Surprise!!! Auntie Janice brought a "perishable package" to my Dad for his birthday (Herself!) Cue shock, tears, and a lot of hugging...
On the other side of the Atlantic, there were a couple of small children who were very, very jealous and missing their Auntie. We followed her adventures by text and twitter with new pictures every bedtime until finally Auntie Janice made it to Africa. We were interested to discover that Facetime was MUCH more reliable than Skype - it seems to cope better with the difficult conditions. Auntie Janice stays up later than Grandpa and Grandma, so we got to connect nearly every day just around bedtime.
Elizabeth and Matthew had a hard time sharing the video session, mostly because Matthew just wanted to hug, kiss and generally cuddle "Auntie Janice" and "Grandma". At dinner time he offered pieces of his food to the screen. For the record, I do NOT encourage licking my phone - I've heard horror stories about toddlers causing the camera to stop working due to drool damage and I have no desire to test this.
I didn't take pictures of Elizabeth taking her own turn because she usually took the phone far away and holed up with it so as to have a Matthew-free chat! There were many virtual hugs.
It's Elizabeth's first day of "jardin". She did not want to go. "I'm probably not in Adi's class", she said. "When you get bigger, school stops being fun" (apparently cousin Erika told her this, growl...)
The teachers had recommended that Elizabeth and Adi be kept together and we had high hopes that one of her other friends would be in her class even if the girls were separated. After all, out of approximately 90 maternelle kids, she talked about nearly 30 on a regular basis. Of course, not one of those are in her new class. Not even one. She is in the same class as Elise (who is at our bus stop, and therefore a potential friend near us). Except Elise is moving in October. So pretty terrible news all around.
At least Elizabeth and Adi are in the same recess block so they can play together during their breaks, but Elizabeth was still pretty upset.
Most people I tell this too have one of two reactions. "It's no big deal. Calm down. Elizabeth will adapt." (subtext: I'm overreacting) This is not helpful, because of course Elizabeth will "adapt" but we aren't sending her to school in order to learn to adapt to less than ideal situations. In our view, there's no good reason why they shouldn't have put the girls together and many good reasons that they should have and it's frustrating to deal with the ensuing upheaval for no good reason.
The other reaction is to think this proof that the school is terrible and we should pull Elizabeth out immediately. Strangely, this is also not helpful. Last year Elizabeth loved school and surely it hasn't changed so much over the summer that this won't be true again. Hopefully.
We made a quick detour on the way back from London to see Great Grandma in New Hamburg. We only had about 20 minutes to spare because school starts tomorrow, so we said hello and helped Grandma to dinner and then went on our way.
Elizabeth was thrilled to get a ride on Grandma's lap down to the dining room!