczesciem Emmy :-). 

Ostatnia notatka pochodzi z notatnika “Wiadomosci tygodnia”. Nie jest az tak zabawna, ale, coz, szczera.

W piatek 3-go czerwca poszlismy do kosciola. Byla tam  cala klasa, Claire i pani X. Po znalezieniu siedzenia, siedzielismy i kleczelismy. Bylo nudno.

Ja od dwoch tygodni, nas pakuje i przepakowuje. To dopakowuje rzeczy bo wydaja mi sie niezbedne, to wypakowuje, bo jak zwykle za duzo nabralam. Jestem przygotowana na wszystkie typy pogody, od upalow po sniezyce, bo kto wie 🙂 oraz na rozne okazje, od slubow po pogrzeby . A przede mna jeszcze intensywniejszy weekend ostatecznego sprawdzania i zapewne kolejnej serii przepakowywania. Misiemu natomiast pakowanie siebie zajelo niecale 30 sekund: 2 t-shirty, 2 pary szortow, troche bielizny. Po raz kolejny uderzyly mnie roznice w funkcjonowaniu mezczyzn i kobiet. Poniewaz czeka nas 3 godziny jazdy samochodem, potem kolejne 3 godziny lotu samolotem i znowu jakies 2 godziny w samochodzie, Misi z mysla o dziewczynkach pakuje tablety, laptopa i konsole do gier podczas gdy ja drukuje zadanka, cwiczenia, krzyzowki, duble i kolorowanki z printoteka.pl  i superkid.pl . Roznice plciowe sa fascynujace :-).

Limerick fashion show

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No, I haven’t, all of the sudden, become fashion blogger 😉 . I find fashion fascinating ( I am a woman after all) but not to the point where I would regularly watch fashion shows, follow famous designers, models and bloggers. It changes so fast, there is just no point for me to try to follow it. However, I love new experiences, and since I had never been to a fashion show before, when the opportunity arose, I thought: “Why not?” .

The fashion show was organised in the Strand Hotel by Anabel’s school to raise money for a new astro-turf pitch. Even though collections showed were mostly aimed to attract women in their forties and fifties,  it was still fun to watch. An extra factor was that some of the outfits were presented by school teachers. I had a great time!

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Macaroons for a good cause

Anabel’s school is very active. I like that there’s so much happening there. Not only for kids, but also for parents. They organize lots of free classes for adults, they send us brochures with acivity ideas for all family and magazines about parenting, they are involved in charities. And last week I found in Anabel’s backpack a brochure about some charity event which will  take place today. We could donate some unwanted toys or bric a brac, or bake something. Of course, I picked the last option and since I’ve been dieing to try these  out, this was the perfect occasion.

Szkola Anabel jest bardzo aktywna. Uwielbiam to ile sie tam dzieje, nie tylko dla dzieci ale takze rodzicow.  Organizuja darmowe kursy dla rodzicow, wysylaja nam broszurki z pomyslami na aktywnie spedzony czas z cala rodzina oraz magazyny o wychowaniu dzieci, a takze dzialaja na rzecz roznych instytucji charytatywnych. I tak, tydzien temu otrzymalismy informacje o akcji charytatywnej, ktora bedzie miala miejsce w szkole Anabel dzis. Rodzice byli poproszeni o podarowanie niechcianych zabawek, przedmiotow i dekoracji, lub wypiekow. Oczywiscie wybralam te ostatnia opcje a poniewaz od jakiegos czasu chcialam wyprobowac przepis na te makaroniki, w koncu nadazyla sie idealna okazja. Sa piekne, smaczne i w miare latwe w wykonaniu. 

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Rise and shine

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School has only started and we already struggle with morning routine. As I had suspected Anabel turned out to be sleepy- head. Our mornings look like that:

Me: Anabel, wake up!

Anabel: Let me sleep.

Me: It’s time to go to school.

A: No, it’s not the time yet. Leave me alone.

Me: Anabel, you’re a school-girl now.

A: I’m not a school-girl. I’m a home-girl.

My clever clocks 😀

Szkola sie dopiero zaczyna a my juz mamy trudne poranki. Jak podejrzewalam, Anabel okazala sie totalnym spiochem. Nasze poranki wygladaja tak:

Ja: Anabel, wstawaj!

Anabel: Daj mi spac.

Ja: Czas wstawac do szkoly.

A: Nie, jeszcze nie. Daj mi spokoj.

Ja: Anabel, jestes juz uczennica [doslownie : szkolna dziewczynka ].

A: Nie jestem uczennica. Jestem domowa dziewczynka.

Cwaniaczek 😀

Beginning of the biggest adventure

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Yesterday started a new chapter in Anabel’s life and we are so blessed to be part of it. We celebrated first day of school.

You must know it’s very different from how we do it in Poland. In Ireland there is no assembly with solemn speeches, national anthem singing and general ceremonial feeling. Instead, it’s rather chaotic. Parents and children arrive in a hall to find cards with names of teachers hanging on a wall. They have to line up in front of their teacher’s name and from there they’re taken to a classroom.  My first association was of an airport. And after all children queue for their flight to a fascinating world of knowledge and science.  

Teacher doesn’t address all parents with introduction, invitation, wishes and promises. Every parent comes to a teacher separately and is given few A4 papers with informations on insurance and some forms to fill up and return. Then they leave and few hours later come to collect their kids . And that’s about it. 

I must say I find it rather disappointing.  After all, it’s such an exciting day both for parents and little ones and it’s supposed to be memorable one. I wish there would be more ceremony to it.

But that’s not all differences. Children do not carry their books on daily basis. Nor do they have pencil cases filled with pens and pencils or any other craft supplies. The first day of school we pay certain amount of money to the teacher and she supplies children with all they need. It all stays at school. As it certainly is practical, it takes the fun part away from kids. I found shopping each August for crayons, paints, markers, colourful papers, brushes, scissors, glues, notebooks and pencils so super exciting. I would spend hours taking them all out from shelves and just looking at them, touching them and imagining what I will create with them in that coming school year. Anabel doesn’t know that feeling.

Maybe, just maybe, it should be a motivating kick for me, to plan some crafts we could do together in a coming year and then to shop for all we need, talk about it and just enjoy anticipation 😉

I don’t worry about how Anabel will perform at school. Of course, it would be great if she was a good student and with her hunger for knowledge I think she will be. But I have met so many people with higher degrees working in totally unsatisfying positions. And then I’ve met so many people with no degree at all but with wisdom, doing what they love and making good living of it. So it’s up to her what path she will choose. I just want her to have wonderful time at school, meet good and inspiring people, and collect unforgettable memories. 

Wczoraj rozpoczal sie nowy rozdzial w zyciu Anabel a my mamy szczescie byc jego swiadkami. Wczoraj celebrowalismy pierwszy dzien szkoly.

Musicie wiedziec, ze wyglada to tu zupelnie inaczej niz w Polsce. W Irlandii nie ma apelu z patetycznymi przemowami, narodowym hymnem i podniosla atmosfera. Tu jest raczej chaotycznie. Rodzice i dzieci gromadza sie w auli, gdzie na jednej ze scian rozwieszone sa kartki z imionami nauczycieli. Wszyscy musza ustawic sie w rzedach pod wlasciwa karteczka i stad sa odprowadzani przez nauczyciela do klasy. Kojarzy sie to kolejka na lotnisku na wlasciwy lot. I tak spod skrzydel rodzicow dzieci wylatuja prosto w fascynujacy swiat wiedzy i nauki. 

Nauczyciel nie przemawia do rodzicow przedstawiajac sie, zapraszajac, zyczac powodzenia i obiecujac dobra opieke nad naszymi dziecmi. Kazdy rodzic podchodzi osobno do nauczyciela, ktory wrecza mu plik karteczek A4 z informacja o ubezpieczeniu oraz formami do wypelnienia. Po tym rodzice wychodza i po kilku godzinach przychodza odebrac pociechy. I to by bylo na tyle obchodow.

Przyznam, ze zawiodlam sie tym pierwszym dniem. Przeciez to taki ekscytujacy dzien zarowno dla rodzicow jak i maluchow wiec powinien byc pamietny. Chcialabym zeby bylo bardziej uroczyscie.

Ale na tym bynajmniej nie koniec roznic. Dzieci na codzien nie nosza ksiazek do szkoly. Nie potrzebuja tez piornikow z olowkami i dlugopisami ani zadnych innych przyborow czy materialow plastycznych. Pierwszego dnia szkoly bowiem rodzice uiszczaja okreslona oplate i nauczyciel zaopatrza dzieci we wszystko co bedzie im potrzebne. Wszystko zostaje w szkole. Chociaz absolutnie praktyczne, takie praktyki obdzieraja dzieci z czesci zabawy. Ja uwielbialam sierpniowe zakupy po kredki, farbki, flamastry, kolorowy papier, pedzelki, nozyczki, klej, zeszyty i olowki. Pozniej godzinami patrzylam na nie, dotykalam i wyobrazalam sobie co takiego przyjdzie mi z nich stworzyc. Anabel nie zaznala tego uczucia.

Moze, tylko moze, to powinno byc motywacyjnym kopem dla mnie by zaplanowac dla nas nasze domowe rekodziela na najblizszy rok, a potem zabrac dziewczyny na zakupy, rozmawiac o tym i cieszyc sie samym planowaniem 😉

Wsrod tych szkolnych przygotowan i przezyc, nie martwie sie w ogole jak Anabel sobie poradzi. Oczywiscie cudownie byloby gdyby byla dobra uczennica i dostrzegajac jej glod wiedzy, mysle, ze poradzi sobie bardzo dobrze.  Ale poznalam tak wielu ludzi z wyzszym wyksztalceniem na zupelnie nie satysfakcjonujacych posadach. Poznalam tez wielu ludzi bez wyksztalcenia ale z madroscia zyciowa, ktorzy robia to co kochaja i zyja z tego  bardzo satysfakcjonujaco. Wiec to jej decyzja, ktora pojdzie droga, ja postaram sie zaakceptowac i wspierac. Ale to czego dla niej pragne i czego jej zycze, to by spedzila cudowny czas w szkole, poznala dobrych i inspirujacych ludzi i zgromadzila wiele niezapomnianych wspomnien.