I have no idea what they do there every day. I know the basic structure of the morning. Arrival is followed by 'morning meeting' where they do something educational, then a bit of play and lunch and I pick them up shortly after lunch has finished. All well and good then.
What happens in the 'morning meeting' I have no idea. From what I can tell, the children sit in a circle and the teacher teaches them something. It often seems to involve the teacher with lengths of coloured thread and hoops. It seems to me to be quite a formal way of teaching these nursery kids, but this is the way it is done here.
I also have no idea how often the boys do things like painting, messy play, building blocks and all those things that I thought nurseries did. Every time I ask Adam what he did today he says 'nothing'. Now this might mean nothing, or it might mean 'nothing that I want to tell you about, but we did go to the park and I did play with Armin and Amar and I have paint on my jumper so I obviously did something'.
For a little while I used to ask Adam what the other children did which elicited more information. I don't know if that meant that he didn't join in with the activities that the other kids were doing, or that question jogged his memory in ways that the more straightforward 'what did you do' does.
I've asked the nursery staff, and even been in with a translator just to make sure that I fully understood the conversation. I still don't have much of a clue what they do in 'morning meeting' or during the rest of their time there. They say that he is an active part of the class, is well liked and talks with other children but not with the adults (normal apparently for those children learning to speak another language in somewhere like a nursery). Whether this is true or not I have no idea.
Either way, both boys leave nursery like a cork out of a champagne bottle. I suspect that they have spent so long being good, sitting quietly and behaving themselves that when I pick them up they are ready for some serious running around screaming at the top of their voices outside action. Usually this is exactly what we do. I try to run them into the ground.
However, I have noticed that there is little interest from either boy in sitting down and doing crafty type stuff. This hasn't really bothered me much up until now. Boys will be boys, they have been inside all morning and I need to give them a good bit of fresh air. Suddenly however, I am very aware that were we in England Adam would be at school. All the other kids are learning stuff and I need to start thinking about what I can do to make sure that Adam fits in easily to school when we return to England.
So we've been trying out some drawing. Not for us the pretty pictures of people smiling. Oh no. We were stuck in the snail phase for months. One big twirl and then 'finished Mummy!' and off to cause chaos somewhere else. More than one colour was an absolute No No. Entreaties to 'draw Adam at the park' or 'draw the knight fighting the dragon' were ignored as another snail swirl appeared. Recently we moved from the snail phase to the monster phase, which basically looked like the pictures he was drawing when he was about 18 months, but with more colours. I've tried not to worry about it too much, smiled, posted the drawings on the fridge with pride and played the waiting game.
On Friday we sat down to draw some cards for a few birthdays that are coming up. 'Lets draw a picture of Grandma' I said, out of habit more than expectation.
'Ok!' said Adam. He thought for a bit. Then he said 'I'm going to draw a picture of Mummy and Daddy'.
'That would be lovely' I said, but didn't hold out much hope. He's started out this way before, and Mummy inevitably turns into a fire breathing monster. I try not to read anything into this.
But blow me down with a feather. My little boy who has previously not drawn anything that ever looked like anything that one might recognise produced this!
A picture of Mummy and Daddy holding hands. Daddy has the big head and Mummy has the long legs (my boy, you can draw me anytime you like if you think my legs look like that!). Ok, so we might be lacking in bodies, but look at those smiles! To say I was thrilled is an understatment. I was heart stoppingly, dance on the spot, want to kiss the nearest passer-by, delighted. I'm going to frame it and put it by my desk. Just to look at it makes me grin like a looney.
All that time he was working out how to do it, and then when he was ready, he just went straight ahead and drew it.
I reckon he'll be ok when he gets back to England, so I'm going to stop worrying and get on with enjoying.
As it happens Tara at Sticky Fingers has also just published a post about her 4 year old daughters picture of her and invited comments and started a meme to get other Mummy portraits up. If anyone else wants to join in then feel free.