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Friday, August 31, 2012

Hi My Name is...

Just when I was gearing up my super kid, the one in whom I put my biggest hopes and dreams, for the most important interview (at age four) with the principal at the most selective and top-rated (public french immersion) school I wanted to enroll him in; my math genius, the soccer star, future Olympic swimmer or military helicopter pilot... seems to miss the gravity of the occasion.  How did I not adequately prepare him for this most important yet ordinary task? How I could I have possibly prepared myself for possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life as a mother? All I wanted him to do was firmly shake the Principal's hand and say, "Bonjour monsier. Je m'appelle AJ." Instead, my dear little AJ who was climbing all over the waiting room furniture and acting like a circus monkey, looked at the  Monsieur Principal directly in the eye and zestfully declared, "Hi my name is poo poo." Actually giggling a little bit, the principal seemed to give him another chance. I'm trying to hide my absolute horror and I nearly stop breathing as AJ says, "Actually my name is doo-doo".

How do I recover from this interview that has already started off so bad?

Fortunately he leads us to the office anyways, and Maggie has the good sense to actually say Bonjour and we continue with the appointment.  We are at the school to register Maggie for SK and AJ for JK.  I apologize that my husband was unable to join us, the military guy just returning from a business trip to the farthest place you could be and still be in Canada. (Can you guess where that is, where the sun never sets in the summer) In my head I'm thinking that probably the Principal and the Vice Principal must be wondering, who is this mother with frazzled hair and a giant belly tugging along two bratty kids in non-impressive outfits. Instead he comments that we must be so excited about the third child coming and I tell them that actually there is a two year old brother napping at home, so this number 4. That was a good ice breaker because he starts to tell us about the Preschool program at the school for ages three and up, and that I should pick up the registration forms and register right away as this would be very helpful to prepare him for Kindergarten.  He even grabs the preschool teacher who happens to be in the hallway to introduce our family. Cool!

My husband had warned me that this was more of an interview for the parents to show, despite being born anglophones,  that we could in fact support the children in the French program and help them in homework at home in all subjects that would be taught entirely in French. There would be no English instruction until Grade 4.  My original plan was that my husband who had recently completed and passed the French language training and bilingual requirements for his rank, would do most of the talking in French and I would just smile and nod. This is the reason I elected to complete this whole discussion up to this point in English.

Before Maggie and AJ get too restless, they offer colouring books and magnetic playsets while we keep talking. They hand me a stack of forms to fill out as we keep talking about the children and their present schooling and exposure to French; they ask about how much French I know and how well I speak it. I slowly switch into French and I am moderately surprised that I am alright to converse; something I learned in Grade 4 until high school is coming back to life.

However when they ask Maggie to demonstrate her handwriting and artistic capability to "draw something" and she becomes withdrawn and shy, almost to tears. I have to remain calm and I ask AJ to write his name and draw something but he decides to mutiny as well!  The Principal said that they only wanted to verify that the three point pencil grip and have a sense of their fine motor control in writing.  I am shocked because my kids have done lots of handwritten notes to me (To Mom From MAGGIE xoxox) and as part of their Kumon homework they are writing numbers 1 to 70. This time I am adequately prepared with their Monart class Portfolio and their Kumon homework!

Bonus points for Mom!
I pull out the Kumon folder and show Maggie's work for writing 1 - 60; I feel like they don't really believe me that she did it, maybe it's a language barrier. Anyway I point out the name and date for each page she writes herself and even the signature backward G.  I could've pulled out AJ's book too, but I think they were only semi-convinced that Maggie could hold her pencil correctly. It is not observed but adequately inferred.  I am so glad that Brian told me to bring the art folder too. There is alot of wow factor in the amazing sketches and drawings by Maggie and AJ. I provide Maggie and AJ's different interpretation of the same instructions by the teacher and it is very amazing! I am more comfortable explaining things in French now and hopefully I have proven that I can be supportive and loving parent.

Daddy saves the day!

I'm not quite sure if they had already accepted us on Brian's first visit without the kids and this appointment was a followup opportunity to fill out the forms, because based on my presentation alone, I don't see how we could've been that convincing. 

At this moment, Brian magically appears fresh off the plane and still in uniform.  He made it back in time!  His dashing smile and magnetic personality light up the room, and he engages the Principal in an enlightening conversation about his work, experience and exposure to French, and promising to really help the children with French at home... and it looks like a done deal. Birth Certificates and Immunization records are photocopied. We even confirm that the new house will be on the school bus route.  Meanwhile, we get a tour of the school by the jovial Principal; Maggie and AJ seem really excited about the art on the walls and the busyness in the halls as school has already started a week earlier.

I guess it turned out ok after all.  Maggie and AJ finally say, Au Revoir.

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