Though the ramp up was the worst yet, the actual first day of school went well. So did the afterschool homework helper. Whew. The past two weeks have been so so so hard. Seriously, hard enough for me to actually question my decision to stay on longer. Lots of meltdowns (hers and mine) and anxiety about getting all the ducks in a row (mine).
We only just interviewed the afterschool person on Saturday! She came from a friend who recently took her three boys back to America. The boys' mom must have spent hours and hours teaching this young woman how to turn memorizing characters into games and wow, is she great. Of course, on Saturday she said "boys play games but girls like to sit and be quiet." Hahahaha. LiLi was doing backbend-flipovers all over the livingroom at the time. So...this young Lao Shi (teacher) used her games tonight with our pool ball and all I heard was laughter coming from the other room so she was a huge hit with LiLi. And me. Whew again.
The school remains very very imperfect and I toy with the idea of just taking LiLi out of it. The English half seems good but the Chinese half remains very challenging. The opposite of nurturing, for sure. Is it just the Chinese way? I don't know. We hired a new attorney at the office and she was telling me today that when she was LiLi's age all she did was study. Go to school, come home, study for hours and hours, then do it all again the next day. She said she didn't play, didn't have activities, didn't have fun. But, she said, it was worth it. She's been doing international law, was abroad for a few years, seems very bright. Is it worth it? I'm not sure. I think the French have it right. 35 hour weeks. A couple of months vacation. Great wine. (We had a French intern who was aghast at the idea of going in to the office on a weekend one time. She shared this with us.)
But yes: fourth grade has begun.