The Big One’s 6th birthday is rapidly approaching and we’re having two parties: one in the UK for her UK friends and cousins and one here in Houston for her new friends here.
Identifying the new friends has been problematic in itself. As a parent here, the preferred method of delivering your children to school is via car pool. This is where you drive up to the door and the teachers unbuckle your child (or children) and escort them in. This is obviously much faster for parents and prevents any of those moments where the teachers have to prise the distraught child from your leg (distressing for all involved!)
It does have some obvious downsides though. I never get to chat to the teacher. I can’t mention that the Little One is a bit grumpy as she didn’t sleep very well or that the Big One might be coming down with a cold. I don’t get any feedback at the end of the day either. The message from the school is that if they’ve not called, then everything is just fine. I find this a bit weird as the lovely school the girls attended back in the UK was brilliant for parent-teacher interaction. I also got to meet all the children in the girls’ classes, as well as the parents. I saw some of them every morning and afternoon and this has allowed friendships (both for the girls and me) to be developed which I hope will last at least the rest of their school careers.
I’ve not met a single other child at the school here yet. I only met parents at an induction meeting this morning but there was no time for chatting or finding out whether their child plays with one of mine. It all feels a bit strange. How will I know whether Grace can accept an invitation to play at another child’s house if I haven’t met the parents? That just wouldn’t feel right at all.
So, getting names of children to invite to the Big One’s birthday party has been very difficult. It helped that she immediately excluded all boys (it’s a mermaid party, which makes it pretty girly, and she thinks that boys are noisy and badly behaved!) and that the classes are mixed ages (3-6) so we could exclude the younger ones (if only we could work out the ages from a class list that provides very limited information)! The Big One narrowed it down to 3 girls from her class and once I had the first names I thought it would be easy to spot them on the class list. We had Olivia, Isobel and Shailee. Shailee was easy. Olivia more difficult as there was an Alivia in the class too but the Big One was adamant that it is O-livia and not A-livia. That just left Isobel. And there are 3 Isobels and Isabellas in the class. That’s 3 out of 13 girls. That must make it pretty confusing!
I finally managed to sort it out with the teacher this morning and found out there were no other girls of the Big One’s age in her class so now we can send the invites out. Luckily no one is going to get upset that they’re not invited, as no one else will really find out. Invitations have to be posted to children’s homes, not sent through school as they are in the UK, which is very sensible. Now I’ve just got to work out how the US postal service works.
When we first got here I wanted to send a form to one of the schools we were interested in. When I looked the price up online, the cost was $10. This was for sending an A4 envelope with 3 pieces of paper about 2 miles. I know the UK postal service is very good value compared to most national postal services, but this made it cheaper to drive the envelope there myself (which is what I ended up doing…)
I hope it isn’t going to cost $10 to send the invitations. Otherwise the girls and I can have a drive around to their classmates’ houses instead… I guess at least that way I can see the houses the Big One’s friends live in, which is a (very small) step closer to knowing whether it would be ok for her to go at play there!