Welp, I’m a little late on last week’s update but I have a good excuse. We went to visit family in Kaohsiung this past weekend and I had no intention of lugging around my laptop (no matter how light).
If you missed last week’s update, you can find it here.
But anyhow, let’s get into last week, shall we?
Author’s Note: As I have mentioned before, please do not ask me (whether in comments or private message) where my kids are attending school and camps. I am a big believer in internet safety and having been stalked before (an unpleasant and stressful experience to be sure), I am not keen on sharing where my kids go to school. If that is a problem for you, I don’t really care. If you ask, I will ignore you and if you repeatedly ask, I will block you.
Local Camp Experience #2
This week, Cookie Monster (6.5) attended an outdoor day camp where they take a shuttle to a bunch of different cities and places for quick day trips. At first, I was incredibly dismayed because when I arrived, half of the 12 or so kids were busy chatting away in English. Turns out, half the class was from the US.
I swear I didn’t tell anyone else about the camp (as my friend who originally told me about the camp had asked me not to) but I guess word was out anyway.
Ah well. It happens.
Anyhow, I had already paid and we were already there so what was I going to do?
The leaders were very nice and again, took the time to learn about Cookie Monster’s food allergy to peanuts and learned how to use the Epipen. They made sure they understood not to give him snacks and for him to only eat the prepared food he brought.
They asked about other snacks and candy and I stressed that if they were absolutely sure there was no peanut content, he could try it. But otherwise, to just have him stick with his prepared food.
I left Cookie Monster with a strong admonishment to speak only in Chinese and he said he would. After I left, I realized that the majority of the US kids were older girls and I comforted myself with the thought that if Cookie Monster had the same “game” as Hapa Papa, we would be fine. Cookie Monster would likely never speak to them.
Turns out, I need not have worried. The teachers told me that Cookie Monster didn’t speak any English (although he did confess to me he spoke a little bit English) and that he had even made a friend. He’s the youngest in the class and was sitting by himself on the bus and an older boy sat next to him and befriended him.
So thankful for that kinder, older boy.
By the end of the week, the teachers told me that Cookie Monster was a favorite and that the older students would look out for him, offer him their snacks (which he refused), and were in general, inclusive and kind to him. The pictures they took seem to show him having a great time.
(I would post their pics, but they have a watermark and I’m not inclined for folks to know where he attended camp – especially since he is going back next week.)
So, what did they do?
In my crude attempt at reading the Chinese itinerary, turns out I was totally wrong and misinterpreted things. SOB. Chinese is HARD, for realz! So, I am making use of The Google Translate and I’m sure there will be things lost in translation.
Sorry, folks. My Chinese literacy just isn’t up to par. However, in a few years, Cookie Monster can just read it to me. (Living the dream!)
They went to several different cities/counties (Tao Yuan, Yi Lan, New Taipei City, and Miao Li) to check out all sorts of different museums, farms, factories, etc.
They went to a Tomato/Fruit farms, an instrument museum, a vehicle museum, a ceramics factory, a tea plantation, and a chocolate factory (where they made their own chocolates out of plastic molds).
Each day, they would make at least one craft or take home some souvenir from the places they went. Cookie Monster made the aforementioned chocolates (which Gamera and Glow Worm enthusiastically consumed), sock dolls, had tattoos, and earned prizes for answering questions correctly.
Cookie Monster also said that they would play games on the long bus rides. His favorite was “Grenade” which is like the American game, “Hot Potato.” Whoever the “grenade” landed on would have to answer a personal question such as their favorite food or color.
When my mom saw the itinerary, she mentioned even she wanted to go. (That was basically the consensus of all the adults.) And yet, even with all this awesomeness, Cookie Monster preferred last week’s camp.
I think it’s because even though they’re seeing all sorts of stuff, the leaders must also talk a lot about what they’re seeing. And truthfully, Cookie Monster has a low tolerance for listening to information whether it’s in English or Chinese. (This definitely comes into play our third week of camp.)
Cookie Monster is spacey and likely just zoned out during all the talking. He’s totally Charlie Brown hearing adults talk.
International School Week 2
I’m beginning to think that Gamera just really doesn’t like conventional schooling. She constantly complains that the school is just too long and boring and that she wants Glow Worm’s teacher because she likes his teacher more and she doesn’t like her own teacher and why is the day so long? She wants her preschool teacher from home.
The thing is, every day, when I pick her up, she seems as if she’s had a happy and good day. So, really, I don’t know what’s going on. She even says that she misses me all day. (She said this last year, too. Sigh. I would believe her but she is extremely clever and manipulative.)
This week, I found out from Gamera’s teachers that they have a score board where they can earn points to redeem into gifts as they learn and remember Chinese characters as well as do other things. She leads the score board.
I told the teacher that it wasn’t fair. After all, Gamera already knows 800 characters. Having her “learn” really easy characters is not exactly a challenge.
However, the teachers say she is very helpful and earnest and encourages the other kids to get the right answers so she is fun to have in class. I also don’t know how much to believe this because Gamera used to give one of her Chinese preschool teachers shit whenever they taught her something she already knew. She would say, “I learned this already!”
Well, one can only hope our children are better than they seem and that the teachers are being truthful. After all, one of my cousins mentioned that their son’s teacher (in Taipei) called their son a demon child. Now, that kid is a bit naughty, but I would never call him a demon child. I can’t believe a teacher would say that! So mean!
Also, Gamera started throwing up all over herself, the bed, and the sink on Thursday night. Like, nonstop throwing up. It was so sad. She was scared to lay down on the bed. In the morning, she also threw up some more. So, I had no choice but to keep her home from school on their field trip day.
She didn’t seem too upset about it.
In fact, she seemed fine ALL DAY because she was iPadding it up. She rarely gets to play on it just herself because she has to share with Cookie Monster and he conveniently forgets to let her choose what to watch or play and she just ends up passively watching whatever he does.
I took her out to eat and when we got to the restaurant, my only child with ZERO allergies, burst out into hives all over her face and arms. There were so many that they turned into plaques.
Thankfully, I am always well-stocked in Benadryl melty tabs, but she refused to eat them. So much so that we made a huge scene at the restaurant with her crying, me telling her she has to eat this medicine, and we spilled water all over the table.
An older woman walked by and started telling her not to cry. (Seriously, WTF is with people being nosy and unhelpful and total assholes to me and my kids? My only non-comforting thought is that like attracts like and I must REALLY be an asshole to be attracting so many to me.)
I told her to mind her own business and leave us alone. I am most appreciative of my utter lack of Chinese vocabulary to say things nicely. Because I am never nice. If I could figure out how to say, “Mind your own fucking business” in Chinese, I think my life would be complete.
Anyhow, Gamera finally calmed down enough to take the medicine when I told her the only other option was for me to give her a shot or she could eat her medicine. She ate the medicine. Then she told me she hated all the food and refused to eat it.
I was hungry so I ate the food instead. After awhile, she got over herself and ate a bunch and she declared it was all delicious.
Unfortunately, after we walked home, she promptly threw it all back up. Sob. I had hoped she was getting better. But I guess it reinforced the decision to stay home.
As for Glow Worm, he got a little bit better about school, but was still whimpering and all teary eyed and sad when we got to school. He often put on a brave little face but for the most part, drop off was still so heartbreaking.
He is so small.
Glow Worm’s teachers told me that he’s really good at character recognition and is a sweet and cute little boy in class.
However, I think their main complaint is that he refuses to poop at school. Or, at least, refuses to poop in the toilet.
The teacher will tell me that she can tell he needs to poop and as she is asking him if he needs to poop and he says, “No” that he makes eye contact and then poops in his pants.
He’s totally Revenge Pooping.
I swear he’s potty trained. He hasn’t pooped his pants since starting potty training! Sigh.
I think he doesn’t like the group bathrooms at the school. It doesn’t seem dirty, but how can a school bathroom really be “clean”?
Every time I mention to him that he needs to tell his teachers he has to pee or poop, he just looks me in the eye and says, “不要(No)!”
He went to their school field trip and they had a lot of fun playing on the playgrounds and was totally wiped out. This school does NOT joke around when it comes to transportation.
Alright, that’s really it to report on this week. Hope it was helpful and continues to give you more insight into the types of school and camps in Taiwan.