Archive | April, 2015

After School Care

20 Apr

I must have ranted on here about the After School Care at our school. I’m not sure if it officially has ‘Program’ at the end of that but god damn it, it is a free for all run-amoc mess of bad language, shit supervision and bordering-on-dangerous antics.

It is cheap as chips though. Only 3,500 yen (roughly $40) per child PER MONTH. This price doesn’t change during the summer holidays either when the kids can go for the ENTIRE day.

It is a cheap, and only, alternative for working parents.

In first grade Shou’s language, attitude and behavior changed drastically and in direct proportion to time spent at After School Care (ASC). During the summer holidays of that first year I remember getting almost panic-like attacks when I’d go and pick him up – wondering what the supervisor woman was going to say. It was a fuckin joke. I’d get lectures on how Shou told HTB to ‘get out of the way’ and HTB was so upset he just about crawled into a fetal position and cried for the remaining two hours. In the end I said I was removing Shou from the ‘program’ for the rest of the holidays as I couldn’t be fucked hearing ridiculous shit like that every day and Shou getting in trouble for saying ‘get out of the way’. HTB was such a shit in first grade I actually admire Shou for not saying ‘get out of the way you dumb fuck’. (yes, there were some times when Shou deserved what came to him – like the time he put an older kid in a headlock)

By no means, or any stretch of the imagination, has Shou been, at any time, on his best behavior at ASC. He has calmed down a lot and there are definitely other kids up there on the shithead spectrum. Nice kids. Lovely in class but if they can run wild at ASC, well then wild they will run.

A couple of weeks back – in between the ‘prick’ incident and rulergate – I was working late and hub went to pick the kids up. They arrived home and Shou had a long scratch under his eye and hub was muttering something about bamboo and eyeballs and nearly-a-trip-to-the-hospital and stupid bitch.

Shou and HTB had apparently been playing commando, or Kill Bill style pretend sword games with a couple of 2m long bamboo stakes that were leaning against the outside wall of the ASC room. HTB, and his retarded snail exercise abilities, landed Shou with the scratch. I’m perplexed as to why my athletically gifted son was unable to jump or duck or dive roll out of the way like McGyver.

Seriously though, another 2mm and the fun would have ended because someone would have actually lost an eye.

Hub was livid. Who lets 8 year old boys play with long sharp objects? I mean seriously? Its not the Jackie Chan school of martial fuckin arts you know.

When I went to pick Shou up the next day I was able to speak to the lady about it. Instead of saying “I know, I’m sorry about your son hurting himself while under our supervision. The sticks have been stored away out of site and perhaps we could both have a word with Shou about dangerous play”…. or something, she said “yeah, well I did tell them to stop but they didn’t listen”.

And that was it.

Heeellloooooooooooooo!!!! Earth to ADULT SUPERVISOR getting paid to ensure our children have a safe environment in which to play and do their homework???

Boys will be boys and all that garb but she really needs to figure out a new approach when talking to parents. She also needs to be able to physically remove things that are dangerous and introduce a few more rules. Tis the same lady who when questioned about the drawing-pins-in-Marina’s-shoes incident immediately placed the blame on the school.

Hub is over it and told me we should take them out of ASC completely. Which is OK for him to say as he isn’t the one therefore having three kids not-supervised at home for two hours every day while I teach English four days a week. So we compromised and I said I would pick them up straight after school 3 days but not the other two days cause those days were just too hectic. They won’t be at home alone – my English classroom is 3m away.

I told the ASC woman the next day and she was all upset. We are into our second week and the kids aren’t complaining anymore about not getting their ASC snack on the three days I pick them up directly. Of course the woman said they could come and get their snack but I said no, it will be a drama picking them up. They would get a snack at home. She then said that Marina’s best friend was just starting ASC too – as if that would make us change our minds. When Marina said she wanted to come again tomorrow and not go straight home the woman said that she couldn’t come back everyday until her daddy said it was OK.

WTF? Just say ‘zannnenn’ or something.

She even texted me expressing her disappointment that this one bamboo stick incident was behind us not feeling like our kids were safe under her supervision – followed by a sad crying emoticon.

God, if I’d had tequila I would have lined a few shots up on the bench.

LOL, this one incident.

There are so many bloody accidents slash incidents slash ridiculous attempts at supervision going on at that joint tis a miracle they still get funding.

I wonder if they have to report them all? I remember in NZ when Ryu stubbed his toe at kinder I got handed an accident report sheet with an outline of a child’s body showing what part was hurt and whether or not the accident had resulted in death.

I know it is one extreme to the other but could there not be a happy medium, where my children are left to dance playfully in fields of daffodils before sitting nicely and finishing their homework before having some green tea and homemade rice cakes?

Oh – in good news – I got a form home today about after school extra study classes from 3pm to 5pm every Wednesday for third graders and above. It isn’t compulsory and the classes are run by locals as opposed to the school teachers or ASC people. They are aimed mainly at Japanese and math revision. Wahoooooo. This effectively means Shou will be in ASC for two and half hours one day and 45 minutes the other day. Surely such a drastic reduction in hours spent at ASC means there is a lower risk of losing an eye?

Right, lets go and see if I can get to sleep beside my snoring husband.

SDGH&QL

 

 

 

 

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15cm of pain

17 Apr

This has nothing to do with the last post. Ryu has not been stabbed with scissors and in fact had an injury free day yesterday. I went to pick him up and mother of boy 2 was there to pick up her son, who was having a complete meltdown because the teacher had made him get off the trike because it was home time. The mum was holding her baby and the teacher had to physically restrain the boy by holding him – all the way out to the car. My sources tell me this is the first time the boy has ever been in a group setting with other kids. He has been at home for five years hailing I imagine as king of the entire house until his brother came along a year ago and he got bumped down the food chain. And now, of all things, he has to follow some rules.

Yaddah yaddah, I know. I haven’t walked a mile in this mother’s shoes and am going solely on the approximate one hour of this boys life I have seen over the last 3 days.

Anyhoo, meltdowns aside, this post is about a fucking RULER. It will neither enlighten you or forecast your aura for the next day so stop reading if you don’t want to lose 3 minutes of your day reading about a god damn fucking ruler.

On Wednesday Shou and Marina came home and I immediately checked their homework and whether there were any letters or random bits of useless information from the school. I’m not normally this organized and this usually gets left until about 90 seconds before we have to leave the house the next morning.

In Shou’s parent-teacher book there is an ENTIRE paragraph devoted to a 15cm ruler.

“Marina doesn’t have a 15cm ruler. Shou has two. When I asked him to lend one to Marina he did but it turns out the ruler he lent to Marina was another boy’s and neither Shou or this boy can remember borrowing or lending the ruler. He wouldn’t lend Marina his ruler because he said it was his favorite. I don’t understand why, when Shou had 2 rulers, that he wouldn’t lend one to his sister”

What the Fuck?

I consult Shou on the matter who says he has since returned the ruler he borrowed back to the boy and was left with a 30cm ruler and a 15cm ruler so he didn’t want to give his only short ruler to Marina.

I wrote this in the notebook and just sat there shaking my head in disbelief that the teacher couldn’t just have written in MARINA’s notebook something productive along the lines of “Please make sure Marina has a 15cm ruler”

So then I check Marina’s notebook to see if anything is written about Rulergate in there.

Noooooo, she has an entire paragraph devoted to a 2B pencil.

“Marina has a lot of pencils, none of which are the required 2B. Shou on the other hand has about 5 2B pencils. I asked him to lend one to Marina and he said no they were his and that Marina left hers at home. I don’t understand why, when he has so many, he won’t share with his sister. It really confuses me.”

What the double fuckity fuck?

I consult Marina on the matter who says she doesn’t give a flying fuck about whether her pencils are 2B but that if I could find a spare perhaps she should take it to school. I have a stock of school supplies so this was no problem but I was bewildered as to why the teacher couldn’t just have written something productive along the lines of “Marina needs a 2B pencil”.

The teacher effectively wasted 10 minutes out of her day to write long winded shite about how Shou doesn’t lend stuff to Marina, even when he has an abundance of supplies, whether they be his own or ones he has mysteriously borrowed.

I went to write a long-winded reply back, something alone the lines of “please just treat them like two pupils and not brother and sister. If Marina forgets her shit I don’t expect Shou to lend something to her if he doesn’t want to. Please also don’t bother yourself over such trivial matters or else it will be a very long year for you and me both. Also please don’t write vertical cursive Japanese using a thick red pen because it takes me as long to read it as it did for you to write it.”

BUT, I controlled the urge and just wrote.

“There is a new named 15cm ruler and 2B pencil in Marina’s pencil case”.

Faaaarrrrrk.

I do feel sorry for her having both of them in the same class but getting hung up over tiny things like Shou not wanting to lend his sister a pencil is going to do my bloody head in.

I saw her at PTA last night and she brought up Rulergate and said she had been mistaken, Shou actually had THREE 15cm rulers, one of which he returned to the other boy and two which he kept. Because they were his.

I was ruffling through my bag for my car keys at the time and came across Marina’s lost 15cm ruler… ….

So I kept my mouth shut, laughed the whole thing off, drove home, and had a big glass of wine.

SDGH&QL

 

 

 

 

I think I might be ‘that’ mother!!

15 Apr

You know ‘that’ mother that judges parents based on their child’s behavior. I’d love to be a bit more compassionate and empathetic. I really would. But fuck me sideways, sometimes you just have to wonder what kind of parenting is going on to enlist such shocking antics.

This is of course a completely ridiculous thing for me to say as a) my own parenting often leaves a lot to be desired, and b) the two children in the following episodes both have behavioral problems. Quite obviously the mothers did not have enough coconut oil, palenta and chia seeds during pregnancy.

LOL, I know. That is ridiculousness. Twas probably the MRI vaccination.

Yesterday was Ryu’s kindergarten entrance ceremony. Yes, they do have such things in Japan and these occasions are in fact important enough to warrant both parents taking the day off work and a speech by the local government’s deputy head of education. Parents wear suits, teachers wear suits and pearls, the head of the primary school next door wears his full-on tuxedo and the kids all have handmade corsages, albeit made out of very sturdy plastic flowers so the one year olds don’t choke on fauna and flora bits.

There are two new boys in the 5 year old class, the year below the class son is in, but they are both in the same classroom with predominantly the same teachers. Yesterday was their first day at the kinder and I have never seen the mums before and hub informed me that going from their surnames they must be from the town one town over. That town doesn’t have a two-year prep school kindy so often kids come to our one.

I have known a couple of kids with ADHD or ADD before, but one of these two kids must be on the severe to crazy severe end of the scale. I felt for the mother, I really honestly did, but for the love of fuckin god if your child is stomping all around the room, throwing himself across the floor, screaming, and throwing potted plants around could you not take the poor boy outside! He disrupted the entire ceremony from start to finish and I really think, that despite all of us having to please understand he has a disability, that one child ruining the ceremony for the other 20 kids just isn’t fair. Am I being too cold about this? His mum did the parent’s speech and mentioned his disability and that she hoped we would all understand and accept her son and all the challenges that came with him being in the class.

Yes, a new teacher has been appointed to the kindergarten to look after the child but she is very young and I do wonder at her capabilities in being able to look after this child well enough for him not to completely disrupt the class and/or hurt himself or others, namely my youngest child, over the next year.

Then there was boy number two – who, to his credit, managed to stay in his seat for at least half of the ceremony. Not to his credit though he spent all of that time trying to wrestle, strangle, kick and punch the poor boy beside him, and then the teacher when she had to keep coming to intervene. Again, why the parents just didn’t say excuse me, and walk up and take him outside I don’t understand. He was hurting this child and I imagine the teacher went home with bruises on her arm and possibly a black eye. The local policemen was a ‘guest’ dignitary at the ceremony and leaned over and actually put his hand on the boy’s hand and said ‘stop now’. Which was fruitless.

I do not know if this boy has actually been diagnosed with anything but surely, because it was just insaneness, and I really would question what the parents are doing if it turns out his behavior is just bad.

After the ceremony the parents had a meeting while the kids played outside, during which time the teachers were unable to stop the first boy picking up a planter and hitting a three year old girl in the back and a four year old girl in the face. Tears, tears.

Today I went to pick Ryu up and both mums were there picking up their boys. The mum of the first boy is running around the yard after her son who is wearing nothing but a pair of undies. The second mum is trying to get her son to stop playing and get his things. The teacher is talking to her about how he pushed another kid over, he hurt himself, cried, yaddah yaddah. Then she saw me and said oh, it was Ryu. He hurt his hand but I think he’s OK. Then she did the very Japanese thing of saying Ryu was so kind and wanted to show the boy and that’s why he was following Ryu round. Which comes across as your son being kind = reason for being pushed over and hurt by bully psychotic child who may or may not have problems.

Now, IF I HAD BEEN THE OTHER MOTHER… I would have turned around and apologized on my son’s behalf. A simple “sorry my son hurt your son” would suffice. She didn’t even make eye contact.

She herself is very young and this is her eldest child AND she doesn’t know any of us because she is from the next town. Still, that doesn’t excuse her in my opinion. By not acknowledging my presence or worse, that her son hurt my son, she has unknowingly put herself on my bitch list. Which really just means I’ll say “hello” to her when I see her instead of “hello, what a lovely day it is, how is your son liking kindy?”

As Ryu was about to put a soccer ball he was using away the other boy came over, pushed him into the shoe box, grabbed the ball and ran away. Biting my tongue from saying ‘where are your fuckin manners child!!’ I just looked at Ryu and said, are you OK? Your friend can put the ball away now.

In the car Ryu asked me why the boys pushed him when he was just trying to show them something or when he wasn’t doing anything. It is tricky. I told him that I’m sure the boys really wanted to play with him but that the inside of their heads work a bit differently than Ryu’s and sometimes their behavior isn’t very good. We have called these two boys Ryu’s ‘new genki friends’

I also then told Ryu that if either of them chased after him with a pot planter or spade he had to run straight to the teacher. He said he could because he was fast.

My fast little man, who has a lot more empathy than I do.

I fear for the year ahead but in all honesty was relieved to hear they won’t be attending the same school! Hurah.

Am I also wrong in thinking that the parents and the kindergarten should inform us of any behavioral issues that we should be explaining to our own children so they don’t get upset or confused?

Why is that kid allowed to leave all his carrots and then run outside in his pants while we finish lunch… ….

How come that kid doesn’t get told off when he hits and kicks us but we do… …

Deep breath, deep breath.

It’s only a year, and you never know maybe, in some way, my sensitive friendly third child will have a positive effect on these two boys in some way.

But faaark, my wine habit would be through the roof if I had a child with the same issues. Credit to the parents for surviving this far.

Which I guess doesn’t go with my first paragraph because I don’t blame them, I fear for my child’s safety and the safety of the other kids, and for the interrupted learning that will take place this year, the year before Ryu starts primary school.

SDGH&QL

 

Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan